Thursday, May 13, 2010

Retro Commerce

Let's say you live in an apartment with a gorgeous view of the parking lot. Or perhaps an assisted living environment with minimal window space.

You may be a candidate for this.

They even tell you how to build it.



They're calling them "stores" or "s-commerce," and they're being rolled out in towns and cities everywhere.

"It's a real revelation," according to Malcom Fosbury, a local worker. "You just walk into one of these stores and they have all sorts of things for sale."

Fosbury was particularly impressed by a clothes shop he discovered while browsing downtown recently. "Stores seem to be the ideal medium for transactions of this type. I can try out a jacket and see if it fits me. Then I can visualize the way I would look if I were actually wearing the clothing." This is now possible using a high-definition 2-D viewing system, or "mirror" as it has become more popularly known.

Stores, also called shops, are frequently aggregated into shopping promenades, or "malls," and are becoming increasingly popular with the cash-rich but time-poor generation of new consumers. Often located in densely-populated areas, people are finding them extremely convenient.

And Malcolm is not alone in being impressed by these shops. "Some days I just don't have the time to download huge Flash animations of rotating cross-trainers and then wait an additional five to ten days for them to be delivered and hope they will actually fit," says Sandra Bailey, a systems analyst for the city. "This way I can actually complete the transaction in real time and walk away with the goods."

Being able to see whether or not shoes and clothing fit has been a real bonus for Bailey. "I used to spend my evenings boxing up gear to return. Sometimes the clothes didn't fit, or sometimes they just sent the wrong stuff."

Retail analyst Carl Gentner testifies that, "Stores have a compelling commercial story to tell. There are massive efficiencies built into their supply chain. By concentrating distribution to a series of high volume outlets in malls, there are dramatic savings in fulfillment costs. I mean, compare that to the wasteful practice of delivering items piecemeal to people's homes."

Furthermore, allowing consumers to receive goods when they actually want them could mean an end to the frustration of returning home only to find a notice telling you that your goods are waiting in a dispatch warehouse on the other side of town.

But it's not just the convenience that appeals to Mr. Fosbury. "Going out and visiting a shop is a real relief for me. I mean, as it is I already spend all day in front of the stupid computer."

[adapted from; edits and rewrites by Mark Raymond]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding." (Proverbs 23:23)


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