Physical Retail (Sears, Shoprite) Has Speed, Digital Retail (Jumia, Amazon) Has Velocity Which Gives DIRECTION into the Future

Physical Retail (Sears, Shoprite) Has Speed, Digital Retail (Jumia, Amazon) Has Velocity Which Gives DIRECTION into the Future

Good People, this week’s class note on Tekedia Mini-MBA is on the Board. As I shared a few hours ago, we are focusing on Perception Demand Marketing (read here), working on how to use perception to turn consumers into customers, and into fans, by creating products and services which do not just meet Needs or Expectations of customers but serve at the level of Perception. I offered some flash cases: iPhone, Diamond Bank’s DIBS, 23andme, Airbnb, etc.

Here, as a very good Physics student in secondary school, I use Speed and Velocity (speed with direction) to explain the difference between Sears (a bankrupt physical superstore), and Amazon. You can add Shoprite for physical retail in  the Sears column and Jumia in the Amazon’s column of digital retail.

Sears used catalog which has only speed, Amazon uses search technology which provides velocity. That velocity gives a DIRECTION into the future. To create perception demand, you do not give customers catalog options, you empower them to discover the future in your ecosystems.

You move them from speed to velocity where while completing the distance of life, over time, they do so with a sense of direction. When you do that, you create a new basis of competition, and turn many customers into fans, creating leverageable moments in your business. JOIN the Board for the full class note.

From Tekedia Mini-MBA Class Note

Sears, a bankrupt American retail chain, was built on catalogue – a fangled technology of its time. It was typical of industrial age business model: send the customers options on what they might need with no certainty on what they actually want. The discovery process was weak, defining the retailer with no sense to get insights at scale, quickly.

Amazon is built on search – a modern technology which is unconstrained and unbounded, only limited by the imaginations of the consumers. Search provides a window into possibilities, making it even possible that Amazon can see patterns on things it does not have in stock, and quickly respond to add them.

Search has velocity, catalogue has only speed; no antenna for direction. Search enables Perception Demand which enables the acceleration of consumerism by rewiring the mindsets of users to a new domain which they might have never imagined. As customer tastes move, your business must adapt. You need the antenna to move in the right direction to make that happen. Yes, in the 21st century, you win with Perception Demand.

Yes, no matter what you do, you cannot catalogue your customers. You need to find a way to help them discover the future in your ecosystem!


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5 thoughts on “Physical Retail (Sears, Shoprite) Has Speed, Digital Retail (Jumia, Amazon) Has Velocity Which Gives DIRECTION into the Future

  1. The same physics also talks about excitation, where electrons go through those levels, depending on presence of energy. The excitation state can in this case be used to trigger perception demand.

    But looking at how fickle customer needs can be, there’s always a downgrade from time to time, which moves perceptions to expectations and expectations to needs, and finally – needs to obsolete. This is because overtime, what used to be extraordinary becomes ordinary, while the one previously in the realm of transcendental moves to extraordinary.

    Conversely, Amazon Search can at best be described as meeting customers expectation and no longer perception, why? Because that of perception demand now becomes the domain of AI, where the customer doesn’t even need to search, rather perfect recommendations or suggestions would be made, and when the customers see them, it can only be ‘wow, this is it!’

    Maybe be marketing is cousin to physics…

      1. I like your analogy Francis. To spice a little beat: The levels are infinite. So innovation driven by the perception demand construct would always drive customers to move from one level of expectation to another. And at each point, the competition is competing with a new state of excitement. I think Apple Inc. is playing with this construct: mixing innovation with perception demand, their customers perceive them has heroes.

    1. Francis, you are amazing. You took it out – AI which is now what powers Amazon search is the DNA of perception. If you have prime membership today, Amazon predicts when you will run out of certain items. It would start “shipping” them even before you hit BUY.


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