As I listen and learn and continue to be highly involved in the world of commerce, both E-commerce and otherwise, I am bombarded with the following concepts:
Frictionless delivery. Frictionless buying. What the “world of online purchasing” is quickly evolving into is to cater to my every need. As a consumer, I should not have to think or research or inquire or actually extend any effort in buying something. The decision process and purchasing process should happen almost magically, without any apparent effort! Frictionless means, “achieved with or involving little difficulty; effortless”. (Oxford Dictionary) Effortless purchasing…..
Amazon has stated (somewhat tongue in cheek, but not THAT much) that they want to get to the place where they are shipping me my product BEFORE I actually order it, because they will really know what I need BEFORE I need it. Huh? Seriously? What??
What… on earth…. are we creating?
We are willingly- and even eagerly - creating a society (definitely American) where everyone is catered to all of the time and never has to wait for anything. Every vendor is willing to ship everything online as quickly as possible. Because THIS is the differentiator. This is what is going to make me, as a merchant, as a business owner, successful. SPEED. The new marketing concept. SPEED. Not unique product, value, fair price or service. SPEED.
I “get” needing the birthday flowers or anniversary gift basket to arrive on the right day at the right time with everything perfect. I have lived that market space myself.
But do I really need EVERYTHING I want in 20 minutes?
Do I need the chair for my living room in 20 minutes?
Do I need the Halloween decorations, ordered in August, delivered in 20 minutes?
Do I need Christmas products ordered in July in a fit of organization, delivered in 20 minutes?
I am reminded of a concept I was taught as a child growing up in the Midwest, that of a trait of successful (yet conservative) people. That concept is called “deferred gratification”.
I NEVER hear anyone mention this concept anymore as a character trait to strive for, acquire and leverage. So what exactly is deferred gratification?
Deferred (or delayed) gratification is the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a later reward. Generally, delayed gratification is associated with resisting a smaller but more immediate reward in order to receive a larger or more enduring reward later. A growing body of literature has linked the ability to delay gratification to a host of other positive outcomes, including academic success, physical health, psychological health and social competence.
40 years of Stanford University Research found that people with this one quality are more likely to succeed.
When I was a little girl, growing up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, there was a cadence to our family purchases. We were NOT a family that struggled financially. My father was a research scientist with a company called Upjohn in the day. BUT, if I wanted something….clothes, toys, gadgets…there had to be a reason. My birthday is in June, Christmas is in December and going back to school is in September in Michigan. So…that was the timing of our purchases. If I wanted a toy in August, that was going to be a Christmas request from Santa. If I wanted clothes in July, that was going to be an August back-to-school request. 20 minutes to ANYTHING was not in the equation.
But as sellers, retailers, and merchants, we are aggressively creating a commerce culture that will only respond to IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION. Is it what our customer’s are demanding or is it what we as sellers are creating?
You may say, hey, these are the new table stakes for competing. Stop complaining.
And I may say, hey, well, I am becoming more and more reluctant to endorse a microwave existence that is encouraging the removal of conscious deliberation IN ANYTHING.
I originally got into marketing because I thought it was fascinating to prove the unique value proposition of a specific product or service. I had to work at uncovering what the benefits were for the customer to buy what I was selling. I had to create a compelling case for a purchase.
Now… as long as I have my product in a warehouse where it can be shipped immediately, I in.
Now…as long as I don’t make the customer THINK about anything in the purchasing process, I win.
Supply chain has become the new marketing strategy. I miss the days when I actually had to articulate a reason to buy a product… other than an “in stock position and available to ship immediately.”
All of this while 65.3 million refugees look for a home. Not products shipped instantly. Just a safe place just to live. Hmm…makes me think about what being a “marketer” means in 2016. What I am creating? What are WE as business people creating? Just…..saying……