#842: Show-and-Sell

There is still a cultural disconnect between online stores and those in the bricks-and-mortar high street.

The only reason, it seems to me, for not buying everything one needs online is that there are some product qualities which are hard to assess without being there (and some sellers who don’t do it via the web).


Today’s invention offers an extra opportunity for hard pressed offline store keepers to compete with their low-overhead online competitors. This would work particularly well for bespoke, high-price, low-volume boutiques (I’m thinking Aston Martin, amongst others).

The store would equip itself with a website. Users of the site could book a time to view products in the shop in close-up, via a very high quality webcam, held by a real-life sales assistant. The assistant could be quizzed in detail about the products and directed to manipulate them onscreen by the customer in order to demonstrate colour/functionality etc.

This could then result in delivery of a purchase by conventional mail order fulfilment processes.

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