It's true. Retail has changed.
In a recent podcast the co-head of consumer retail and healthcare banking for Goldman Sachs, Kathy Elsesser, described the impacts of e-commerce on the retail industry.
She discussed how a few years back it was a common thought that the industry was in trouble due to that monster called online shopping. She went on to say that retail and e-commerce industries are converging and as a result creating more of a focus on what customers want versus which channels they will use to get it.
"It's no longer, 'Where do I buy it?' It's about, 'I just want to buy it, and I want to do it any way that I want,'" said Elsesser.
Preach! There is so much truth in that quote for me and I don't think I am alone. As I listened, I started to think about my own experiences as a shopper and what my purchasing habits are.
Bananas boot buying experience
Recently, I decided that I needed (okay, wanted) a new pair of Chelsea boots. Within 30 seconds of the thought creeping into my boot crazy mind, I was on my phone browsing ASOS for the perfect pair of black Chelsea boots. Was I thinking about where I could buy them? Nope. Was I planning on buying them right away from ASOS? Most likely not. In case you are unfamiliar with the site, ASOS is basically like a fashion shopping aggregator. I searched: Chelsea boots, black, size 8.5 and it brought up almost every brand I could think up that carries the boots I wanted.
Being able to narrow it down by price (I'm not a millionaire so those $1,000 boots were out of the question) eventually I found the perfect pair and the price was right. I could have bought them online but one thing was missing— the tangibility.
So, in order to get the full experience of buying my new boots, I headed to the brand's nearby store. When I arrived, I knew exactly what I wanted and really didn't need much other than a sales associate to go grab my size. I went directly to the counter and pulled out my phone, opened my notes and read the sales associate the name and style number of the boots. Off he went.
Dropship saved the day!
Turns out they had the Chelsea boots I saw online but what they didn't have? Black ones! I could feel the shoe rage starting to course through my veins, no joke. I just wanted my shoes! How could the internet have lied to me like that? The next thing that happened was the most amazing part of all. Just when I was about to have a mini meltdown, the sales associate said, "Don't worry, try these on for size and if they fit we can get the black ones shipped from our warehouse to the store or to your house in three days."
Instead of sending me home as an unsatisfied and albeit slightly deranged customer, the retailer was able to say yes to me, get their sale and keep my shoe rage at bay. This was a great customer experience for me because, as Elsesser predicted, I just wanted to buy those boots and didn't care how I bought them. What I realized I actually cared about was the convenience of fulfilling that desire.