Maybe it was my recent trip to the public library seeking out the next literature adventure, but the concept of physical and digital collisions has recently been on my mind. Allow me to explain:
Without any specific book or author in mind, I spent a good 30 minutes scanning aisles upon aisles, rows upon rows, books upon books. In such an analog environment, there was nothing except vertical book bindings to aid my selection. In other words, I was left to figure it out myself.
Except I wasn't.
As a sign of the times, amidst paperbacks and hardcovers, I stood motionless. Looking down. At my shining iPhone. To illuminate my decision, I used Amazon's algorithm to make recommendations based on past browsing and buying behavior. I used Esquire's list of recommended reads to curate my selection. In order to deselect from the thousands of options lined up in front of me, I used technology to enable my selection.
As a consumer, I am not alone in my use of technology as an aid and influencer of decision. If you really want to see how shopper behavior is evolving, watch people in a new environment where they have to make decisions - in a new store or new category where they have to deselect and then select. In order to create order from the chaos of modern choice, information is required. And increasingly, this information is sourced online.
The collision of physical and digital takes place at the point of choice.
Shopper technology is not the solution, it is the reality. If your shopper engagement strategy does not include or recognize this collision, you may be missing the complete picture. Technology delivers information. If you don't provide that information physically, shoppers will find it digitally and will make decisions based on the information they find.