I Can, Therefore I Shop

News & Trends: The affluent are to be congratulated. In these difficult economic times, affluence can come from just having some discretionary spending dollars by luck, or having worked hard to get there, or a combination of both. From the shopping sidelines they are returning to the retail world with a new mantra – Spend it.. IF I can feel good about it, and IF I can get a deal, and IF it has a value-added attribute to it. From the bottom of our retail-concerned hearts, thank you for getting up and getting going. No matter how the general population may feel about the affluent, whether it is envy, pity, or just indifference, retail needs their business. It doesn’t matter if the retail is online, from a catalog, or in a bricks and mortar store, when the buck passes, the masses are grateful. Spreading the wealth is the foundation to a healthier retail environment.

One of the things that the affluent have embraced, perhaps more than other income levels, is technology. For one reason, they can afford it. And, for another reason, they really do like to use it! Did you know that there are in-store shopping applications coming that will allow you to try on a suit or an ensemble in a special mirror? And, when you try that new outfit on, the software will also bring up comparable or accessory items that you might be interested in, perhaps based on your previous buying habits. Mobile applications, using GPS monitoring, will know when you enter a store, and alert you to an appropriate information display, an ordering screen, or a real-time coupon for that store. It may all sound a little too big-brotherish, but let’s face it, we let the big-brother tease us when we started getting credit cards.

The progress to create and install these applications is gaining speed because the dim light at the end of the downturn tunnel is visible, and the affluent are driving the train. The design, development, coding, creation, testing, installing, and implementation of this technology was chugging along for the past few years and now it looks like we’ll see many more retailers and consumers get on board. Think of the implications as this type of technology spreads to other categories of retail business such as art, boating, aircraft, jewelry, home-buying, vacationing, and travel. All who can afford the instrument to connect to the application will be able to try it on, walk through it, experience it on their wall, listen to it, or visit it, before they decide they want to buy it. It will go far beyond just augmented reality. And, at least for now, it appears that the affluent as a group are providing some of the major funding for the trip.

By David Gautereaux


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