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Real-Time eTail?

Online Shopping

  • 86% of online shoppers are satisfiedwith their experience
    • 83% cite the ease of checkout as a top convenience of online shopping
    • 82% like the variety of products and brands
    • 79% like the ability to track shipments
    • 74% enjoy free or discounted shipping
    • 70% like the clear returns policies
    • 65% like the ease of making returns

Photo of eCommerce on the Kindle Fire

THOUGHT: eCommerce has had to overcome a lot of obstacles since 1995 when Amazon and eBay went live.

There was the initial (and steep) reluctance of consumers to trust their credit cards numbers to a website. Then they had to survive the Dot Com bust and the taint of a thousand failed web ventures.

The early heady prognostications that the eCommerce would eat bricks and mortar’s lunch wasn’t so much inaccurate as simply premature. Turns out, the industry took an extended lunch hour and the online folks have been snacking ever so slowly.

Bit by slow bit, eTailers have surmounted every problem and continued to grow. American retail eCommerce sales have grown from $167.3 billion in 2010 to a projected $361.9 billion in 2016.

We have arrived at the point where American consumers are finding online shopping to be far more convenient than traditional shopping.

Online merchants have always had an advantage over actual stores in pricing, if only because until recently they collected no sales tax. But after slowly gaining the trust of  consumers over the mere concept, they slowly chipped away at other consumer reluctance.

Amazon, of course, has been the pioneer in solving consumer objections:

  • They idiot-proofed the shopping cart
  • They streamlined the checkout process with one-click purchases
  • They offered a liberal returns policy and made the process a breeze (and that, in turn reduced the hesitation of buying products like clothing, for which the fit and feel are crucial factors)
  • They offered free shipping for an annual fee of $80 but sweetened the pot by offering a video library with the deal
  • They pioneered next-day delivery

The final major obstacle, instant gratification, has thus far been managed with a combination of next-day delivery and slick package tracking systems.

The promise of same-day delivery is going to hasten the end of that long lunch that started so many years ago.

Wal-Mart knows it, which is why they recently announced their own same-day delivery service, knowing that Amazon has been busy building out their own distribution centers around the county.

While Wal-Mart already has its distribution infrastructure in place–its stores–they lack the crucial ingredient that Amazon has gobs of: A data mine of online consumer purchase insight.

Wal-Mart’s move is a concession to the inevitability of the ascendance of eCommerce.

But it ain’t stopping with same-day delivery. In several years, the availability of consumer 3D printers will make real-time eTailing a reality for many tangible, physical products.

SUPER COOL TOOL: Let Me Google That For You –  Everyone has one or two colleagues who continually as you questions that would be easily answered with a simple Google search. With a simple link, LMGTFY.com let’s you passive/aggressively send them a not-too-subtle message that they’re wasting your time.

TONIGHT: Beyond Social Media Radio

Join me, BL Ochman of the What’s Next blog, and Albert Maruggi of the Marketing Edge podcast tonight at 8:30 CST for our BlogTalkRadio show, Beyond Social Media. This week’s topics: Hospitality trust and Papa Murphy’s photo contest.

 

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About David Erickson

David Erickson is principal of e-Strategy Media, a digital marketing consultancy based in Minnesota. David has extensive experience in digital marketing and is often used as an expert source by media and asked to speak on the topic before organizations and to sit on panel discussions.

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