Laziness in Commerce (or: Where’s the LLB?)

What’s the superlative for online shopping? Being too lazy to do online shopping! Unless you don’t enjoy the online shopping experience per se, finding the right product, putting it into a shopping cart, providing one’s delivery address and chosing a payment method can be a recurring pain in the butt. Here’s to the lazy ones!

Impulses for buying things occur at the weirdest times at even weirder places. On a few occasions, you have an internet-connected device at your disposal, and if you have the time to find the proper source for the stuff you are looking for and master the respective checkout logic, you will receive your products a couple of days later. Good for you, good for the shop owner you made business with.

Unfortunately, these occasions do not represent the majority: in most cases, you’re not in a situation where you both have the time and energy to perform the necessary steps to complete your purchase. So you don’t buy anything at all. In my opinion, this non-realised turnover is a big chunk of the commerce pie that largely goes uneaten.

In the world of digital goods, this does not pose so much of a problem. Say that in a nostalgic mood you would like to listen to that track you love so much but cannot find on your device – or Spotify. You head over to iTunes, click once to buy the tune, enter your password, in the background the money is deducted from the credit card you’ve connected to your Apple account and a little bit later on you can listen to the song. Similarly, when feeling the urge to read a certain book, you fire up your Kindle, download the eBook from Amazon and start reading. Instant satisfaction for even the laziest online shoppers.

In the physical world, things are unequally harder. The example that I know which comes closest to the instant satisfaction provided by digital goods is the Amazon mobile app with its 1-click-order function. Find the product, put it into the cart and order it with one flick of the finger if you feel the urge to buy that new TV set right now.

Let me give you an example of what I’m looking for: I really enjoy Scottish single malt whisky. Now that I’m here on this train I get the idea to order a new bottle because my supply is running low. So, all the information I need to give to a supplier should be „lagavulin 16 years“ . The ideal scenario: I use speech recognition to make my mobile recognise a sentence like „buy lagavulin 16 years“. I get a very brief feedback that this has been understood and forwarded to a whisky retailer and receive the delivery date. End of story.

What follows is what actually needs to happen, but which, in my ideal scenario, should run quietly in the background – performed by LLB (logic for the lazy bastard):

Connecting to the web

This sounds like a no-brainer. If you’re travelling, however, getting online can be fussy. I would like to initiate the purchase regardless whether I’m online or not. I expect LLB to spool my request until I’m online again.

Choosing an online shop

Here, one would typically fire up Google to look for a suitable web shop and then have a look at the addresses the search comes up with. In my lazy world, LLB would scan if I have recently ordered something similar and maybe have put down a favourite store somewhere. Possibly, a Facebook/Twitter aquaintance has recently ordered spirits; if no results can be found, LLB would look for shop directories, price comparison sites, review portals etc. to find a retailer that has the best mix of decent pricing, delivery speed and customer satisfaction.


My mobile is connected to a payment service – in my scenario it’s PayPal. PayPal has access to my bank accout and knows my address – all there’s to know for an online retailer to send me stuff, right?

I get the idea, talk to my mobile and look forward to my whisky, without being interested what happens in the background. It is no instant satisfaction – I have to wait a while until the product is delivered – but as far as the ordering itself goes, it is the best we can get. This example is good because it exemplifies the kind of shopping curation that I’m interested in, yet it has a flaw. Regardless of how lazy I am, I would get through all this pain – even without LLB – to finally get a taste of the fine Single malt. But how about other occasions when the purchase is never done because one cannot be bothered going through all the necessary steps?

Wait, this can even be topped: What if I don’t get the idea but someone or something else has a tip for me? My mobile knows my calendar, knows when there are birthdays that would go well with a little gift. It knows when and where I go an vacation and can remind me about important things to buy before I leave.

This is a rough idea provided courtesy of Deutsche Bahn who takes me to all those places, leaving me time to think and write something down. I haven’t looked into water-proof academic theories or statistics that would support my point. But this post is about laziness, anyway.

I’d like to conclude this brainstorming session with two questions: How does laziness change your buying behaviour? Could you recommend examples of LLB?

(Image by Andrew*)

About Roman Zenner
Ich bin ich

One Response to Laziness in Commerce (or: Where’s the LLB?)

  1. Pingback: The Paradox of Choice | ecomPunk

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