A regular review of interesting cultural shifts & marketing developments as viewed through the collective lens of the Stancombe Research + Planning Team

Friday, July 27, 2012

What is the future of shopping?

Not so long ago if I needed a new washing machine I would have gone to a home maker centre with a Bing Lee and / or Harvey Norman to get advice, compare models, prices and so on. After spending an hour or two thinking about the various pro's and con's of each model, I would then try with my best negotiation skills to get the price down and eventually make the purchase. 

Skip forward to today, I didn't even think about going to Bing Lee or Harvey Norman when my washing machine recently broke. I went straight to www.appliancesonline.com.au (where I've had previous good experiences), clicked on front loaders and did a sort on which models have been purchased the most, clicked on the most popular, checked the reviews, put it in my shopping cart, punched in my credit card details and clicked the buy button. I think the whole process took about 20 minutes. 

But it's not just washing machines people are buying online - recently the new Subaru BRZ Coupe, worth $37,000, sold out in 3 hours online. That's right, 5.5 million in 3 hours! Read more about the story here

No fancy black tie launch, no champagne, no fan-fare required. All the hard work had already been done by the online buzz and great reviews.

So, if people are willing to buy a sports car online without even test driving it or kicking the tires because the reviews they read online are good - what can we expect to happen to other categories in the near future and how are companies going to adapt?

1 comment:

  1. Retailers already have started evolving, by ensuring manufacturers block supply to discounters.

    Big department stores are taking on the manufacturers in this way.

    Apple have taken over the retail end of their business by forcing independents out of retail. They maintain parity online / retail pricing.

    Shop assistants are much more welcoming and helpful these days too!

    Commodities will always be easy to buy online - even cars. When a brand has an established track record with consumers as a consequence of prior trial of previous models perhaps then an online purchase is easy.

    Subaru has created a unique situation where access to product by the 'Must Have' consumer only has one avenue to purchase - therefore perhaps the only aspect of this story is the numbers of cars sold on line and the cynic might say that it is just great publicity for Subaru!

    Simple transactions are easy to manage on line, more complex transactions require face to face contact with people - perhaps that is the future of retail


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