Will Television Change the Shopping Habits of Viewers?

In the beginning, most Americans lived in close proximity to one another in small towns that would one day become cities. While many of those early Americans were self-sufficient, others relied on purchases to meet their needs, especially for food and dry goods, such as material for clothing and bedding, footwear, perhaps tobacco products and other items. These people became consumers while some of their neighbors became retailers and sold them the products they needed and wanted.
That dynamic remained constant for about 170 years until the end of World War II. Returning soldiers moved their young families away from the cities where they had lived to the suburbs where they could buy and live in their own homes. These areas were spread out so that the new residents could no longer walk over to the neighborhood store to buy groceries or other items for the home. They had to drive to buy supplies and that led to the development of strip malls – groups of stores in modest-sized lots that also conveniently included parking spaces.
It is no secret that the strip mall evolved into the mega-mall, an enclosed giant shopping area with hundreds of stores offering a wide array of products and services – everything from food and furniture to electronics and home furnishings… and more. Restaurants, movie theaters and arcades added to the shopping experience. It was, and still is, more convenient than shopping at strip malls because it gives the shopper access to more products and services.
And yet, another shopping improvement is now taking shape. It is the one that has become available to people who choose to make purchases directly from their televisions. Networks such as the Home Shopping Network and others, plus special channels (made available to many subscribers by some programming providers) have made it easier than ever to buy a broad range of products and services – without leaving home.
It’s true. TV viewers/consumers – like you – can view new and used cars… homes for sale or rent… “large ticket” merchandise like electronics and kitchen appliances – directly from the easy chair in your own living room. And, while you may not want to buy a new home simply on the basis of seeing it on your TV screen, it definitely eliminates the bother of traveling to the home to see it in person. Now, you can make that trip only if you like what you’ve seen – in advance – on your TV screen. The same is true, of course, for automobile purchases.
Clearly, the future for shoppers is now. Will it ultimately lead to the demise of strip and enclosed malls? Perhaps, but it’s important to note that people still like to leave their homes… spend time browsing as well as shopping and enjoy “a day out” as they interact with others.
So… chances are that, while “home shopping” may grow in popularity, it will probably never completely eliminate the “live and in person” shopping experience.
Author: Frank Bilotta

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