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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Best Gift Is A Platform?

So the frenzy of retail gifting (e- or otherwise) is now nearly finished, save for the post-Christmas bargain shopping, all-important "shop for yourself" me-time, and gift card redemption period of course. The collisions in the liquor store parking lot are slowing to a trickle. Stockings are being hung. Flights are still delayed.

If you're a digital freak you may have found yourself shaking your head even more than usual this year when faced with the madness of real-world shopping. Especially on a day like today. Here in Toronto we had a heavy snowstorm with the usual "no place to put the snow" problem, followed by today's rising temperatures and heavy downpour. Combine with chock-full parking lots and harried shoppers, and you get a true test of holiday spirit.

If you're a digital freak like me, you probably:

  • Have trouble getting past your tendency to see "gifts" as just data or information.
  • And why buy a single SKU when you can give someone their own password and some monetary assistance towards the particular SKU that'll satisfy what they want, rather than your unlucky guess?
  • And wouldn't the best place to get a full selection be in a place that covers the full Long Tail of available options?
  • And wouldn't that place be searchable? Try searching for a book title in a bookstore. Sure, you can try to grab someone on staff, and they can look for the item on their computer. And then, they'll tell you, nah, it isn't in stock.
  • Hey, the Lacoste Store doesn't even carry the Lacoste bathing suits for anyone planning a trip. Shelf space is too precious. I think these "not much in stock" brand stores are some kind of exercise in "branding" and "high price maintenance," but I don't know. All I know is I went to another store and bought the Nike bathing suit... because they actually stocked bathing suits there.
On the upside, real world retail has this much going for it: there is, as yet, no "Bromance" section in the physical bookstore. Online, I wouldn't be able to guarantee that.

Brothers and sisters, have a joyous and festive holiday.

Digitally yours,

Andrew

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