There was a moment this week when I had an epiphany...I love that word. My friends chuckled when I said this, as they've heard this before. I have many. I have a busy mind. But all of them are relevant in my world.
It's online shopping. That's what I'm thinking about at the moment. Don't get me wrong - if a customer purchases online that the very best option for me as an online store. The excitement when I get notification of an online purchase is euphoric. But is online shopping the new screen addiction or the latest challenge for humanity?
Retail is tough going out there. Any savvy retailer these days will have their inventory online as well as instore.
They need to - to compete with the vast amount of labels now offered on the World Wide Web.
What saddens me the most about all of this - and I'm doing myself a disservice here business wise - is the loss of interaction with the retail store. The good old shop keeper.
I once had a store myself - SOUP in Wellington. It was a high end recycle store. Giving a second chance to the likes of Zambesi, Nom D, Yohji Yamamoto, Ann Demeulemeester, Comme des Garcons - I could go on and on here.
Labels that deserve to be loved again and again. And so beautifully manufactured that they could be. Unlike so many labels today.
But that's another blog for my busy mind another time.
I'm often asked if I miss SOUP. And although the time was entirely right for me to move on from that business - I always reply that the thing I miss the most is the customer interaction. I was not only a shop keeper - but a friend, and therapist. It was a santuary where a familiar face was there to listen. And it wasn't always about making a sale. It was just as much about the experience. And having someone walk out of there feeling better than when they came in. And because of this I knew they would be back again sometime soon.
So does purchasing online give us that euphoric feeling? When you try something on and you know it looks damn good? So good that you are going to purchase it whether you can afford it or not. That moment at the counter when you hand over payment and get back the fabulous branded bag. Bio-degradable of course. And you strut down the street showing off your bag(s) feeling like the rich and famous because you can afford to go shopping.
Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about!
Although these days I tend to say no thanks to the bag and stuff it into my backpack so I do miss out on that last step but feel good inside that I'm saving the planet.
What it boils down to is ultimately sustainability. Yes, for the planet. But equally importantly sustainability for the soul.
In this modern world, young and old alike are more and more engaged with their screens. We can achieve almost everything we need to on one screen or another. And because of this the population is more isolated, more lonely, and experiencing higher levels of mental health challenges than ever.
We need our shop keepers. They know our name, they know our size, and they know our style.
When they sit through hours of buying appointments for each season it's us they have in mind. They actually do purchase specifically with individual customers in mind.
They need us, and we need them.
Stay socially connected. Chat - Smile - Laugh - Listen - and cry if you want to. But keep shopping instore.
If they have sold out of what you are after - then that's the time to look to the online option.
People need people need people...