Although the vast bulk of consumer purchasing processes now take place in stores, there is a growing amount of in home shopping. Marketers usually refer to this approach as non store marketing or direct marketing. It includes ordering via direct response, TV, cable TV, catalogues party and club plans, door to door selling video cassettes, Tele text, direct mail and other developing electronic technologies. One of the hottest trends in home shopping is TV.
Millions of American households have moved beyond one stop shopping into nonstop shopping. These consumers are able to view a continuous stream of products on their TV sets from such sources as Home Shopping network (HSN) or Cable Value Network (CVN). These live twenty four hour, seven days a week shopping programs use cable TV channels or have their own UHF stations. The program feature salespeople who promote all sorts of merchandise. Viewers can sell toll free numbers and charge to their credit card whenever the urge to buy strikes them, for such things as jewelry, clothing, tools, electronics and Bibles without ever leaving their TV set.
The significance of non store buying:
According to US census retail statistics in home buying is increasingly urban and has been growing appreciably faster than total store sales and general merchandise sales for some time. Due to classification and measurement problems of the census, however, there is a clear picture of the significance of this activity. Estimates of non store buying range from 2 to 12 per cent of total retail sales. Mail order retailer now distributes 20 to 25 billion catalogs each year. The 10,000 businesses of varying size in the mail order field account for an estimated $35 billion in sales annually. A 1990 survey found that direct market mailings stimulated 54 per cent of all Americans to make at least one purchase and one in six has made six or more purchases through the mail. However, only 15 per cent have bought at least one item through TV shopping channels while only 14 percent have responded to telephone solicitations.
The seeds of this change toward telecommunication based merchandising are several:
An increased emphasis on consumers self identify with individually expressed through goods and services which leads to a desire to consider more items than a store can display.
A higher proportion of working women who have less time to shop.
Increased leisure time pursuits of self development and creative expression, which allow less time to shop from store to store,
Greater demand for specialty products and services that are difficult to get in most shopping centers.
Rapid acceptance of new technology such as VCRs, home computers, and automated bank teller machines, which means that more consumers are becoming technologically competent for new merchandising approaches.
Increased popularity of such recent non store innovations as pay by phone special interest mail order catalogs, and televised direct marketing resulting in consumers who are becoming psychologically prepared for new shopping forms.
However, in spite of these favorable conditions leading to a receptive environment for new video based marketing approaches, the situation is not all positive . A survey by Benton & Bowles Inc indicates that only 10 percent of consumers are very interested in shopping at home via two way television. The major reasons consumers express in opposite to more active involvement in new video technologies are:
1) They like to see products in person before they buy
2) They just don’t need it
3) They like to go out to sleep
4) They want to relax wile watching TV and don’t ant to push buttons.
5) They fear that being hooked up to a computer would invade their privacy.
Perhaps when virtual technology is perfected probably sometimes after 2010, even these consumers will enjoy shopping in home. This technology will allow consumers to make a life like shopping trip in their homes. They will be able to do virtually everything they can now do in a store – such as turning a jar around to read the label of ingredients – but from their own TV set.