Tag Archive 'reflection post'

Feb 28 2012

I Still Have a Dumb Phone – Reflections on Beck

This article was not exactly what I expected. It didn’t really seem to focus on mobile shopping aid apps as much as I expected it to. After the first couple of paragraphs, it seemed to wander quickly away from that discussion. I am aware of the type of mobile applications that the article mentioned briefly, and I assure you, when I upgrade my phone over spring break, I’ll soon invest in that sort of technology. It is certainly the sort of competitive shopping edge I would take advantage of. The phone I have right now provides me some degree of mobile research ability, but it’s a really old Blackberry, so it’s only slightly above average as far as phone intelligence goes.

I will focus on a few things that popped out at me as I read this article.

Presearch. I hadn’t heard that term before, but it is DEFINITELY something I do. I presearch not only for price and availability, but also to help me make my choices. I subscribe to Consumer Reports online services and this provides me a good deal of valuable information when it comes to major purchases. I also refer frequently to other customers’ comments on sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I have, however, learned to read between the lines. Many of the customers post with bias or with unrealistic expectations. Reading the text of their comments carefully, it’s generally pretty easy to separate the wheat from the chaff. (Heck, I even shop for my college professors using the same ideology using RateMyProfessor. I don’t have time to pick a dud!)

Koa quotes a Newsweek article that says if current employment trends continue, “the average woman will make more than the average man by 2024.” Yeah. Right. Girl power. I am woman. Bottom line? I won’t hold my breath.

I was a little surprised to learn that a number of retailers still completely separate their web operations from their brick and mortar stores. Though I suppose I am vaguely aware that this is the case, I just can’t imagine how that is a good idea. I would not purchase a product from the website of a store with a brick and mortar counterpart unless I had the option of returning the item to the store. It’s just bad form and it would put me off of a store.

I do find myself particularly annoyed with stores that don’t offer web-enabled POS assistance. I recently found myself trying to buy a large quantity of wall plates (for sockets and light switches) from Lowe’s. Apparently, everyone in the *world* wanted these things. I could only order online those products that weren’t carried in the store. Products carried in the store, I could order for pick up at a store, but no store near me had them in stock. It would not allow me to search in concentrically larger circles until I could find a store that had them. The only way to do that was to go into Lowe’s and have their customer service reps locate them for me. Even then, it was a cumbersome process. With the amount of money I spent on those stupid things, Lowe’s should have been standing on their heads to help me find them.

Bottom line, I didn’t get a whole lot out of this article, but it did make me think about the features that important to me in an online shopping experience.

– Sara

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Feb 28 2012

Looking For a Few Good Men – Reflections on Smith

I found Ray Smith’s Wall Street Journal article interesting for a few reasons. First of all, I do *a lot* of internet shopping and I hadn’t ever heard of any of the sites he mentioned in the first 4 paragraphs of his article. Interestingly, I had heard of all of the same sites mentioned by the men. Maybe it’s that fashion thing again. Oddly, as technologically stubborn as my spouse is (he’s 54 years old), he does shop online. I started thinking about the things he buys online and how he shops. I even asked him a few questions about his online shopping. He *detests* the physical act of going shopping, so online shopping is quite ideal for him. He is also possibly the stingiest man on earth, so he’s always looking for stuff to be really cheap. He only shops on a handful of websites, though. He shops on REI, 1-800-FLOWERS, L.A. Police Gear (he buys clothes there, khaki pants and polo shirts, but also knives and other manly things) and he shops on eBay. Most of his eBay shopping is window shopping (haha – no pun intended), but as eBay collects his clicking habits, they send him targeted emails. Those emails took him to two different eBay “storefronts” at Christmas this year off of which he purchased an expensive recurve bow for my oldest son and a .22 rifle for my youngest son.

I’ll be very interested to see what happens with the next generation of adult males, though. Both of my sons (18 and 12) head *straight* to the internet when they want something. They are already both relatively savvy online shoppers and don’t hesitate when it comes to online purchases (except when it comes to the actual buying part, because I still have to do that for them!) They also do a lot of window shopping on the internet on sites like ThinkGeek and Maker Shed and other sites for nerdy kids. My artsy-fartsy older son likes to browse sites like Etsy and Threadless and TeeFury where he can see other artists’ and craftsmen’s work.

I can’t imagine my sons will ever turn into the consummate internet fashion shoppers that this article seemed to focus on trying to create, but I suspect as adult men with their own disposable income, quite a bit of their money will vanish into ethereal cash registers in the sky.

– Sara

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Feb 26 2012

Polyvore, meet Pinterest – Reflections on Jacobs

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The Polyvore article was interesting, but the whole time I was reading, I couldn’t help asking myself, “What am I supposed to be getting out of this?” I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be considering how women use the site, how the site’s parent company and advertisers utilize the activities of the site’s users, or something else entirely. I found the whole concept a little bizarre because I’m not a slave to fashion. Even watching Today show segments or makeover shows on TLC, I find myself aghast at the thought of paying $80 for jeans, much less several hundred dollars. I’m a practical kind of girl when it comes to clothes, so much of the site’s draw would be completely lost on me.  I kept comparing the site to the little bit that I know about Pinterest. Everyone I know right now is totally into “pinning”. I thought it was amazing that a site like Polyvore that is focused solely on fashion wasn’t using the same sorts of technology as Pinterest when it comes to marketing. In a several-page (click-wise) article I found about sites like Polyvore, I read this nugget about Pinterest: “While curation not consumption is its strength, the site outdid Google+, Linked In, and YouTube combined in leading shoppers to retailers last month, according to Shareaholic.” I found this particularly interesting because Pinterest topics (at least from my understanding) are limited only by the users’ imaginations and range from funny kid and pet pictures, to recipes, to fashion and exercise where as Polyvore is focused solely on fashion. Mostly, knowing how easily distractible I am, it’s incredibly fortunate that I have not fallen prey to the lure of either of these time-wasters. I was probably too busy shooting at colored bubbles and “liking” stuff on Facebook!

– Sara

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Feb 24 2012

“Yeah, that’s great. But what about now?” Reflections on Gladwell

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This article by Malcolm Gladwell was very interesting. I do wish it had been written a little more recently. More accurately, I wish another article had been written since. I’d love to know what has changed and what innovations have occurred in the last 12 years.

Although I’m a huge internet shopper, I miss the days of the paper Sears and JCPenney catalogs. I really enjoy browsing through catalogs. I do think they are an effective way of promoting particular merchandise. Though Gladwell’s article explained that with an internet site, a company can display all of their merchandise, whereas with an article, they must pick and choose, realistically, how many customers actually click through every single page of a company’s website and view all of the merchandise? The paper catalog still serves to promote items and spark my interest in items of which I may be unaware, while the company’s website serves to complement that interest.

I also think that a lot of recent developments in internet commerce, like customer reviews on websites and independent consumer survey organizations may have eliminated some of the need for customer service. I think a lot of savvy customers do a lot of their research independently of a company’s customer service representatives. I’m certainly not suggesting that the company’s customer service departments are going the way of the dinosaur, but I would be interested to know how things have developed over the last 12 years as the internet has evolved.

– Sara

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