A business of nuance and change

The main points I want to get across in looking at e-commerce theory is that it, like any kind of retail, it is a business of nuance and change.

1. The type of online retail experience that is perfect for one shopper; product or situation will not always work for another.

Each selling situation has different:
– types of products
– types of customers
– situations the customers are in.

2. As new technology and norms come into existence we have a chance to change how some people with some products in some circumstances choose to shop. It is important to understand these nuances as we work to make better shopping experiences for these individual niches.

Next day shipping is important in some situations and not others. Some individuals only care about price and others about convenience. Some products i can wait weeks for while others I want in 5 minutes. We must be careful when making overreaching general statements about all online shopping situations.

Jeff Bezos from Amazon has been famous for saying the customers will always want low prices, fast delivery and a large selection. These are probably good general rules but as we will see these are not equally important in all situations.

Let’s look at a few examples of products, individuals or situations that will determine what we look for in an online retail experience

Type of product:

– Does it need to fit just right or is it standard size for all?
– If it is not what I wanted or expected, what will I loose?
– Does it have a material I need to touch?
– What if I have to return it?
– Is it to big to ship?
– Do I have enough information if i can not see it in person?

Type of customer:
– Do I feel comfortable putting financial data online?
– Does my shipping address safely accept deliveries?
– Do I trust a store where I can not see or talk directly to a person?
– Am I tech savvy in general?

Type of situations
– Do I need this now, soon, next week, next month?
– Do I enjoy the act of in store shopping?
– If it comes late what will I loose?

As new technology and customer norms change we will be able to find new and better ways to fit more products into the e-commerce equation. We will slowly be able to provide better experiences for each of these three areas and in the process more and more products will be purchased in new ways, many of these online. 

Retailers need to understand the changes happening both technologically and culturally and utilizing creative thinking or the new norms to make sure that they stay relevant to the customers, use cases and types of products they are currently fulfilling with their business model.



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