Do you remember the TV listings section of the newspaper? If you’re old enough to recall when newspapers ruled, you might be familiar with the page that listed what was going to be on TV that day. Advertisers generally paid much higher rents to place ads on the TV page than anywhere else in the paper - except for the comics page. The guide told you when a show was going to air and on what channel. And if you wanted to see it, you had to be there.
Although broadcast TV still thrives today, more and more viewers are choosing to watch shows from on-demand streaming services such as Netflix, or they watch a broadcast episode later through a TV network tablet app. That’s where TV is going. There is a smooth transition between the various media, and there is a much higher degree of interactivity, with episodes and shows encouraging simultaneous conversations on social media.
This streaming approach is a must-have for retail. During a recent webcast I spoke with Dawn Trenson, Director of Ecommerce at Steven Alan, and we looked at some of the stores that have picked up on this idea and some that just don’t get it. Think about it: streaming connotes flow. It is not a stop-and-go approach. In the old world of TV, stop-and-go would mean being in front of your TV at 8:00 p.m. or missing your show. You had to wait for the commercial breaks to go get a snack. Streaming means you can start watching a show on your living room TV whenever you are ready and pick it up on your tablet as you go to the kitchen to get a sandwich and feed the cat.
Home Depot is one retailer that Dawn and I agreed on as being on the ball when it comes to streaming shopping with mobile commerce. Many of Home Depot’s shoppers are not wandering, browsing consumers - unless they’re lost. A typical Home Depot shopper says, “I’ve got a pipe that burst,” or “I have a project I’m working on.” These are intelligent, product-focused shoppers. They’re looking for something in particular. So it’s not surprising that Home Depot offers an app that not only allows you to determine where you are in the store, but also to build a list and know that the parts desired are in stock. It supports the idea of streaming retail: that people can slide into the store, pick up all these pieces, and move on, with minimal detours, delay, or distraction.
Retailers in fashion and elsewhere need to pick up on this idea that shopping is actually a streaming activity for many of their consumers. They will check inventory levels before venturing out to the store so that their trip is not in vain. They may request the items be available for pickup by a certain time, or they may expect a well-versed sales associate to walk alongside them like a personal assistant, setting up the items based on pre-loaded awareness of the customer’s tastes.
And why not? That is what shopping has become, and it’s a good thing. Retailers must stop thinking of their stores as large boxes full of merchandise that shoppers take a chance on. They are in-person fulfillment centers that should be leveraging data as a means of maximizing the retail relationship and minimizing inconvenience in a way that has not been done before.
To listen to the original webcast with Dawn Trenson of Steven Alan, please click here>>