The thought is fairly exciting and it would require an outrageous imagination to think of actually fitting a Shopping Mall in ones pockets. Still you being the smart ones might have already guessed that it’s possible and can be done very easily.
To state the obvious, this can only be achieved by using our Smartphones, which have become an indispensable part of our lives. We take it everywhere and anywhere and this small device knows the most personal stuffs that even our loved ones wouldn’t know about us (my reference is to the passwords or mails from confidential business deals with prospective clients)
Presently there is an app for everything and any trivial task can be done using an app. As per the data available online, there are about 1.3 Million Android apps and 1.2 Million iPhone apps available in the world right now.
The case was quiet different 5-7 years ago. People depended on Nokia Phones to get calls and their favorite pass time was playing the “Snakes” game. Life was simple and people used to visit shops and malls, see and talk to their friends before making a purchase and share information using emails, sms or calls. Then there was the advent of the SMART phones. They were initially quite dumb in comparison to today’s standards but at that time they seemed to have these ‘out of the world’ features. One could open the native browser and type in ‘Gmail(.)com’ and then a version of Gmail would open after 5 minutes of refreshing and scrolling up and down. But we were still happy that it could be done. Mobile Phones have evolved a long way from there.
Coming back to the present, it would be a waste of time if every store moved online and created an app for them. There would be a congestion of apps and the user’s attention would be divided.
It would be neither beneficial for the buyers nor for the app owners.
Lets agree that shopping by itself has a medicinal effect on us. We shop for pleasure, pride and most importantly for feeling happy and accomplished. Buying an item after looking at it, feeling it and getting it packed in front of our eyes has a different feeling all together rather than just ordering the item online. Online Shopping Malls of the future have to evolve to accommodate this basic demand of the customer to experience the item before buying it. Blindly moving online would create more value for the Internet companies alone and leave the Physical Stores high and dry.
The online stores of the future will have everything one could dream of but they would only give them the effect of Window Shopping if they don’t indulge the other 3 senses of the person interacting with their apps. Buying online has to combine the option of experiencing the product physically before making the purchase. If this issue is not addressed in time then the buyer would regress to the old habits of buying offline and online retail would pop up as another bubble or a fad. The onus is now on the Internet companies and big Online Marketplaces of present day to make the transition as smooth as possible. The stores inside Shopping Malls of current day cannot treat the online sellers as competition and they should diligently work towards opening online channels in addition to having a physical presence. And the best way to have an online presence it by moving to the Mobile space where the attention is constant and the content is much more simplified compared to the noise present in the web versions of the sites. The approach has to be collective, as doing solo stunts by individual retailers would fall flat on their faces in comparison to the options available with the big banner online retailers. The future belongs to those who embrace it and grow with the times.