The New Model of Retail

As a repeat online shopper, I think I’m seeing some changes. Storefront and online shopping are merging. Who will win? Who AM I talking about?  Amazon!  You know the Big Wolf? (See previous blog post).  Big box retailer Wal-Mart is attempting to be a virtual marketplace similar to Amazon as well as other large retailers who are trying out the online order-ship-to  model.  But most of them are still a little confused about how to do it well.

When you place an order online, the process is usually pretty easy.  However, shipping can be a little trickier.  Some items come directly to you but sometimes the merchandise is shipped to the store, a FedEx Ground warehouse or another location.  You don’t always have a choice as to where or how you get your stuff.  Now that’s a novel idea!  Who would like to decide where to pick up their merchandise? ME! I would like to decide! Who gives ME that power? My wallet will make them understand, but, only in the long run and only when others (like you) help me convince online merchants that we want a choice.

My wallet must collectively work with your wallet and together OUR wallets will persuade retailers to give us better purchase (and delivery) options.  I’ve recently had experiences like the ones I’ve just described.  One item I ordered I had to pick up, but I actually wanted it shipped to me.  Another item I ordered, I wanted to pick up, but I had to have it shipped to me.  What?  Both items came from direct competitors who were each trying their best to get it right but I didn’t have a choice in either case! That’s a prescription for customer dissatisfaction.  I was NOT happy (well, at least not as happy as I could have been).  So, what am I doing about it?  I am telling YOU so you can help me vote.   Customers talk and their wallets vote, too.  I was an inconvenienced customer, but guess what? I still want it MY way and I don’t want to be ignored either.

How does your average small business retailer deal with this demand for choice?  Who will decide who will survive? Your customer and his/her wallets will. SO, listen up! Wallets talk and collective whispers roar.

Ron Simmons

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