Cyberboutiques. I Don’t Know if this is a Great Idea or a Waste of Bandwidth.

My wife sent me this article from the New York Time’s Fashion and Style section. For some reason, I don’t read that section regularly. Not enough graphs, charts, and numbers to get me excited I guess.

I played around a bit with the application at the web site. It was a bit jerky and slow, but I could certainly see the potential. Either that or I couldn’t, and I guess that conundrum is what’s leading me to write this.

On the one hand, maybe this is the next step in integrating online with brick and mortar retail. What might happen if each store in a chain had its own virtual store with avatars of the actual sales people who worked in the store? What is the customer could chat with the actual people in the store through their mobile device and the inventory online reflected the inventory in the store? Or you could click on an icon to talk with the actual sales person on a web cam.
Or maybe I’m over thinking this and nobody would care. Just because you can do something doesn’t always mean it’s a good idea. Like all of you, I learned that when I was very young.
I can imagine some kind of temporary marketing advantage here due to the immediate “that’s cool” factor. But I also felt like it had the potential to slow down my shopping. I don’t necessarily want to wander around a web site the way I wander around a store. And there seemed to be some glitches in the navigation. Make sure you go up the stairs (though it isn’t clear that you can at first and I sort of stumbled on it). 
Of course, I’m looking at version 1.0 so we need to consider the general concept and not be too critical of the specifics. You know the software will improve if the concept is well received.   But what’s the purpose? I’m not sure it adds to the shopping experience and nobody expects a web site to be the same as a brick and mortar store. Do they?
I guess I think that if it doesn’t improve web site navigation, make shopping more efficient, or give me some new information I want then I don’t care. No doubt there are people working right now to make those very things happen. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.      



2 replies
  1. Glenn
    Glenn says:

    I saw a TV news piece on this as well. My immediate thought was not unlike yours. Very jerky and the slow, not a good shopping experience. Then I had a conversation with my techy geek son who agreed but also cautioned that the technology will only get better. He cited the difference in phones today and just 2 or 3 years ago.
    With that said, we should be watching this with interest. Our prejudices are invalid.

    • jeff
      jeff says:

      Hi Glenn,
      I agree with your son. But even as the technology gets better, it could still not be a useful, from a marketing point of view, technology. But then, we’re still watching the internet evolve so maybe what we need to do is having a bit of a longer term perspective.


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