As giant as Amazon is, and as prominent as other online retailers are, it’s easy to see where the idea comes from.
Everyone’s busy, everyone’s impatient, and everyone’s...let’s say “cost conscious”. Buying online and freezing out the real world is just a factor of our technological times!
That’s the general impression anyway. But it’s wrong.
At least, it’s wrong for now.
Due to the relative novelty of things like 1-day shipping, drive-thru grocery pickups, and artisan tea delivery (guilty), it may seem like physical shopping is going the way of the Betamax. There’s a big issue with that thinking though.
It takes no other factors into consideration!
Did your local mall close because of Prime Day, or was it high turnover of employees leaving for higher pay?
Was that boutique forced out of town because their storefront didn’t come as a pre-installed app on your phone, or was it the zoning laws that kept them from putting up a more visible sign directing people inside?
Remember, you can’t look at trends with your gut! You have to be a serious analyst.
So let’s look at the numbers.
Lucy Koch of emarketer.com shared this tidbit: only 11% of general merchandise purchases—ie, goods that aren’t food and drink, cars, clothes, and accessories—purchased in the US are purchased online.
Exactly! When I talk online shopping, I find a lot of people from all walks of life come to the same conclusion—they think that ecommerce is further along now than it actually is.
But physical stores as a phenomenon aren’t going anywhere if they can provide what online stores can’t.
I’ll give you an example.
A few days before this blog was scheduled, I could feel my three youngest kids and I needed time. They’re hard workers, they’re entrepreneurial, and they’re in the office with me for 12 hours every day (minus gym time). None of that changes the fact that they’re my children!
So instead of arriving at the usual 6am I decided to drive us to the coffee shop. From a practical point of view, this makes no sense. We order drinks through Favor, and they’re hand delivered to us at the office here every day.
The Tesla isn’t exactly a gas-guzzler, but what sense does it make to drive all the way to a coffee shop to get the exact same drink I’d have just ordered us all at headquarters?
It’s the experience!
Don’t get me wrong, the new 360 degree photos incorporated on websites is great, but no online company can compete with the experience of sitting in a coffee shop, waiting for your oat milk latte, laughing and enjoying life with your family.
Warrior, human beings are not machines! We’re not programmed to do the most logical, or least time consuming things 100% of the time.
Think about the last time you went to a shoe store, not a store that has a shoe department, but a shoe store.
You probably got a ‘Hi’ coming in.
You got to choose from hundreds of different shoes to suit you.
You got to ask an employee questions on fit, get professionally sized, and check out your kicks from every angle.
You got to leave with a product in hand!
That dopamine rush gave you a ‘high’ going out!
Reviews, better pictures and spec sheets, and a 1,000 words worth of description can’t replace those feelings—free return shipping or no!
So why do I think 90% of all purchases will be made online within the next decade?
I’m literally picturing a Blade Runner, Total Recall, Tron kind of scenario here, but it’s not as far-fetched as it sounds, even given the current stats!
Amazon’s selling and shipping kits for tiny-homes and cars! Sites like Zenni have pulled the ultra-personal experience of prescription glasses shopping into online shopping!
Will you be able to smell a candle, or plug in a lamp online? Not any time soon. But here’s the rub.
Good experiences will get harder and harder to curate.
Buying in a brick and mortar will only continue to exist when retail stores create such a phenomenal experience inside the physical retail store that its value outweighs the convenience of shopping online.
And those brick and mortars are going to make bank!
I picture a lot of the older days of service coming back—the good parts anyway. Just like Home Depot hires actual builders to help you pick your power tools, just like GameStop hires people who play the video games they sell—ten years from now, your office supply store associates will be able to demonstrate fixing a printer jam on each different printer in the store, while you enjoy a house-brewed coffee, before you go to the ‘I got out of a Jam’ photo wall to get your picture taken, and leave with a complimentary jar of preserves.
Amazon’s not the only giant in the game either.
Certified youngest billionaire ever, Kylie Jenner, didn’t use Bezos’ platform to launch her viral makeup line—her store was set up with Shopify.
She’s not the only one!
Budweiser uses Shopify.
Nestlé uses Shopify.
Electric car pioneer, Elon Musk, uses Shopify.
Because it’s such a great backend tool, brands big enough to strike out on a more independent platform are thriving there!
It could very well be that as sellers on Amazon grow more and more successful with the influx of online shopping, their brands could be big enough to switch over completely. You have to admit, there’s a certain edge to a storefront that doesn’t feature your competitors after a few scrolls.
Will Amazon go from long-term to launchpad as sales shift even deeper online?
It’s possible! The only constant in commerce is change...and taxes.
So what can you do to anchor yourself no matter what?
Watch stats, not trends
If your information didn’t come with hard numbers, a graph with a timeline, and a trusted source? It’s just a pundit’s hunch! Yes, I stand by my predictions, but if ten years later Amazon dies and Radio Shack comes back? I won’t be ashamed to say I was wrong, and my coaching will adjust!
Commit to constant refinement
Is your store doing its best? You don’t need to overhaul everything the second a three-star review comes in, but remember—if you’re not always looking to improve your service and your product? A new competitor absolutely will.
Be open to change!
Warrior, you’re not actually married to anything you’re using to build your business! There’s no ‘for richer and for poorer’ involved if you’re losing money not making a switch! Keep yourself open to options, and don’t let stubbornness or misplaced loyalty get in the way of securing your future.
The future is coming, my friends, and that means adaptation is not an option. Hold on to that fact, let everything else go, and lean into it!