Whenever new technology enters into a market disrupting it, we appreciate different layers of reactions. The enthusiasts who predict the end of the world as we know it, the deniers who foresee that everything new is just a fad, the pragmatics who try to get the best from the experience of a new technology, whatever it may be.
“I think printed books just for plain old reading will, in 10 years from now, be unusual. Not so unusual that a kid will say, ‘Mommy, what’s that?’ but unusual enough that on the train you’ll see one or two people reading something printed, while everyone else is reading off of a device.” (Mike Shatzkin, Idea Logical Company) *
“Thirdly, is the impact ebooks will have on civilization’s march of progress. I envision a future where the sprawling malls of our time will be turned into lovely parks after all the unnecessary and unhealthy mall shopping is gone. Already millennials are consuming far less fossil fuels than previous generations, in part because they shop online and not at brick and mortar.” (Caleb Mason, Publirati)**
We do remember that Radio should have killed dailies and TV was the killer of Radio and Internet of TV. Still, we are reading dailies, tuning into radio channels and switching on our TV sets.
The solution is just one and only one and it can be reduced to one word: hybridize, to cross-breed individuals of two different species or varieties.
This word is the key to describe the impact of digital on our life, from reading to shopping to media fruition. Nothing is gonna die though changes, sometimes radical changes, are taking place in almost all the industries because of digital.
Entertainment industry was the first to come tumbling down under the digital revolution yet a new business model took place, eventually, creating a mash up between the old record labels, the streaming services, the live business. The latest figures released by IFPI shows a 5.9% increase 2016 vs 2015, the fastest from 1997, split in 34% from physical format sales, 50% from digital, 14% from performance rights.
Paper books were listed toward extinction, then, due to the UX of e-books, the adoption of readers, the relentless Amazon marketing and commercial activity. Then, suddenly, for two years in a row e-book sales remain flat*** while paperback book sales grew 8.8 percent during the first six months of 2016 when compared with the same months in 2015 and s sales of electronic books, on the other hand, plummeted by 20 percent in the first half of 2016.****
Now it’s the time of retail to suffer badly. We are amidst a complete reshape of the industry even if the main reason for this crisis is not necessarily digital and e-commerce. Retails giants should blame themselves mostly because of a suicide policy of wild discounts, so early that you have all the time to wear your purchase.
“I have no illusion that 10 years from now will look the same as today, and there will be a few things along the way that surprise us,” Warren Buffet°
“There will always be a place for stores. People like surveying glitzy showrooms and running their fingers over soft fabrics. But the rise of e-commerce not only moves individual sales online, but also builds new shopping habits, so that consumers gradually see the living room couch as a good-enough replacement for their local mall.” Derek Thompson, The Atlantic°°
Even if the market is bleeding, the smartest brands are moving fast towards the integration of the experiences. LVMH is launching its own platform designed on the experience of Le Bon Marché, the Parisian luxury department store, integrating on a scale the shopping experience tout court.°°°
What’s the lesson here? Again, to hybridize the customer experience is the goal, providing access to the inventory from the platform she prefers, when and where she prefers, building dedicated inventory for each experience, tailoring the discovering path towards new products, selling more than just a product, enhancing the feeling of freedom of choice. A thin rope to walk, indeed.