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Good buy or Goodbye: GCI tries on online shopping to see if it fits

Blog, Consumer | June 1, 2015

By Dan Labelle, Consumer

Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/1HGYS7g

Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/1HGYS7g

A recent Ipsos Reid survey found 82 per cent of Canadians made online purchases in 2014, spending on average, $954 per person.

That means, Canadians spent over C$27 billion virtual dollars last year.

Here’s our take on what’s working, what’s not and what’s next for online shopping.

The main reasons Canadians say they prefer to shop online are:

1. Open 24/7 – Now you can shop after midnight – without watching infomercials.

2. No shirt, no shoes, no problem – You can literally shop in your PJs.

3. Serenity now – No fighting over parking, no pushy sales people and no lines to stress you out.

4. Look who’s stocking – Online stores are less likely to be sold out!

Online shopping frustrations include:

1. If the shoe fits, you’re lucky – Who buys clothes without trying them on? Too risky!

2. Shipping blues – It can take days or weeks to get your new toy, not the mention the extra cost.

3. Interesting purchases – Most sites only accept credits cards. It’s 2015, why isn’t debit an option?

4. Return to sender, if you can – Returns often have to be shipped back, sometimes on your dime.

Now lucky for us, new technology and developments are appearing every day to combat these barriers.

Here are just a few gadgets that could bring the online store-front to the fore-front:

Penn Haptics – This technology allows you to virtually feel things online.  A stylus receives data and transforms it into a sensation that your hand interprets as texture.

Penn Haptics

Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/1FXTJee

Pinch VR – This case (and accompanying app) makes your smartphone a complete virtual reality system, and comes with finger sensors to manually interact with webpages.  Still a few years away, but eventually this could let you pick up that dress you’re eying online and if combined with Penn Haptic’s technology, you’ll be able to ‘feel’ fabric against your skin to virtually try things on!

Pinch VR

Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/1Ky99FC

Blippar – This app triggers exclusive content to be displayed when you, your smartphone, tablet or wearable come into range of a product.  Currently being tested by companies like Heinz, Shoppers Drug Mart and General Mills, it could be paired with haptic feedback enabled Pinch VR systems and blow the lid off online shopping.

Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/1I4X3nk

Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/1I4X3nk

Physical stores aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but the battle between online and in-store is definitely heating up.  With the economy still recovering, more consumers are using e-commerce to find the best deals, which means more competition for brick-and-mortar stores.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the future of shopping – Get in touch!

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