I have opined before about my welcoming the death of the local Borders and Angus and Robertson bookstores. There is only so long you can go on ripping people off before they wise up – consumers are many things but there does come a point when they do become price sensitive. This reflexive price sensitivity is I think in part a generational change – younger generations have an open and fluid relationship with information. Where most us where brought up with the notion that you wander around a shopping centre on a Saturday afternoon looking for what you wanted and then took what you were given, they do not have this relationship. Shopping for them is still a social experience as it is for all people but the delivery of product is not part of that experience – the delivery of product is functional and can come from any part of the world.
As applications such as Amazons Price Check for the iPhone become more common then retailing as we know will change for every. I already use the camera on my iPhone to photograph the covers of books that interest me, I then go home and use booko.com.au to buy them at the lowest price from anywhere in the world.
This heralds a much larger shift in retailing than I think retailers imagine. Granted, we have had Gerry Norman make a dick of himself by whinging about the evils of online shopping but I don’t think large retailers fully understand the pivot shift in habits that is occurring with younger generations. It is only a matter of time before the producers of consumer electronics begin selling their own products online and then most retailers will be stuffed.