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All the e-commerce apps in the world won’t make us shopaholics

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The explosion of e-commerce apps of late - Fab, Shoedazzle, Myhabit, etsy - and especially the long tail of niche online stores powered by Shopify are just fighting too hard with fundamental human nature. Just appealing to people’s desire for novelty and acquiring new possessions isn’t going to be enough.

What apps and the Web have never particularly done well is change us. Everyone designing an e-commerce app will cite how massive the industry is in the offline world. But if you look at retail shopping, it’s largely designed to make money despite people’s lack of real need for their goods.

Brick-n-mortar jewelry stores notoriously employ aggressive salespeople to make you buy things you don’t want; fashion stores tie into that aspirational...

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