The Curve

The Curve. A recommended read.

“In the commodity era of limited availability, we asked ‘Can I get it?’ In the goods era of manufactured product, we asked ‘How much does it cost?’ In the service era of quality, we asked ‘Is it any good?’ Now that we can get great products cheaply whenever we want, we have started asking a new question; ‘How does it make me feel?'” – Nicholas Lovell

“…try to find the 10 per cent or so of your audience who are prepared not only to pay, but to pay handsomely. Don’t limit how much they can spend, but allow them to spend ten, fifty or a hundred times the previous fixed price. That way you are not only widening your audience reach at the lower price points but replacing much of the lost revenue by nothing more complex than enabling those who love what you do to pay more for things that are valuable to them.” – Nicholas Lovell

Scan, Browse, Shop

Black Friday was a prelude to the Christmas shopping season, and by all accounts this holiday season is going to be a watershed coming-out-party for mobile shopping…
“GSI Commerce, a division of eBay that hosts commerce-related websites for several large retailers says that it saw a 345 percent increase in US mobile sales compared to last year’s Black Friday… In addition, PayPal saw a year-over-year 350 percent increase in the number of customers shopping through PayPal mobile.”
via GigaOm

Kicking the bricks

One of the biggest benefits to shopping at a bricks and mortar store is actually getting hands-on customer service. With many offline stores struggling to stay profitable, apparently it’s the human touch that’s headed to the chopping block.

Imagine standing in a retail store desperately looking for help from someone, anyone, and being directed to … a computer screen. “No one here can help you,” a clerk might say. “But someone 1,500 miles away probably can.” This just might be the future of customer service. Two companies, with products named Live Agent and Live Support, hope that consumers who today wander aimlessly through store aisles looking for help would be happy to use videoconference kiosks instead. Already, shoppers in 34 Canadian Staples Business Depot stores all around the country have the option of getting video help from operators based in Toronto, according to Seattle-based Experticity, which makes the video kiosks for Staples.

Full article: The end of human help in stores?

Man’s life sells for $2.2 million

How much is your life worth? Chances are you probably don’t care or want to know. But one man in Australia decided to put his life up for auction on eBay.

I have had enough of my life! I don’t want it any more! You can have it if you like! … I turned the computer on (Monday morning) and it (bidding) was 1.9 million and I burst out laughing, I had emails from people asking ‘Can I buy a pair of socks or something small from your house, I can’t afford the whole thing,’

Full article

Internet No Longer Just For The Price-Conscious Shopper

It’s been a long held view that ecommerce dollars were mainly driven by price-conscious shoppers leveraging the Internet’s scale and resource to save a buck. Luxury buyers and pure convenience-driven shoppers were still sourcing bricks and mortar for the bulk of their shopping. Not so anymore.

“What’s spearheading online retail sales growth is a tale of two shoppers that visit the web for very different reasons,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, Forrester Research principal analyst and lead author of the report. “The casual shopper goes online to look for the best price, leveraging the transparency of the Internet to save money. However, more affluent customers appreciate the convenience of shopping online and are not necessarily looking for the best deal. Retailers would be wise to recognize there are significant opportunities within both audiences and should market to them accordingly.”

There has been concern that a sluggish economy would take the bite out of online retail sales growth. Current data indicates online retail sales will grow 17% this year – not bad for a down year. Perhaps the real story here is simply about ‘growth’. The Internet continues to be a primary growth medium for many an industry. For many offline retailers large and small the web is the ‘only’ growth medium.For example, a large retailer like Gap had zero offline sales growth from 2006-07, yet online sales grew 24%. The contrast is even more stark for U.S. big-box retailer Circuit City. Their 1400 stores are currently experiencing a 5-10% decline in sales, while their online sales growth this year will be 40%.

Circuit City is experiencing a “massive shift,” in CEO Philip Schoonover’s words, from the store to the web.

via internet retailervia crm today

Shopify keeps innovating

I want to give some props to the brilliant folk over at jaded Pixel who continue to do incredible things with their baby, Shopify. Shopify makes selling anything on the web dead simple, and incredibly beautiful. Good design, easy implementation and simplicity are corner stones to building a successful web app, but few teams hit that sweet spot. In the case of jaded Pixel and their Shopify system, they’ve not only hit the mark, they’ve hit it out of the park. Not satisfied with having one of the best ecommerce applications on the web, they have now set their sites on building a large and diverse ecommerce community and marketplace – enter Shopify Marketplace. Now you can search the whole network of Shopify stores through their Marketplace search engine. This adds even more value for their shop-owners and further cements their position as an innovative leader in this space. Way to go Scott, Tobi and the whole JP team. You guys rock.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Shopify co-founder Scott Lake about a year ago.