My niece announced her pregnancy this week by posting a scan of her growing baby on Facebook. The response was “Congratulations!” and “Wow!”. There was a touch of “Wow” about the way the announcement was made but really it made a lot of sense with most of her friends and family communicating on social media.
If you analyse the process she was simply using some new technology to make her communication more effective. The analogy with retailing is irresistible. Customers are doing their shopping online and in store. My niece didn’t put all her eggs in one basket by just posting online. She also rang her close friends and used traditional communication as well as new technology. In a sense shoppers are doing the same. Arguments that online and in-store shopping are mutually exclusive just don’t make sense. They are both part of the same process and shoppers will move between the two depending on the nature of their purchase and the circumstances they find themselves in.
There is a strong argument that face to face retailing like we offer at QVM will stay attractive to customers. There is an equally strong argument that online provides the convenience that shoppers find very desirable, at least at times. Traders must be ready to offer both options if they hope to survive 2014.