You know, I love shopping. Whenever I go to Japan or Korea, I tend to shop a lot.
However, I could remember that when I was first in Tokyo for exchange, I did not know which were the best stores in town. It was after going to Harajuku-Shibuya-Ginza (in this order) that I realised which stores were good, and which stores weren’t.
And after 1 year of student exchange in Tokyo, guess what? I think I could safely say that I am only familiar with 30% of the shops there, because of the retail turnover rate, and because there are only certain stores I would step into. If you ask me today, I can draw the mental map of which my favorite stores are, but I cannot tell you where exactly to find what you would like.
There is clearly information asymmetry.
Now, if only if at that point in time, there is an online retail guide with a complete set of reviews for me to navigate, profiling each offline store by price and by style. I believe there are apps now that do exactly just that in the Japanese and Korean context.
What I think is new is the hybrid between tourism and this “click and collect” trend.
The thing is this–assume that you are a Chinese tourist who signed up for a tour package in Helsinki. Definitely you’d want to shop, yet definitely you don’t have time to physically suss out the best stuffs in Helsinki.
On top of that, you don’t know what is good and available in the market, and you don’t know what is best for you. Therefore, you’d just end up buying brands that are of relatively high profile, such as Marimekko and maybe some moomin stuffs.
But isn’t that a huge pity, because there are other really gorgeous Finnish brands such as Lumi, Samuji and Minna Parikka? That you, as a typical average member of the public would seldom hear about even though they are of relatively higher profile?
Now, if only if there is an e-shop that promotes this click-and-collect phenomenon with tourists. Would that not drive sales to local designers, on the free-and-easy day of Chinese tourists? Since most Asian folks come to Helsinki on group tour and they usually have one day that is “free and easy”.
Otherwise products can be delivered to hotels at a nominal fee.
Whenever you have an e-shop that is a one-stop portal, with product history, brand story, designer profile–all on a beautiful interface, people would grow to love the place and country as well. There is therefore deeper intimacy, connection and engagement with the country.
Surely, this experience would make the overall shopping holiday a more enjoyable one?
The point is to communicate and capture hearts via popular culture.
The point is also to make your products matter.
And last but not least, the point is not to condemn consumerism.