Has the Thrill Gone? Header
Has the thrill gone?

Has the thrill gone?



As more high-street retailers close their doors for the last time and once bastions of the high-street post record losses year on year, it seems that the predicted online switch by consumers has well and truly hit its stride. Slow moving hulking high-street chains are quickly replaced by nimble digital first businesses with low overheads and a fast moving product range.

With online shopping set to grow by 45% in the next 3 years reaching over £62 bn in 2020, to remain relevant and dominant retailers need to stay ahead of the curve and keep the purchasing method simple, intuitive and engaging. 

Multi-device shopping has overtaken the desktop and laptop, as the majority of pre-purchase browsing is now on mobile devices. As more shopping moves online the traditional satisfaction and buzz of making a purchase in-store is replaced with a swipe. 

With Amazon Echo and hot on it’s heels Google Home, voice purchasing is starting to gain traction. Instagram have rolled out a feature in the US allowing retailers to Tag products in images with click through links to purchase, so you can effectively shop the image. 

But does online shopping need to be more rewarding? 

Browsing online has it’s advantages, price comparison being the main one, but are we losing the thrill of the physical? 

Is Virtual Reality the answer? 

It’s true if done well VR can give a truly immersive experience, but is trying to replicate reality for retailers just going full circle? Is what consumers really crave the tangible and physical experience of handling products? Especially when it comes to clothing, browsing the rails, scanning the shelves for the perfect colour shoe, spotting a hidden gem amongst the sale items, feeling the fabric, collecting a pile of jeans over an arm and heading to the changing room expectantly.

These are the things that make shopping in the ‘real world’ fun and rewarding, however the ease of online is far too tempting. I love to spend a Saturday afternoon wandering up and down the high-street looking at window displays, darting in and out of shops making a mental inventory of current trends, colours, styles and prices. But sadly, as with many, what used to be a common Saturday ritual has now become a very rare couple of times a year at best.

So what is missing? Speed is what many high-street chains are trying to adopt, even McDonalds ‘fast food’ wasn’t deemed fast or convenient enough, so you can now order on a touch screen in-store and queue ‘Argos style’ for your meal. Amazon ‘Go’ promises no lines and no checkouts, so you can effectively ‘shop lift’ your groceries without engaging with a single person and the total will be charged to your Amazon account.

With all the different ways retailers are trying to retain and win customers what is evident to me is that the real key to loyalty is to bring back the tangible and physical for a more satisfying experience.

So as digital gets more inventive and augmented and virtual reality are touted as the next big shift in retail, are we in danger of being sucked into a future of convenience for conveniences sake. 

What is clear is that retail is adapting and consumers are following and marketers need to be more nimble and reactive than ever, switching from Twitter to Instagram, Facebook to Snapchat, spotting trends before they are too late and the early adopters and influencers are onto the next ‘revolution’, taking swathes of eager digital consumers with them. Loyalty, as I mentioned earlier is obviously key, but nowadays a fast throwaway culture breeds fast consumers with little brand loyalty.

The key to success in these exciting but uncertain times is to measure and then try to predict shopper behaviour. There are various methods to try to be one-step-ahead, trend analysis, social listening, market research, focus groups, data from digital footprints and of course past purchases. However the art of ‘selling’, although more targeted and sophisticated than ever, still needs to resonate and infiltrate through the cacophony. 

The only clear and proven way to do this, as history teaches us, is to be more creative than the next brand, more inventive, more aspirational, fulfil a real ’need’ and ultimately let the consumers promote through recommendation.

At Library we give brands the tools to #turnupthenoise, by looking at the current strategy and marketing mix, analyse what’s working and then create connected brand experiences that help achieve ambitions and target new revenue streams.

To bring back the thrill of the purchase the customer journey needs to be equally fulfilling and that will only be achieved through creativity.

Need help to bring fame and focus to your brand? Contact hello@library-agency.com.

Written by Andy Ward, Founder & Creative Director at Library

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