Shopping vs. Buying

Several years ago I decided to do all of my holiday shopping on the Internet for two reasons: (1) I was short on time, and (2) I wanted to better understand the experience of shopping on the Internet. I decided then, and have not really changed my mind, that buying on the Internet is easy, but shopping, not so much.

Shopping is really about the experience. If you want to buy, it is about getting what you want quickly. If you want to shop there is much more to it. People say that most men do not like to shop, and that may be true. That does not mean they don’t like to buy. It’s about what you are trying to accomplish.

disneyretailAnyway, the point of all this was triggered by an article today in the New York Times. (I don’t read the paper itself since they have a tendency to make up news and provide a bias I don’t appreciate in “news” papers. However, they are on the rack at Starbucks, so I usually read the front page above the fold when I am in Starbucks waiting for my hot chocolate.) The article is about Disney’s plans to revamp the Disney retail experience.

“At a time when many retailers are still cutting back or approaching strategic shifts with extreme caution, Disney is going the other way, getting more aggressive and putting into motion an expensive and ambitious floor-to-ceiling reboot of its 340 stores in the United States and Europe — as well as opening new ones, including a potential flagship in Times Square.”

What has Disney discovered? If you want people to shop in your stores, you have to make it a shopping experience worth taking. Otherwise people can just buy on the Internet. “Disney Stores, which the media giant is considering rebranding Imagination Park, will become more akin to cozy entertainment hubs.”

This idea is not limited to just retail stores. Restaurants learned the same thing. To wit, Hard Rock, Planet Hollywood, Margarittaville, I Love This Bar, etc. (Of course, they all have learned that if the “product” is sub-standard the entertainment value won’t make up for it.)

John Nesbitt wrote almost 30 years ago that as we get more high tech, people will want more high touch. What are you doing to make sure your customers have the appropriate experience with your company?


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