Most of us go online to buy stuff or do banking transactions, some people are more comfortable than others using e-commerce sites.
Here is a video of how Tesco a major supermarket chain in Korea gained a huge slice of extra market share without building any more stores. It is online shopping taken to the extreme but with an unusual twist.
So will Tesco’s success with virtual supermarket displays in subways, qr coded merchandise and home deliveries change the whole retail industry?
Obviously e-commerce in all its various shades is not only here to stay, but is going to capture an increasing share of the retail market. Some product categories lend themselves to the concept more than others, commodity type groceries that we know and trust sure. Shoes, sports equipment, some clothing, and first-time-purchases for cosmetics, probably not.
Many people enjoy shopping in a store, not just for the pleasure of buying things, but for many it is an opportunity to meet and talk to real people, not just virtual friends on social media sites. For others it is part of a weekly outing, part of a routine, a pattern of life.
Most of us want to re-assure ourselves that we are making good buying decisions for big-ticket items. The new leather smell in a car dealers showroom has more selling power than thousands of words on a website no matter how well written.
The ability to touch something we have been coveting for a long time is a huge factor in our decision to buy. Unlike, sight and sound, feel and smell are two senses that cannot be titillated online and with out at least one of these two, imagination is often limited.
So how far will this trend go?
My prediction would be that it will spread rapidly in densely populated, highly urbanised regions particularly where the population work long hours, use public transport more than private and are exposed to suitable venues for the “virtual” store fronts – like subway stations.
How far will the product mix expand beyond groceries? I would guess not too much for reasons already stated above, but for repeat purchases of branded products like, alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, and even some clothing items, why not.
Personally, other than for horse stuff, tools, books and computer related items, I hate shopping. I would happily buy my clothes and shoes online if I could re-order the same things that I had previously ordered.
The grocery home delivery business is already growing and will continue to grow even without virtual supermarkets in subways. Perhaps more people will start scanning qr codes with smart phones as a preferred method of online ordering than sitting at their computers.
On-line ordering is not restricted to the retail trade, it is even more advanced in many ways in the wholesale trade with integrated inventory control and accounting software automatically placing orders.
It is certainly going to be an interesting journey for all of us as consumers and marketers.
Wishing you success in all your endeavours.