The way consumers buy today will change dramatically in the future. There has been a lot of focus in the e-tailing arena on how to market your product, do effective fulfillment, and compete with Amazon. The advancements in technology will continue to change how buying habits are enabled in the future.
Let’s take a look at how people communicated over time. As humans evolved, languages were developed. The fountain pen came into existence and, soon, handwritten newspapers. The newspaper evolved into a way that it could be replicated in a production format. During the evolution of the newspaper, the pen and pencil became a reliable source to document our thoughts. A major technology advancement came in the form of a type writer (first manual, then electric). This became the new standard. Then came along the word processor and then the computer, which has evolved into tablets and cell phones. There are devices now that you can speak into and they do the typing for you. The cell phone is changing our world and how we purchase items. You can see how this has changed for us over time.
Let’s look into the near future once more. You can virtually buy anything from your cell phone. Amazon has just released a program where you can walk into a store and pick up what you need and just walk out the store. These items you picked will be charged to your Amazon account. However, this is just the beginning. There are many companies that that aggregate their respective industry such as Travelocity, Trivago, Cars.com, Indeed.com, and so on. We are heading to an “agnostic buying behavior.” People want good products at a good price and are becoming less website-loyal. They are still loyal to brands but don’t care where they come from. As Amazon is building its Global Distribution Model, it is bringing the products closer to the consumer to drive down their final mile delivery cost at a highly competitive delivery time. I would argue that Amazon is the closest entity to this model but I would not rule out that a small merchant on the other side of the world (with very little infrastructure cost) could compete with Amazon on any brand. It is technology that will make this happen. I realize that you can google anything today, but it leads you to multiple websites. I believe the future model will do all the work for you and just order your item based on the price you want to pay and the transit time that you are comfortable with. This could be Amazon’s worst enemy or best friend. However, this is an opportunity for every merchant to sell on a global basis.
In summary, the modern day consumer will exhibit this agnostic buying behavior. We are already seeing this in some of the SMART applications that are being used today. Is your business ready for this next evolution in technology?