Offline on the line
Last week Porter Novelli Melbourne hosted an AustraliaSCAN presentation by Quantum Market Research’s Imogen Randell. Australia Scan is an independent, cultural change monitor providing a view of Australians and how their behaviour is changing, and is the longest running social trends monitor of its kind in Australia. You may have seen some interest in The Age here.
Australia Scan provides fascinating insight into what we’re all feeling: Australians are becoming more conscious about their buck. We no longer appreciate discounts, we expect them – in supermarkets, at petrol stations, and in clothing stores. The statistics showed that we’re even more time poor than ever – working longer hours and spending more time in traffic on congested roads.
This got me thinking about the shift to online retail. Online stores provide a service that caters to our growing concerns about time and money. We’ve opened PayPal accounts, handed over addresses, and online shopping in Australia has grown 50% since 1998, says Australia Scan. While Spanish retailer Zara opens bricks and mortar shops in Australia, UK e-tailer ASOS has also launched offering a new way to fulfill our appetite for goods, and the notion of customer service is shifting from attentive staff in store to guaranteed and free overnight shipping.
If we’re shopping online, does that mean bricks and mortar retailing is offline? Where to from here? After revolution comes evolution. It’s not a war between the on and the off as speculated, rather it’s a mechanism for retailing models to change – and they are. But what’s missing is Australia’s ASOS or Shopbop.
Mind your manners
I can’t deny it – I’m absolutely guilty of checking my Facebook or emails in social and work situations and staring at my phone in lifts to avoid awkward conversations about the weather. Having said this, I’m increasingly aware that good smart-phone manners (or lack of) are rapidly declining.
Is there anything more disheartening and frustrating than conducting a presentation or leading a meeting and looking up to see your audience or colleagues scrolling through their phones?
Being aware of this, I was unsure how to feel when I attended the Social Media Club Sydney’s Food, Wine and Social Media event last month, and I certainly wasn’t alone. We’d been told ahead of time that we should tweet our questions as opposed to putting our hands up, and I wasn’t exactly sure how it would work.
While the presenter was in full swing, the entire room was glowing from smart phones. Heads were down and people were tapping away, sending their questions via Twitter. This made some of my colleagues and me a little uneasy – it felt like no one was really paying attention.
If this is the way we are heading, then where is the etiquette line drawn? I’m not the only one who’s trying to figure out the rules. I guess I’d better get used to this type of behaviour – it’s just the beginning.
Whilst contemplating how obsessive we have become with the need to be constantly in the loop, I came across these interesting statistics.
Research conducted by Telstra in June revealed Australians’ most common Phone-Pas personalities. So, where do you fit?
• The Peacock (34 per cent). You’re constantly posting status updates, checking-in your friends and talking loudly on your mobile phone. Your behaviour is designed to make sure everyone around you knows you have a ‘fabulous’ life.
• Mover and Shaker (29 per cent). You’re always on the go and your mobile phone is your lifeline, connecting you to work and your social life. You regularly get caught out answering your mobile phone in meetings or responding to SMS at the dinner table.
• Stimulation Seeker (19 per cent). You can’t sit still and need to be in the know, so you pass the time – whether you’re on the bus or while crossing the road – browsing Facebook, downloading the latest apps or checking out your phone’s features.
• I see, I Do (18 per cent). You tend to follow the crowd and exhibit poor mobile manners because everyone else does – for instance, you’ll start checking emails during a work meeting because those around you are doing it too.
Regardless of how comfortable you are with your own mobile behaviour, smart phones are undeniably changing the environment for presenters and speakers. In addition to the usual preparation for a Q&A, it has become another element that people engaged in public forums need to factor in and know how to deal with.