Will Internet Shopping outrun the classic store?

By Peter, October 13, 2009 23:54


vrouwlaptopWhy do I spend a lot of money to fly to the other part of the world just to shop (till I drop?) and why don’t I just use to the Internet? I am the one who is telling everybody, that Internet shopping is more convenient from your couch instead of walking in the rain and having to spend a lot of time and energy to find all the goods you need. Is something wrong with me? Did my ISP (Internet Service Provider) cut me off from the outside world? Or am I as human as all of my friends? Or is off line shopping more fun?

wii_people_couchMore and more products are sold on line. Of course we all now the electronics, like computers, camera’s and other peripherals. Dell is a great example (but what happened to the cow friendly organisation Gateway here in The Netherlands?). Everyone has probably ever booked a flight or a vacation on line. And in this country www.bol.com and www.wehkamp.nl are very well known and very popular. Maybe the possibility to pay afterwards is part of their success; the conservative Dutch want to keep their money as long as they can in their wallet. And all the stores of Coolblue are growing and growing, selling the products you just want to have and where decision making is based on specifications; Coolblue now has 38 specialised shops and its paper brochure (to be sent with everywhere package) is also digital available on line.

kledingOne of the fastest growing product ranges on-line is fashion. More and more people are shopping on-line to buy their clothes. Without feeling the fabrics, without really experiencing how the clothes will fit and will ‘behave’ in real life. Of course the return policies of these web-shops are really important and also the on-line support. But I still wonder why (especially) women are shopping on line and not taking all their friends to the shopping mall.

So back to my question. Why am I going to Hong Kong? Shopping is not only getting the goods and services you need by sending the cash the other way. Shopping is emotion. Buying things gives you not only the satisfaction of possessing the goods, but also the feeling of the moment of the purchase itself. Maybe it is the feeling of power that appeals to our primal feelings. Some will like the idea that they can afford to buy something (and show it around) that most other people can’t.

skyrock-emoticonsBut when you buy online don’t you get that feeling? Knowing that your credit card is still not used up to the limit. Knowing you can show the latest gadget to your friends in a few days. That seems the same as a normal buying transaction. But can you share the good feeling of the moment of buying with others? Can you look in the sellers face? Can you bargain at all on the Internet? No you can’t and I think these are the main differences between buying on and off line. And that’s why the classic stores will never cease to exist. That’s why new retail chains will start and new shopping centres are still popping up everywhere. Shopping is so much emotion!

ibm10_wideweb__470x352,0On some moment of time, we will have the opportunity to shop from our homes on a sort of Holodeck (Star Trek) and feeling and experiencing all the emotions of shopping as if we would be shopping off line. The first web shop that will succeed on this will be able to sell anything he wants. It would be perfect to be welcomed by a (virtual) sales representative who not only knows your name and your preferences but also will look exactly as you like it. Probably the other customers of the shop will not see you or ‘your’ sales person, so that can lead to some weird preferences. Webshops should already think about their restrictions on customer wishes I think. For me, the future may start now! I am ready for it, although I think that Hong Kong will not loose its attraction. Where can I have a decent diner for about € 5?


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