Archives for posts with tag: shopping

We’ve all heard the horror stories and domesday predictions about the death of the High Street, as shoppers move out of town to the malls, or into their homes to their computer, or right where they are via their mobile phones, tablets, phablets and any other form factor you can imagine. Except that is, the move away from the quaint corner shop.

In Europe we still have corner shops, loads of them.

The corner shop I’m thinking of is in the small town I live in (a village by England standards). It’s not quite on the corner, but it’s next to 2 public houses, as you would expect in Ireland. It’s a health food shop. Ironic, given its location, but there you are.

Now if we’re in the very big city we can go onto a colossal online marketplace and get the thing we need delivered within an hour, for a premium, or the next day for probably next-to-nothing extra. But most of us aren’t in the very big city.

My wife asked me to pick up something for her during my lunch break the other day, since I was doing a couple of other errands. She was in a city and the vast supermarket she visited didn’t have said item. I went into the health food store and asked for the item. It has quite a long title to it, but even before I’d finished articulating its name the lady had pulled it from the shelf next to her till and it was ready for purchase. I was out in 120 seconds, the amount of time it takes to properly pour a pint of the black stuff.

This why the corner shop will never die. They are often specialist providers. You can always find staff to ask something. They can give you a knowledgeable and immediate answer the vast majority of the time. They usually smile and are grateful for your business. And, you are done in a matter of minutes.

In certain circumstances, then, the corner shop is alive and well and still a great retail experience.

Most of us have been shopping online for 15 years or more. I remember my first ever online purchase. It was on Amazon. I couldn’t believe how easy it was. To this day Amazon remains the benchmark of how to serve customers.

For someone like me, who doesn’t live in the country where he was born and raised, online shopping is a thing of beauty. I can send birthday and Christmas presents to family and friends at good prices, avoiding any postage charges because the gifts are being delivered domestically. For people who are at their busiest at this time of year, it is convenient, quick, secure and good value. ¬†What more can you want?

Ironically, I’ve been doing some work with a provider of an ecommerce platform that allows retailers and merchants to extend their coverage across marketplaces. Not just Amazon and eBay, who consume not far off two-thirds of all global ecommerce, but all their international counterparts, as well as a host of other smaller or more niche marketplaces. Having been a consumer for a decade and a half, it’s been a fascinating few weeks seeing how things work from the other side of the transaction.

There’s one thing I’m sure of. The numbers for online are only going in one direction in the future. Indeed, we’re looking at not much more than the tip of the iceberg of what is possible on the web. And by all accounts, the web itself will be but a mere frippery compared with the ‘Internet of things’. ¬†Change is a constant :-).