Technology has drastically changed and altered how we shop, communicate with each other, how we keep track of our finances or how we do research. E-commerce is growing steadily every day changing how the world does business. As the technology gets the world gets, bigger technology keeps advancing revolutionizing how we run our day-to-day lives. In less than a decade online shopping has moved from being virtually nothing to become worthy of billions of pounds. Where we used to go out to regional shopping centers has transformed to sitting in our homes surfing the web. The high adoption of personal computers and high-speed broadband connections, as well as a huge number of retailers offering online services, has boosted the revolution.
Online shopping offers an extensive choice for shoppers, on the contrary retailers with bricks-and-mortar premises have limited to some goods they can keep or show on their inventories. This is as a result of the significant amount of investment capital presented which internet retailers enjoy no constraints. They simply have to show photos and offer a description of items they are selling thus making work easier for the consumers. Elements such as sofas in retail parks are not delivered instantly sometimes the buyer has to wait for some months, internet retail offers them immediately, eliminating the waiting time. Many advantages come along with online shopping that every customer is currently rushing to be part of. Retailers deliberately make their website accessible and straightforward for shoppers to maneuver around and use, and with a credit card, the world is an oyster. The choice seems almost infinite since one is not restricted to buying locally or through mail order catalogs. Issues such as traffic, pushy sales staff, opening hours, parking any other problems accompanied by any shopping trip are not a bother anymore.
In 2006 European e-commerce market was worth 66 billion pounds, by 2011 it jumped to over 200 billion pounds and the market and continued to increase drastically ever since, revealing that more buyers prefer online shopping over traditional methods. Regardless of the economic climate the forecast is that the amount spent shopping on the internet will keep increasing year by year. However since everybody has a finite sum of money to pay that means that if online shopping increase, then spending elsewhere decreases, and the high street retailers, whether chain or independently owned shops are the casualties, that is why most big retailers have also invested in online shopping too. Of course, online shopping cannot eliminate its physical counterparts since there are certain contents one prefers to go into a shop and choose items physically. However, there is no turning back; online will become an even more central to our lives, growing more sophisticated each year.
The internet has made it easier to spend, with 24 hours access and a few clicks one can have anything shipped to their location around the world. The convenience is great but shopping online can also result in impulse buying to items one does not need such as concert tickets clothes and other items. Smartphones and e-readers add to the convenience of online buying, it easy to spend money on these portable devices such as buying eBooks. However, one can monitor expenses via online banking, one has 24-hour access to their banks and can check their accounts balances and statements and be able to control their spending, thus stay on top of them. Other engines such as Money Management Tools can help a consumer to track their expenses and figure how, where or if they are overspending their money. This tool is not available in the physical retailers thus acts as a plus for online shoppers.
With the internet comes access to different ways of free communication. Email and social media are excellent ways to stay in touch. Thus, one has access to discounts and free services, besides it easier to forward their complaints since most online platforms are more responsive to keep a positive image to their consumers. Many online businesses offer great bargains and in many cases, free shipping, this is because the internet is a very competitive market and therefore one can usually find an attractive deal, many of the real shops have websites, which offer significant savings than in-store sales.
Shoppers can make informed choices from the millions of information available on the search engines. If one is in the market and needs to buy an individual item, they can always go to the web and read reviews made by fellow buyers who have already experienced it. Thus one can reach customer opinion before spending their hard earned money. Besides that, there is comparison-shopping; online shoppers can research about a product and compare them regarding quality or cost and select the one that fits them best without having to leave their home.
The internet offers a broad range of benefits; imagine buying that dress that you have seen in the magazine, and it is not available in your country or buying a CD or book not published in your country. The internet has created a global revolution, with Amazon as the giant online marketplace that started as a book retailer in the mid-1990s and now selling almost everything with sites for several different countries.
However, the internet has a downside as a global marketplace. For consumers, internet shopping is like being in a sweet shop and are spoilt for choice able to purchase anything in the world since the online market is geared towards selling on a global scale. For retailers its a different case people have so much money to spend, so they are chasing for finite amount of currency, thus that means competition is massive and the losers for several years have been the physical stores although shoppers will still pick them for a few things such as groceries, in many instances consumers prefer online shopping.
Internet retailers have a high advantage over their high street counterparts. They can show everything, unlike others who are constrained by space and inventory. They often do not have inventory themselves or even hold the goods; they channel most order to the manufacturers and wholesalers. All of this is squeezing wholesalers and forcing many out of business, those lucky to have chains of stores offer online shopping recognizing the power of the engine to reach those who have no access to their stores.
The Internet has indeed provided many advantages for consumers, such as lower prices, comparison among different products and global shopping and thus it has tied everyone into a global marketplace. Retailers do shopping in Hong Kong, China or America without even having to leave their living rooms. However physical retail shops are the major losers here, and thus they will be forced out of business or adopt the wave.
Molenaar, C. (2016). Shopping 3.0: Shopping, the internet or both?. London: Routledge.
Bough, B. B. (2016). Txt me: Your phone has changed your life: let's talk about it.
Molenaar, C. (2013). The end of shops: Social buying and the battle for the customer. Farnham, Surrey, England: Gower.
Ryan, K., & Qin, E. L. (2011). TILT Selling to Today's Buyer: The Way Your Customers Buy Has Changed ... Find Out How to Sell to Them. Cork: BookBaby.
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