I have talked about the ‘Grand Retail Unified Theory‘ in detail and very strongly believe this is where the future of eCommerce lies. So far most eCommerce strategy has been focused on building stores and jamming traffic through SEM/SEO. This is redundant because it leads to a 4% conversion rate. At best. Back in the day when paid advertising was cheap no one really cared if click-throughs were unqualified, but now, advertising costs have rationalized and the glory days of blanket advertising are numbered.
But this is good because it has re-highlighted leading edge thinkers like Avinash Kaushik and Eric T. Peterson who rightly believe that the true power of the online medium lies in its ability to reveal ‘intent’. What they are saying, in effect, is that the online experience should be a close approximation of customer aspirations.
Another idea that further reinforces the grand retail unified theory is presented below:
Retail supply chain is hugely sophisticated. Most retailers know exactly where a specific product is: store, warehouse, transit, etc. So with such high levels of sophistication why not bring some of that magic online. While browsing Macys.com every non first time visitor should be able to see which SKU’s are available at the local Macy’s store. In fact, the site should have a feature that allows browsing of only store specific inventory.
Talbots.com attempts this by placing a tag called ‘find this item in a store’ but this is a global tag and does not filter by store.