(R)ETAIL (R)EVOLUTION – Part 1: E is for EVERYWHERE

I recently stumbled upon a great article by trendwatching.com called (R)etail (R)evolution. About 15 years ago it was predicted by some “e-gurus” that eCommerce was going to be the next big thing to hit the internet and technology realm, which of course, has happened. This eCommerce boom has not only hit mature markets where it’s helping to shift consumer spending online, but also in growing markets, where it’s helping to increase internet penetration and of course establishing new consumer shopping habits.

Don’t believe me? How about some impressive stats to change your mind:

Related: Canadian eCommerce Benchmark Reports & Canadian eCommerce Monthly Trends Reports

The article goes on to mention that “eCommerce is no longer just about choice, price, convenience, reviews and ratings, but also about everything that consumers look for in any purchase: status, the right product and a compelling experience*. Trendwatching.com then breaks down the boom of eCommerce into 4 main themes. This week I will be delving into the first theme: E is for EVERYWHERE.

With the help of rapid technology advancement, we are able to access the Internet virtually anywhere and on more than just your average computer. Nowadays, we can immerse ourselves in the virtual world on the go with laptops, smartphones and even tablets. This means we can essentially shop anywhere we want, whether it’s on your couch in your most comfortable pajamas, or commuting on the GO-train to and from work. Shopping online allows consumers to shop how they want, when they want, and on what they want. Here are some great examples:

QR Code Stores and Bus Stop Stores

This type of eCommerce was brought to my attention from a friend of mine who teaches English overseas in Korea. In a couple bus stops and metro stations Tesco had large displays with QR codes where you can essentially do some of your grocery shopping with your phone. The pilot program was so successful that Tesco increased the initiative to 20 bus stops in Seoul after the app for this program had almost one million downloads! Now other big name companies like eBay and PayPal are getting on the QR code bandwagon, and starting their own eCommerce QR Code initiatives around the world. Personally I’ve never been a huge QR code fan, unless it was adding BBM contacts to my old BlackBerry, however for convenience sake, if I was able to order groceries or everyday items on the go during my commute, I think I’d definitely considering testing it out for the sake of saving time!

The Web = Your Shopping Window

Some companies are turning their website into a shopping window. What do I mean by this? By making various images on their site “shoppable”! These websites are embedding links onto images, so when you move your mouse over those images, a small window within the page will pop up, which allows you to buy it or find more information about it. IKEA, Stipple and even Perezhilton.com have integrated this new technology onto their sites for an easier and more interactive shopping experience. I personally love the shoppable images on Perezhilton.com, because when I’m looking at photos of celebrities and what they’re wearing, you can often find the link embedded on the image and shop that “look”. Gucci and ClickBerry have taken this a step further and have embedded links within videos to make them shoppable! Smart!

Offline eCommerce

Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? But it’s happening! First, physical retailers transitioned into having online stores, and now online stores who haven’t had a physical store to begin with, are starting to build an offline presence as well. There have been rumours that both Amazon and Google might open physical stores in the near future to promote their branded products. One of my favourite online stores, Threadless.com, has partnered with the Gap to sell their tshirts in selected retail locations. This “backwards” type thinking to eCommerce is a great way to reach an older demographic who didn’t necessarily grow up in the Internet era and who are weary about buying things online (eg. My Mom). Offline eCommerce still grants them access to products available on the web, but in physical store locations!

Stay tuned for next week’s post where I will discuss and share the second theme of the (R)ETAIL (R)EVOLUTION: (M)etail !

*Source: www.trendwatching.com. One of the world’s leading trend firms, trendwatching.com sends out its free, monthly Trend Briefings to more than 160,000 subscribers worldwide.