Monday, September 29, 2003

Digitize shopping

This afternoon I had what is clearly a 21st century moment.

When running errands during lunch I stepped into a large super store and realized that I had no idea where what I wanted was located. Instantaneously I thought “Control F and I can find it”. I then realized what a total geek I have become.

I realized that I have become so accustomed to finding things online that I just instinctively will use keystrokes to accomplish things quickly. I wonder if as time goes on stores should make the effort to cater to their connected clientele. Perhaps a kiosk at the front of the store that would allow customers to quickly determine where (and if) what they are there to purchase is located in the store.

It is not that I am unwilling to wander the store aisles asking for assistance from employees who always seem to say ‘Let me check’ and then promptly disappear. It is just that I am certain there is a better way.

Retailers long ago learned that putting the most popular items (milk) at the back of the store forced customers to pass through the aisles and ideally increased the impulse purchases. That system worked for the last 50 years but… I think that it is time for a change.

My experience is just a symptom of how all of our lives are busier than ever before. We no longer have the time or inclination to wander tot he back of the store and search from aisle to aisle to find what we want. Many believed that purchasing online would be the revolution in retail sales but the shine has worn off that apple.

Often it is far more convenient to just run to the store… until you get to the store. In the store the maze of aisles and constantly changing stock locations make for a veritable treasure hunt every time you go shopping.

It is time for stores to make the determine what changes should be made to better serve their customers who are increasingly accustomed to the shortcuts and time savings of an online lifestyle. I understand that a ‘search function’ doesn’t quite work in the real world but something a bit more effective than the incredible disappearing sales associates. We are living in a digital age – most people are now accustomed to finding their own information and would likely be happy to find their own packaged goods if only there was an efficient way to do it.

Until those kiosks show up at the front of stores I will bee doomed to wander the florescent lit hangers that are my favorite mega stores until I can figure out where exactly the product I need is located. However – I refuse to impulse purchase. Except for that great DVD, and that cute purse...


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February 2, 2009 at 2:32 AM  

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