High street’s day of the dead – Welcomed!

Sunday’s article in the Guardian Business sector is an interesting account of the current economic climate, retail market and customer preference. After our household just recently bought into the “tablet hype” we too have been quite keen to follow the market trends in electronics and the competition out there.

I wouldn’t like to be an electronics manufacturer & seller these days. It seems the best ideas are in the realm of design, user interface and content, and not necessarily in technology. The latter is outsourced to whoever can provide a reliable product meeting the exact specifications required. And consumers are given options to buy brand or buy price – and now choosing price doesn’t seem to compromise quality!

Could this momentum be used for something else? Like good practice in consumption? I would like consumers to use the thinking and researching time for not only choosing but also consideration. Do I need this product, or anyone like it for that matter? What will I use it for, and how did I get by earlier? If there is a cupboard full of unused electronics, then one should think pretty carefully before buying (and obviously dispose of unwanted items through proper recycling or re-selling).

Then there is the online shopping. I used to quite like the experience of trying things on, or eyeing sale signs to lure me in. However, what it does boil down to is this: unnecessary spending and consumption. I wish we could make sure the clothes we no longer wear (although still in fine condition) and the gadgets we no longer use could be efficiently recycled but that is not the case. We spend our hard earned cash on material things and then we create waste. Have you moved house recently? That’s a painfully obvious time to see it. But getting back to the topic.. Shopping online can be a blessing and a curse. How about buying less, since you just look for the exact thing you need? Welcomed!  However, seasoned online shoppers use the channel just like I used to do at shopping malls: try on different things and buy the one that fits best. And consume.. gas. If nothing else, there are the costs of transporting the items to your door and back again. In the lifecycle of the product, is that too much?

I feel for the employees  being let go on the verge of Christmas, but I do believe there are new frontiers for retail, and that it can be a good thing. Web based shopping can reach customers who are far away or less able to travel. It can give people time to think what they really want and need, and limit the shopping to that. And limit consumption at the same time. After all, we would often use some mode of transport to get to the shops too.. and back.

More on this:

Surviving retailers stagger on after the high street’s day of the dead | Business | The Observer.

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