You'd Better Shop Around "ME"

Uncategorized Dec 21, 2023

You’d Better Shop Around “ME" - the fifth installment on things you can learn from your cell phone.

Pardon my robbery of the old hit by The Miracles, “You’d Better Shop Around.” I’ve been thinking about how I shop. I recently realized that my phone accompanies me during my shopping experiences. And not just because it’s always in my pocket. It’s because mobile devices have become a part of how I shop.

If you had asked me a couple of weeks ago how I thought my phone has affected how people shop, I would have guessed it was impulsivity. Although I’m not given to impulse buying, I suspected the quick access to purchases had increased consumer impulsivity. However, commerce research indicates the most significant change has come in the shopping experience. Mobile commerce has blurred the line between the physical store and online shopping. Consumers not only shop anywhere at any time using their phones, but they also utilize them while in the physical store. Big brand stores have started interacting more with customers on mobile platforms, informing and enabling consumers to become their own salespersons. And e-commerce has also created a monster called the “online review,” which customers trust more than what the marketer says about their product. I call it a “monster” because retailers and businesses fear poor reviews. Consumers may refer to reviews at any time during the sales process, affecting their decisions on whether or not to buy. This seamless interface between the physical and digital experience means I am more informed, savvy, and in control as I make purchases, right?

I’m not so sure. Technology certainly informs. I whip out my phone while I’m in a store to check reviews, prices, or upcoming sales. However, I realized what market research has already discovered. What I want is to shape my experience of shopping. It’s the big M.E.: “my experience.” I want to feel good about my purchase. I want to feel like I got a great deal. Or at the least, that I got the best deal I could relative to other options. I want a feel-good experience, even when buying something I must have.

Here’s my question: How much has technology influenced me to shape my experiences in my world? In the instance of shopping, has information given me the illusion of being savvy when I’m just searching for facts that will support a decision I already want to make? Have consumer reviews given me wise product guidance or merely led me into a false confidence about that product? In fact, why do I trust a stranger’s opinion about a product purchase when, if I met that person on the street, I might disregard their opinion about anything they talk about?

I’m not suggesting that mobile devices are bad for the shopping experience. Frankly, I like the information. I rather enjoy it when I look at an option online while standing in the store and decide to order the product to be shipped to my doorstep from another provider rather than paying the retailer’s price. What I’m aiming at is that I want to be more aware when my decisions are more about my experience than they are about making intelligent, well-informed choices.

My behaviors have told retailers that I shop around the big M.E. They will leverage this for their sales. Self-awareness of my motives and wants, and the wisdom to see my real needs, especially in how I spend my money, will help me make better decisions.

Once more, my phone is teaching me life lessons about myself. Beware of decisions that are more about M.E. than anything else.


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