I remember when ecommerce first began. There were concerns on privacy and security- after all who would really submit their credit card information online!
We all know how it’s worked out for ecommerce.
Brian Cornell, CEO of Target did not downplay the shift in the Target customer base. In the most recent Mass Market Retail magazine he indicated that their “industry is in the midst of a seismic change.”
The real change, as Cornell identified, is the shift in the customer’s mindset. There is still value in going to a store. to be able to work with a competent sales person, or designer, that understands the style preferences and design a room with the customer.
For customers that have done the research on their own and they know exactly what they want, ecommerce is the preferred channel. The value proposition (overall selection and convenience- able to find exactly what they want, review the products from other customers, and it’s very easy to purchase) outweigh the burden of going to a store (or stores), fight the crowds just to get what they already know they want.
With that customer mindset shift in mind, the Wall Street Journal reported on May 28th that WeChat (a Chinese social media, messaging and payment processing mobile application) is now adding luxury brand name vendors in fashion, handbags and spirits to their platform.
There are two things that stand out with this news-
- These Luxury good that were once exclusive to a few stores in a few cities, are now selling on a mobile platform. Available to anyone with WeChat. Selection and convenience again out-weigh price.
- Another new media for customers to purchase- through mobile messaging and social networks.
I would expect that WeChat will be successful (especially in China); and someone will develop a similar application in the US and be successful.
Going back to the customer’s mindset- a significant amount of customers my age and a majority of Generation Z customers are glued to their smartphones. That is the media they are most familiar and comfortable with. The more products, services, etc. are in front of them (literally in front of their eyes) the more likely they will buy on that platform.
It is a new world. Technology is changing how people buy goods, consume entertainment and generally interact with other people. Understanding the new mind shift earlier will help you adapt your business to be able to attract and service the younger customers that are quickly growing up and earning money.