When I was a teenager, my family presented my grandmother with a new microwave. My dad positioned it in the room adjacent to her small kitchen and walked her through its buttons and features. He was so excited for her! She smiled at him lovingly, then walked back to her easy chair and re-engaged in the golf broadcast on her wooden console television. That microwave was the most pristine device in her house. Over the upcoming years, it never suffered a single moment of use.
DRTV saw its birth at the time when Baby Boomers were the core audience – middle aged women with families and older women with smatterings of disposable income. They jumped on the new wave of retail TV and its promise of unique solutions to age-old problems delivered conveniently to their home. Loyal customers have watched for decades, following their favorite networks, hosts and products. However, the Baby Boomers are not so middle-aged anymore, and many experts say that the TV will not survive much longer before it is completely swallowed by emergent technology. Tablets and smart TVs have already taken us there. Shoppers are headed to the Internet in droves because people’s lives are fuller and fuller, moving faster and faster.
Tesco, a grocery store chain in 12 countries, is now using an e-commerce approach to get people their groceries. In Korea, you can walk into a subway tunnel on your daily commute and browse Tesco’s inventory on the wall, each item with its own barcode. Pull up the Tesco app, scan the codes, check out and board the subway. Your groceries will be waiting on your doorstep when you get home after work.
We are at a time in our history when technology is moving so fast that in some cases, moving to the next generation is simply not fast enough. Businesses have to skip a few generations to grab their slice of the market while it lasts. In the case of television retail, this might very well be the case. By the time broadcast has breathed its last, the leap might be past computers and straight to mobile devices…or virtual reality projections to the smart-chip inside our heads! (Just kidding…maybe not…)
In March of this past year, Adobe and CMO.com reported that 59% of US Smartphone owners use their device to research an item before buying it and 84% of US Smartphone shoppers use their phones to assist them in their shopping while in physical stores. Within the next 18 months, 90% of all phones will be Smartphones. Mobile commerce is rapidly overtaking computer-based shopping and shopping channels are about to become shopping apps.
Simply put, not one person in our industry can afford to be my grandmother. While her stove still did the cooking (granted, in a slower fashion) than her untouched microwave, trends suggest that there will be no viable (or even supported) older version of e-commerce in just a few short years!
By Cory Bergeron
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