Text-Based Shopping – Why it’s the Future

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For the last 7 years, I worked for a rapidly growing venture-backed technology startup as the Vice President of Product. During this time, as a leader managing multiple teams and an employee myself, I noticed a productivity ‘bug’ in this high-achieving and high-output environment: many of us are stressed out trying to squeeze in our ‘home tasks’, like daily shopping or dry cleaning pickup during or around our already long work day.  Rushing out of the office to complete a task or pick up something from a specialty store on the way home is today’s norm when trying to balance our family or personal needs with our work commitments.

It is indisputable!  Either during the work day or in the evening, last minute shopping and errand running is distracting us from work, eating into our lunch, getting us home later, increasing our stress and losing us 35 minutes of time on average each day from our valuable lives.

I created MyShoperoo to solve this problem by enabling high-achieving work teams to focus on work while their ‘personal concierge’ takes care of their ‘home tasks’ during the day.  I also wanted a personal concierge service that ‘gets’ the person doing the ordering, just as a spouse or close friend ‘gets’ the same person doing the ordering. The outcome is reduced stress, less early departures and no extended lunch breaks to run errands and pick up things for home, enabling more engaged, more committed and more productive organizations.

On the MyShoperoo blog The History of Catalogs and Why They Are Dying we talk about the history of catalogs and how they were shaped throughout time to fit different purposes. Now with Amazon sized electronic catalogs, it could feel like forever to find the simple item you are looking for or could be a huge disappointment when the realization sets in that they don’t even offer the item you want for delivery.

In order to solve these limitations and frustrations, the next step is to take the catalog out completely (well almost completely) to save people headaches and the wasted time associated with it.

If you are asking yourself- How? –  then you are on the right path.

You may not realize it, but today lots of people shop using text messaging without realizing it. Think about the last time you texted a spouse, roommate, or friend  to pickup an item at the store while they were there. Almost seamlessly the sender sends a text message, “ pick up milk on the way home” and the receiver of the message, who is generally close to the sender in some way, typically responds with just an “okay,” knowing exactly what the receiver wants.

No catalogs to browse, no time wasted trying to find the type of milk, because they have learned your habits and know exactly what brand, size, and type of milk you want.

With Artificial Intelligence I believe this will be the new way we shop in an increasingly demanding economy. Instead of having to spend 30 minutes browsing online store catalogs and then checking if it’s in inventory you will be able to just send your shopping list via text to your personal shopping concierge, like MyShoperoo below:

Eggs

Bread

Milk

Long Sleeve Shirt

Soda

Once received an AI will kick in and know what you want:

Eggs – Half a dozen organic eggs

Bread – Oroweat whole grain wheat Bread

MIlk – 1 gallon 2%

Long Sleeve Shirt – White Large Calvin Klein X Fit Long sleeve Shirts

Soda – 12 pack of Coke

Then MyShoperoo will get it and have the items delivered to you at the office in no time.

Catalogs can still offer lots of valuable information as to what’s in style today, new products that are out on the market, and what is happening around us culturally. But what they do lack is a way to be relevant to the person and not make shopping feel like a transaction but to feel like a relationship.

I don’t believe catalogs will disappear altogether – so no need to sweat catalog lovers! They will still be there for browsing and ‘wishlisting’, but the process of ordering from an online catalog will be augmented and/or replaced by text-based personalized shopping for sure!


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