Store-going, check-writing, stamp-licking, payment-mailing old dogs like me are starting to keep up with online-shopping, electronic funds transferring digital consumer cats like — well, maybe you.
It's because “online” versus “in-store” is becoming even less of an either-or proposition.
Lord knows where it'll leave guys like me who loathe “shopping,” who prefer to just “go and buy” and yet are reluctant to do much spending online, partly because we honestly want local stores to thrive, partly because we will probably never totally trust that dang Internet contraption.
They might finally be figuring how to get me, by mixing social media marketing and in-store convenience — the kind that matters to those of us who usually don't want to be in the store, any store, in the first place.
Price Edwards & Co. points out some of the innovations under way in its new Mid-Year Retail Market Summary for Oklahoma City. Read the report free at www.priceedwards.com; registration required.
Some stores are making their websites more like their stores. Some retailers are improving their web offerings. Some have bought existing online retailers to teach them better ropes.
I do get the way the Internet and bricks-and-mortar can work together, especially in a pinch.
A couple of years ago, while working on a seminary paper I discovered a new book that I needed existed, but it was rare. So I went online and checked the collections of state university libraries, found a copy at Oklahoma State — and immediately jumped in my truck and drove from Edmond to Stillwater to check it out.
That, actually, is the only example I can think of where I so clearly mixed the two. Usually, it still is either/or. Last spring, I bought a dishwasher from Sears totally online. Several weeks later, I bought a washing machine totally at the store.
But, Price Edwards points out: “Walmart is adding stations at their stores where you can pick up online orders (at the back, of course, so you'll shop while you are there.”
Ha! Try me. Except for the odd bag of Cheetos or the occasional random home furnishing item — impulse buys not the result of “shopping” — wild horses can't make me shop.
BUT, an impulse purchase is a purchase, so score a bag of Cheetos, or a set of bookshelves, to Walmart.
Then there's this. Price Edwards goes on: “Target is asking suppliers to provide them with proprietary products that can't be purchased over the Internet.
Target has also rolled out the use of Shopkick (a mobile app, www.shopkick.com, that gives people shopping points, or “kicks,” just for being in the stores) nationwide to enhance its social marketing.”
Mama collected S&H Green Stamps and Gold Bond Stamps. Even an store-going, check-writing, stamp-licking, payment-mailing old dog can see the similarities.