As I wandered down my local high street yesterday, amongst the colourful lights and sandwich boards blocking the pavement like bits of corporate flotsam and jetsam, a strange thought came into my mind. It hit me that no longer do I shop – or rather, browse – like I used to. A good few years ago are the days when going shopping was a social activity, planned on my calendar for a Saturday and diarised with my friends. (Meeting outside Boots was a firm favourite in the days before mobile phones, since Urban Outfitters or something similarly ‘cool’ had not yet been born). But in the last few months, I no longer peep into stores expectantly. I rarely run my hand over the rails of a boutique, or pick up leaflets wistfully from an upmarket salon. In fact, this behaviour has dropped, I’d say, by a shocking 91.5%.
Ok, so I made up the stat. But I’m not making up the behaviour. And why is this? For what reason has one of the last supposed absolute pleasures of belonging to the lady-side ceased?
The simple answer is greed. Greed – and a little excitement. How is this? Am I greedily saving up for something? Unfortunately not – it’s that I am responding to a new wave of shopping, called the Daily Deals. They’re websites which you subscribe to and receive one different discounted deal each day. And yes, I am a Daily Deal-aholic.
The fantastic thing about schemes like Groupon and Living Social is that they capitalise on our most basic human feelings when we encounter that most stimulating of shopping experiences: the Sale. Greed and fear predominate in any sale situation – but are exacerbated by the 24 hour deal deadlines with this model. The discounts are, like my stat above, frankly over the top. They are also simple (there aren’t endless rails of choice), and (best of all) they also surprise me with something different every day. I cannot resist.
The challenge for retailers is how to respond to this model – both in stores and online. These websites also act as aggregators, potentially diluting brand strength of the products they promote. So how will companies respond to the fact that I browse not the shops, but my inbox in the middle of the night, waiting for my daily deals? I cannot wait to see.
Am I sad? Perhaps. But bored and poor? No.
This entry was posted on Friday, 24 Sep 2010 at 9:29 am and is filed under Customer Experience, Economic downturn, Innovation, Loyalty, New media, Psychology, Retail, Strategy, Word of mouth.
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