“Hey Dave, you have a box from Amazon.com at the door.”
Dave jumps out if his chair and excitedly asks “Awesome – what is it?”
Unless you are blind it is hard not to notice that brick and mortar shopping stores are closing right and left and taking many once-thriving suburban shopping malls down with them. Last year alone over 7,000 traditional retails stores closed across the US and that number could reach as high as 12,000 in 2018…during the strongest economy in over a decade. Ouch! But just because retailers are abandoning brick and mortar stores doesn’t mean they stopped shopping. Quit the opposite.
As I have previously written, over 50% of US households now have at least one member of the household with an Amazon.com prime account. And with this subscription, all household members can enjoy the benefits ranging from free Prime TV on-demand for the growing number of chord-cutters to free shipping on most everything purchased from Amazon.com. We also know the convenience of shopping on Amazon.com as opposed to the time and effort taken to purchase in a store. But is there yet another advantage beyond convenience and cost alone that helps make buying through Amazon.com more psychologically appealing?
THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON DELIVERING
Ask yourself these simple questions: how much enjoyment do you really get out of shopping in a store? Does buying things like toilet paper and milk really excite you? Do you really like dealing with salespeople in stores when you are trying to decide for yourself? Do you really like searching for the closest parking space…hundreds of yards away from a store entrance? Now ask yourself how that compares to Christmas when you open new gifts? As children, most Americans grow up in great anticipation of the Christmas morning tradition of giving and receiving gifts. So popular is this traditional that we apply it to other celebrated moments in our lives like birthdays, graduations, etc.
Now thanks to Amazon.com and “free” Prime shipping, we don’t have to wait for once or twice a year to experience this joy…we can receive gifts (boxes) once a week or even once a day for those of us who eat regularly at PF Changes like Dave. Watch our Santa…Uncle Bezos is now one-upping you. Think about it: how do YOU feel when you see a new package arrive at your residence compared to the other junk mail cluttering your mail box? Are you excited when you see it is addressed to you? Are you disappointed when it is not? Are you curious in anticipation of its arrival and then seeing what is inside? And what are you doing with all those boxes you have received…do you quickly discard them or do they pile up in a corner of your house reminding you that you need more excitement in your life?
THE NEW JOY OF GIVING…AND LATER RECEIVING
Thanks to Uncle Bezos, the psychological pleasure you receive when you buy is transitioning from stores to boxes at your door. Shipping is not a new concept, but when you pay in advance to receive “free” shipping afterwards with Prime, the more immediate perceived pain of paying for shipping goes away and visions of jolly old Saint Nick with his slay and reindeer appear delivering gifts “free” start dancing through our heads. And since you had already paid for these purchases days in advance, that payment pain you feel in the store that was battling against the euphoria of your new purchase is long-gone when your Amazon.com gift box now arrives. Genius!
Many have claimed that our increasing need for immediate gratification would work against the buy and ship models and for some time they may have been right. But when Uncle Bezos was able to distance the immediate pain of purchase and shipping from the joy of receiving, he solved two problems at once and the rest is history. So the next time you check your mail and see a new box from Amazon.com has arrived, smile and remember that Santa and his brick and mortar elves still has a lot to learn from jolly old Uncle Bezos…even when you just received an exciting new box of toilet paper.