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Everyone Is Refining Their Retail Offerings – Even Auctions. Are You?

  • Alyx 

Much has been written in the last several years about the changing nature of consumer preferences when it comes to making a purchase. You probably heard a lot about how ‘showrooming’ would be the death of large-scale retail, while experiential retail and personalization might save small-scale locations; or about the interconnection of channels in omnichannel retail, and how ‘ROPO’ (research online, purchase offline) buyer behavior would revive brick-and-mortar stores.

Then, a pandemic hit, and everything went completely digital for a while. That meant digital offerings got better, though brick-and-mortar locations still served a purpose, but functioned more like warehouses for consumers who opted to buy online, and pick up curbside or in store.

And now? The forecast is for a massive wave of pent-up buyer demand, and it’s unlikely to just be online. Consumers will be bringing all of their newly formed digital expectations to brick-and-mortar shopping. In addition to personalized service and offerings, one of their expectations is immediacy: they know the specific thing they want, and they want it now.

A recent article by Frame pointed out that this is even impacting auction houses. The process of bidding might be an enjoyable ritual for some, but younger buyers might prefer to skip the process make a straightforward purchase of what they want. Particularly to appeal to young collectors, Sotheby’s has created a fixed-price, online and offline offering:

Sotheby’s New York-based Emporium is a physical realization of its Buy Now webshop, with objects to be curated by a rotating cast of current tastemakers. First up, skincare entrepreneur Gucci Westman, whose assortment stretches across price points, from a few hundred dollars to a few hundred thousand. Here first-edition books sit across from rare Nikes, and handbags face off against gumball machines. Shoppable both on and offline, once an item is gone – such is the case when everything is effectively one of one – it’s gone.

This trend comes as little surprise to us, as we worked several years ago with Australian auction house Pickles Auctions to create a fixed-price automobile offering that would appeal to younger buyers seeking a hassle-free car shopping experience – including the option to purchase cars on Facebook. And now, with another storied brand like Sotheby’s taking a look at the preferences of modern buyers and finding ways to pivot their offerings to facilitate seamless and simple online and offline customer options, it’s probably a good time for you to do so, too. If your online and brick-and-mortar customer experiences aren’t in sync, if your stores aren’t easy to find when a consumer searches for “< your product > near me” or if you need to explore channels beyond your website to give customers more options, chat with us – we can introduce you to an innovative location marketing platform that will improve your brick-and-mortar visibility, and recommend ways you can supplement your digital and brick-and-mortar offerings with social shopping, like our platform that powers auction and fixed price retail showrooms on Facebook.