Shopping has changed from brick-and-mortar to online flash sales. As a marketer it has been interesting to see the change in pace, but as a consumer it's almost overwhelming.
Shopping has been around since the first exchange of sheep and barrels of corn. It's been in action so long, there isn't an exact date other than the reference of vendors bringing their clay pots, handmade goods and crops to the town square for people to look through and buy. As the population grew, and towns became more populated, town squares turned into shopping centers and bartering turned into price tags.
I remember between 2010 and 2015 if there was any time I was planning a weekend with my girls, we had a mall trip planned--undoubtedly. Now we only go to the mall if we absolutely are feeling rebellious with our spending or if we need to try something on prior to purchasing. Most of our shopping is done online. I am a loyal in-storeNordstrom shoe gal, but I have caught myself throwing shoes in a shopping cart online. It feels almost sneaky.
It's 2018 though, right? Life is moving faster than ever between technology, innovation and attention spans. People don't have the time or desire to leave their home, drive themselves to the mall and then spend the time to browse in multiple stores, wait in lines and then leave (sometimes without what they had originally sought out). With online shopping, the ease of taking a quick break at work to buy a new sweater has never been easier. Online shopping has given way for direct consumer selling while neither party is together.
To take it a step further, numerous brands have been created to take even the browsing out of the equation. Brands like StitchFix and HauteLook have made it so easier than ever to update your look without even lifting a finger. These brands will survey a consumer, attain his/her sizes and style preferences, and then each month the consumer will receive his/her own personalized wardrobe sampling. From each delivery, based on what is kept and what is sent back, the brand is able to update the consumer profile and better fit the next sampling.
The way shopping has transformed is pretty incredible. I cannot say I haven't also joined in the movement. I'm not sending anyone boxes of clothes, but I do work with clients to understand their style and create personalized style boards for them based on their preferences and budgets. See some of those here. Shopping has become more collaborative with people working together, and algorithms seeing what consumers buy, and suggesting similar styles while they are on the store's website. However, even with the ease of online splurging, brick and mortar will likely never go away.
Being able to touch and feel products before buying is an irreplaceable stimuli for many consumers. Some store fronts have began incorporating more of a digital aspect with their stores. One pop-up store in Europe has created an integrated shopping experience where they have one of each product in numerous sizes, so the ability to try on and experience the clothing is still there. However, when it comes to cashing out, there is an online feature that allows you to select a color, size and any other variable that needs to be changed, then it is shipped to you rather than you going home with it right then. Best of both worlds in one little pop-up.
As technology continues to evolve, and consumers' needs continue to change, I'm incredibly intrigued to see how the shopping experience will continue to adapt.