Shop Online, freedom on rails | Marketing Magazine

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Before the rise of the digital aisle, we’d thumb through records or books in a store and MIGHT get a bit of advice from a shop assistant or another shopper.Outside of our own peer groups or reviews, we weren’t inundated with advice on our purchasing decisions.

But today online retailers need to get a clear picture of our behaviour to optimise the services and products we’re offered. And of course maximise the profits. That’s why your purchases and activities are tracked and matched with other ‘like-minded’ shoppers.

Our online purchasing patterns began to lose their individual flavour years ago, and most of us have become part of an ‘individual segment’ that’s easy to herd. Yet the web was meant to give us total choice and freedom?

The more we engage with “it” commercially, the more it shapes us. Think of it as freedom, but on railway tracks.

However, do we enjoy the experience, because emotionally we feel that the suggestions save us time and makes our lives easier? Perhaps we don’t enjoy genuine freedom; we’re just getting stuff that’s more like the stuff we saw before.

Yes in stores we’ve always had promotions and POS trying to push us to purchase. But there’s a difference when you can still see all the ranges on offer. Are we therefore less likely to impulse buy off line?

So ultimately the more we try to be different, the more we become the same. That said, those recommendations usually work for me… and did I really want to trek around the shops?