We’ve all experienced sales migrating from place-based to opportunity-based; from Point of Sale to what I call Point of Convenience; allowing us to buy what we want, whenever we want it, from wherever we are. For a long time we haven’t had to go to Borders to buy a book, IKEA to buy furniture, or Safeway to buy groceries. Still, many of us continue to appreciate using our five senses when first interacting with products to make purchase decisions. But the generations are becoming more accepting of purchases based on convenience, not proximity. Why? Because it fits within their lifestyle … because they’ve learned to trust it … and most important, technology has allowed them to do it.
It doesn’t mean those companies having roots in the Point of Sale are in imminent danger of irrelevance. Companies who sell end-aisle displays, floor signage, window banners, register decals, store clerk apparel, in-store coupons, shelf space planning, etc., should recognize their opportunity to expand and need to adapt. One of the big questions is: which companies will lead in merchandizing/monetizing the Point of Convenience? Visa just announced a new product that moves in that direction called RightCliq . Or, is it Google or Twitter, mobile payments providers like TSYS or Square, or telecommunications companies? Then again, could it be a savvy POS merchandiser who can translate its deep-seated knowledge of consumer buying habits at the moment of decision into a digital advantage?
We’ve learned not all online Ads, Promotion, PR, Followers, Fans, and Friends are the same; just like not all in-store coupons are the same. The twentieth century was focused on Point of Sale; the twenty first century will be all about Point of Convenience. Let’s get the level of research, analysis, and execution know-how comparable, and for that to inform the new generation of enablers, marketing services companies, and manufacturers/producers/retailers.