Shopping 2.0 – its about reverse mentoring by kids

Kids are likely to have their favorite heroes or heroines from the time they start hearing bedtime stories. With age and exposure to television, cartoon/animated characters come to the fore, depending upon the field of interest. Exposure to big banner movies is likely to add to the list of ever growing characters that can be imitated and aped by the little ones.

My 9-year old is no different, besides having a host of favorites cultivated through the TV-shows caught over the years, he also has a tendency to pick up seasonal fascinations, usually coinciding with the release of a movie.

This holiday season it is Star Wars. What this really means is that he had to see all the earlier sequels (and mind you there are quite a few!) in order to be up-to-date for the big day the movie was released. Watching sequels meant that a favorite character was also identified and role play and play acting began at home.

Luke Skywalker was the chosen one for him and I had to fill in as Darth Vader. A simulated fight sequel without the use of lightsabers and a mask for me would not have had the same effect.  My feeble attempts at making the props at home using rolled up calendars with colored paper just didn’t feel like Star Wars and the look of frustration and disappointment of not having to play proxy Star Wars was telling on his face. Thinking I knew it all, I went ahead and picked up a lightsaber and a Darth Vader mask which I believed would serve the purpose from the local market.

This proved to be my folly. His enthusiasm was damped on seeing my purchases as it came nowhere close to what he had imagined or desired.

Even though this fascination is likely to change with a new Spider Man or an Avengers release, I gave in to redeem my mistake and we trekked back down to the local market to return the purchase and to try and source better props. It was an exercise in futility as the quality and the choice available at the local shops was poor.

“Let’s buy it online,” was my son’s suggestion, who is super well-inducted into the online shopping space thanks to my wife’s nimble fingers.

I dutifully logged in once we reached home and Flipkart came to the rescue. It was, frankly, a relief to see the choices they had in different price bands and quality was very good. Having worked out the maths, which included a couple of months’ advance pocket money to fulfill the purchase, the order was placed on Flipkart. A participative exercised dominated by my son, who browsed and searched various options, studying each photo with the intensity of an x-ray technician, before zeroing in on his choice. A memorable experience indeed!

This wasn’t the first time I had ordered his favorite toys or animated characters online. Earlier, when he was younger, I would usually pick up the pulse and fascination for a character and surprise him on big occasions. However, now that he is growing up and shopping has evolved to a few clicks,involving him in the purchase decision, evaluating the various options, discussing budgets and need assessment only augers well for both the parties involved.

Kids are adept at adapting to the dynamic nature of technology and since online shopping is a reality and is here to stay, we can only imagine their increasing role in shopping. This fact has been wonderfully captured in Flipkart’s All India Baccha Party video which is a testimony to GenZ.