Kala’s Predictions on:
The Future of Online Business and Shopping versus Big Box Retail Stores
People are looking for experiences. When you can have everything almost instantly at a discounted price, the value comes in the experience and the credibility.Many of those old establishment department/anchor stores in the malls that your parents and in some cases grandparents shopped at, are on their way out. A few are trying some last ditch efforts to attract the younger crowds with celebrity endorsements, but it’s too little too late. Many of these stores will soon go the way of other old timers like Montgomery Ward, who remembers them now? Niche stores are the wave of the future, as well as expert stores like the Apple Genius brand, rather than vague random stores full of too many counter-intuitive products.
Apps continue to explode in growth including retail. One that I expect to see soon, is where I can walk down the street and snap a photo of someone’s shoes as they walk by and the app will search this photo, tell me who designed these shoes and then locate the ten closest retailers who sell the shoes and give me a price comparison. The app would list the bricks and mortar retail stores, in case I want the shoes on my feet in an impulse buy in the next ten minutes, and it would also offer online shopping store versions in case I am willing to wait and order online for a better price.
Another app will be the Yard Sale app, where you can find local yard sales using GPS directions to get there and even see photos of some items ahead of time that you are interested in. You can rank the yard sales by importance and plan your trip out according to the most efficient drive time and by selecting the priority of items you are looking for.
The best option for bookstores to continue in business is to adapt, collaborate and appreciate. Collaboration must come quickly by realizing that the age of the bookstore as a single source has passed. To be interesting in their local area, they must become a hub of activity with a plethora of local events to attract people into the store. The print books themselves become a secondary marketing item (think going to a musical event and then buying the CD or tee shirt to take home from the event). Adaption comes into play as stores move in the future to offering a print-on-demand service in the store where books can be ordered and printed out instantly. Appreciation extends to authors and readers, offering special services to frequent customers and inviting more authors to participate in the stores events, as they bring their fan base to grow with them.
Some events may include large screens in the stores where authors Skype in regardless of where they are, to speak and interact with fans in the store.
Online shopping is only going to get bigger. One of the biggest fan markets for New Orleans Jazz is in Japan. Imagine as these fans, who are half a world away, are able to watch videos and chat online in real time with jazz artists, sales of online products will soar. Savvy musicians and other artists will learn to offer live webinars and other live offerings via the net, including private concerts to people who pay and register in advance. Just like in concert halls, they will perform to fans around the world via this online presence, to those who aren’t in the local area or live in one of the cities designated for a concert. This new experience is unique and personalized.Live chats and “ask the author/musician/artist a question” will become the new trend as well. Book signings won’t go away, in the future, you can order a custom ordered book by your favorite author, where you pick from a choice of your favorite cover and the author customizes a personalized dedication to you, along with their signature, which is all printed digitally and watermarked to ensure the value of the book. Books also expand with digital downloads that come with each book purchase, sometimes with tickets to private online events with the author and digital downloads to private concerts and giveaways, only to those who purchase the book, which each one is printed with a custom id to enter to win. Think of those random generated numbers when you are signing up for an email list, the computer will randomly generate a code on each book printed, so there’s no chance of guessing it without purchasing the item first.
Online shopping will more than double in the next decade. To keep up with supply and demand, UPS stores will create local stores with delivery boxes assigned to customers, similar to how people use P.O. Boxes, except these will be larger to accommodate packages. This will fill a big need for as online shopping and shipping increases, crime will quickly follow this trend and home delivery thefts will be on the rise. Due to people’s work schedules, they are often not home when packages are delivered and this need will rise.
Enterprising companies will soon see that while shipping/pick up centers may work in the cities, they will not work for suburban families and their needs.
We’ll soon see the prototypes for a new style of mailbox in neighborhoods, where mail is dropped in a slot in the box outside the home when delivered and a digital pass code can be entered by UPS and other delivery companies to place box deliveries inside this large mail/shipment box. Consumers give their password when ordering a package online and this password is included when processing shipping orders to UPS and other companies.