Today I want to share something different with you, I went to the supermarket to buy cookies and guess what? It took me 30 minutes to choose a pack of cookie. In the end I was tired and fade up with shopping! When looking at the cookies’ layout I felt overwhelmed. There were more than hundreds, there were thousands of varieties. I start in the layout’s very beginning and after twenty plus meters of layouts full of different cookies – chocolate, with small pieces of almond, red fruits, special recipe with butter …- I haven’t chosen yet. Why do not we have a place where we can have recommendations, top 10, news, cheapest, more expensive or even reviews? Ah, it is true I am offline I can feel the flavor but not read reviews or the top 10. I introduce you the Brick-and-mortar’s dilemma, they want to have more but in their case more is less, less capacity of making sense out of hundreds if not even thousands of one same product’s varieties – different brands, characteristics, flavors or recipes – and a headache to manage shelf space and inventory.
Digitally speaking, one can figure out how to choose and which variety to buy in a couple of minutes. Why? Because one can easily go for stats with reviews, best ranked, top 10, news…. filtering what one wants. Sometimes one can cheat, choosing online but buying offline. Some chains have both an off and online presence. Isn’t it cool? Well, it is more than cool, it is a revolution. The Internet and web brought new potential and shaped consumers opinions and interests in a new and different way. Like I mention in Being just a click away! With a click we can buy a pack of cookies or lead a brand to “bankruptcy” with a negative opinion that is transformed in a buzz effect reaching millions of people and the entire globe. It is powerful, isn’t it?
Amazon.com and eBay are two good examples of e-commerce , reviews and ranking gained a new signification with these two examples. Communities were created around them, specialists or regular people, are ranking and reviewing thousands of products every single day and “helping” customers choosing. One cannot conceive a world without influencers (people who give their opinions and make reviews on products), they help buying and choosing, they give us tips but they can also misleading us. Are they truly helping us? If you have a good sample of different people ranking, giving their opinions and sharing info then one can say that they are helping us, otherwise it can be speculative and manipulative.
Be careful one reading a review! Try to read a representative sample.
Online retailers have the whole supply tagged and filtered helping consumers buying and choosing but also pushing products to consumers. When one enters one of this sites and after a while the site generates some suggestions based on your clicks. WOW! Yep and it is not new. Digital and, besides everything mentioned before, can generate suggestions based on one clicks. A kind of basic artificial intelligence that learn with you suggesting more of what you have been interested in for the last visits. They have literally the demand in their engines they can do what a normal retailer cannot, they can influence you with suggestions tailor-made for you along your visit to the site. This is the amazing potential of digital commerce, with a log in you can do even more. The Long Tail (concept well spread due to Chris Anderson Book with the same name) phenomenon is amazing and scary at the same time. People’s buying routines and habits changed at light speed bringing a new reality a reality where an offline presence it is not enough anymore, a reality where supermarkets and chains are a bit lost not knowing what to do (going online, not going online, reshape product range…). But and on top of that online retailers can also record all the clicks and time spend with a product and replicate them through elaborated and complex algorithms suggesting other similar products to you.
“Algorithm is an effective method for solving a problem expressed as a finite sequence of instructions. Algorithms are used for calculation, data processing and many other fields.” Wikipedia
A revolution of social habits that highly affected not only the demand but also the supply it started with a new and powerful communication channel internet and a place the web. It is amazing what you can do in digital commerce and with new technologies and IT tools.
I want variety supplied with a filter included! What will be the brick-and-mortar traditional chains? Sticking to the head of the tail, the blockbusters, and forget the tail? Is still the 80/20 rule applicable? ( 80% of the revenue coming from 20% of the products) Not sure of that!
One more aspect to be analyzed and that have a high impact in the way people interact and buy. A crucial aspect if you are a marketer, wanting to understand its audience and the best way to reach them: a more efficient, with a higher rate of satisfaction and loyalty way! Here we go again, the audience always the audience! A new way of commercializing products and services with a powerful technology supporting and enhancing it. However, all the strategies must cope with your audience choices and interests.
Ah have a look at my previous post Do you want to build a successful marketing strategy? Pay attention to the “triangle”!