Shopping From the Street or eCommerce
It is a few days before Christmas, my house partner & I went on a shopping trip to the local supermarket center, and a major brand of hardware warehouse. Wow! what a hassle.
The parking was impossible, and it was only some deft maneuvering on my part which enabled us to get a spot; I am talented in multiple ways 🙂
Anyway, we managed to get everything we needed and we then headed back home. Another major headache. The traffic was incredible, and some more of that deft maneuvering had to be employed!
This got me thinking about eCommerce, it doesn’t take much to set me thinking about digital culture and how society is changing. I was reading an article only the other day which stated that in America they are closing down local shopping malls by the dozen; they certainly are not building new ones anymore.
eCommerce, Online Shopping, Digital Purchasing…whatever label you want to place on it, is becoming very big business indeed. Take a look for yourselves, you certainly don’t need to accept my word for it; there are some very interesting statistics available online.
Shopping is one of the activities we all have to engage with, it is a daily requirement to obtain all of the ‘stuff’ we all think we need, not to mention food, and medicines, the essentials.
There is interesting shopping, like when you are buying a new car, or a new house, a new musical instrument or purchasing tickets for concerts & shows-and there is the mundane shopping. I think most of us would choose an easier way for the ‘Essentials’ type shopping.
Amazon recently began trading onshore in Australia, this long anticipated expansion of the eCommerce giant into the Australian domestic market was something of an anti-climax. I’m not sure what people expected, perhaps one of those old style parades with a brass band, marching girls and lots of glittering confetti?
The ‘long game’ is something Amazon plays exceedingly well.
They are not deciding to build their southern hemisphere outpost on a whim, they know what they are doing. A market of around 22 million consumers is not really significant for Amazon, they get that number before lunch on a Tuesday morning in Europe, or America; the psychological and business impact of expanding to Australia is far more interesting.
The Amazon story is pretty incredible. It is valuable to take a look at it, because this is the shape of disruption; a term which is being used far too much, and too often in the wrong sense.
The big mistake most retailers are making about Amazon is that they think it is all about ‘Technology’. Shopping carts, the internet, transaction processes, logistics and shipping, warehousing – while all of these elements are a part of the story, they are merely the enabling factors. The really big part of Amazon’s success is their attitude, their approach to ‘People’.
Traditional retail attitudes tend towards being ‘exclusive’, there is a kind of condescending attitude towards customers. We are used to being treated like “just another transaction”, another punter.
Amazon make people feel special, welcomed and actually appreciated.
This is the big secret which Australian retail people might fail to understand. Everyone is looking to implement an online shopping cart, to emulate the ‘free shipping’ style; this isn’t it guys.
The customer is king for Amazon. They will even alienate their merchants, their selling community to support a customer wishing to return an item.
It is this customer-centric emphasis which determines Amazon’s business approach. This is what escapes competitors, because the competitors just look at the surface. If you can’t change your style and focus on the customer you will go under.
I was also thinking about ‘Shopify‘, this is a growing phenomenon. The growth of small, 1-5 member eCommerce businesses is also a part of this global disruption of retail. The sum total of boutique, niche eStores with their 1-5 million annual turnover multiplied by a couple of million represents a colossal erosion of income for the established players.
It is this ‘death by a million cuts’ of street retail that is interesting, I don’t mean that to sound harsh, but as a phenomenon you must admit it is intriguing!
I set up Shopify stores here at iWriteBox, we are partners with Shopify. The number of people choosing Shopify over an independent project build is growing. This makes good sense because the Shopify platform offers so many advantages and benefits.
eCommerce is an exploding area of internet-based enterprise, it is considered to be another digital ‘gold rush’. Selling goods which interest you, where you can offer added value and information is the way to go. Being the ‘Prospecting specialist’ or the ‘Craft Brewing guy’ is a very attractive way of operating. You can build a very targeted community and provide high quality.
This is the path of the present and future for eCommerce, specific specialization and rich experience are trumping the stores which seek to sell everything under the sun.
Except in the case of Amazon, which does sell everything under the sun, but they specialize in ‘People’, making you feel very welcome and appreciated-this is how they get away with being a mass seller of everything; the scale of Amazon is not truly appreciated I don’t think.