The age of discovery – not just for Tablets?

In reading the Micheal Schreck, of Zmags, contentiously titled;

Amazon is stifling the e-commerce revolution

I found a really interesting thought about one particular future for retailing – ‘Discovery Commerce’.

The coinage resulted from Schreck’s troika of device (in this instance, tablets. And yes, by coincidence Zmags does great design solutions for that platform), trend (the emerging ‘social commerce’, more of which here) and platform (questioning the future of and for the online transaction experience and it’s design).

His contention, that Discovery Commerce can deliver the next generation of online shopping, creates a useful space to think about how to move from the ‘one click and exit’ shopping experience. Here’s his four simple steps;

  1. Focus on your best customers and the experience they want (go where the profits are, not just the volume).
  2. Approach each new channel as if it were a brand new storefront (unleash the creativity).
  3. Curate a story that merchandises your brand (engage the power shopper with compelling content, visuals, etc.)
  4. Refresh and repeat frequently (new content experiences have to be updated often to avoid staleness).

Now it still sounds like retailing best practice already, but my point is this. When on-line shopping becomes this engaging, from the comfort of your own chair, why go to the store at all? And with the cracking of the ‘but I’d need to see the product’ problem (with delivery systems like Amazon Prime) to fulfill it, what’s the store got that I can’t get, at home?

So the question is, what’s the role of the physical store now? How do stores move from the place where ‘I want you to buy what I have’ to ‘I can offer you something you can’t get anywhere else’? Is it time to rethink the sweet-spot of experience, logistics and location as a point where the reward is actually that – a reward rather than a requirement. That’s got to be worth a visit.