eBay has been hiding things from me. I suspected it was true and now I know I’m not being paranoid. When I search, I only get back a portion of the items available for that keyword.
They say it’s for my own good. That they’re helping me weed through the clutter so I can get the best item for the best price. But frankly, I’d rather wade through an extra page of listings than have a computer decide what I should buy.
McCann Truth Central’s “Truth About Shopping” says that consumers are getting tired of being treated as part of an algorithm. Which is not to say they don’t like personalized service. The difference falls somewhere between personal and personalization.
Smart search engines are destroying the thrill of the hunt. 57% of consumers said they were afraid that they’d discover fewer new things if all they ever saw was exactly what they were looking for. They don’t mind suggestions, 66% said they’re looking to be inspired, but they believe a human will do a better job of suggesting.
As we dig further into the McCann data, another truth becomes evident – consumers want their calorie laden cake and they want to eat it guilt-free, too!
For example, 71% of people around he world are worried about the amount of information an online store knows about them. But 59% said they’d be okay with a store that recognized you when you walked in. “Hello Dave. . . ”
Shopping with the Jetsons
What consumers really want, are some futuristic shopping dreams to come true – like interactive walls that let you try on clothes without actually changing.
Hate carrying cash? Almost half of those surveyed said they expect to see fingerprint or retina scans as a means of payment authentication in the near future. Wow, talk about invading one’s privacy!
One sixth of those served said they could see a form of digital wallet that’s actually embedded in your body. Oh my, what would criminals do with that?
On their own time
The biggest point to come out of this survey is that consumers want to be able to shop whenever they want – during dinner, at midnight, on holidays. Because of this, online and mobile are vitally important. Nearly 50% of current mobile shoppers said they can see themselves going exclusively mobile in the near future. Unfortunately, that’s only a small portion of shoppers. 70% say that mobile is good only for browsing, not for buying. Why? Because it lacks the sensory input you get when you shop in the real world.
The big winner will be the company that can find a way to bridge the gap between the sensory experience of real world shopping with the convenience and personalization of online / mobile shopping. I don’t know how they’re going to do it. But I’m confident that someone is close to working it out.