by Jesmar Arevalo
It is a fact that online shopping could be considered a guilty pleasure for most of us. Every day it’s getting harder to run into someone who has never had a taste of online shopping. For some, it is related to the excitement of receiving a package and to discover what you bought as if it were a gift. Moreover, there is the convenience of ordering the product you need and receiving it right at your doorstep.
Long ago, retailers decided to be part of this phenomenon and nowadays it is getting more common to find an online version of the store of your choice. Although it is still a trend among big brands, we can also see the smaller retailers getting involved and taking the opportunity to increase their sales.
So far it’s been a total hit, and if we check the numbers the results show that it’s favorable that online shopping will keep growing. In 2014, the estimated total retail online sales were 1.336 billion dollars, while 2019 ended with 3.535 billion dollars. That translates to a 164% growth in 5 years! So it is easy to say that online shopping is a popular activity worldwide. But its popularity varies within different regions and countries.
This consistent growth hasn’t happened by chance. There have been some external factors that have been pushing this industry up as well. The most important aspect is related to technological innovations. Although personal computers are still the shoppers’ preference, mobile devices are becoming more popular in this online world. This is related to the accessibility and convenience they offer. Nearly everyone has a mobile device these days and these online stores are upgrading their websites to be more favorable to their use. An estimated 19 percent of all retail sales in China occurred via internet but in Japan the share was only 6.7 percent.
The main struggle is and always has been the buyers’ security. In this business it is a fundamental responsibility to protect the client's information. And this need has opened doors for other companies to provide secure data services. These days, it is out of the question to find a website that does not protect the client’s information. If you find one that doesn’t, please run away!
On the other hand, the existence and technological advancements of couriers has been a decisive factor in helping in the growth of e-commerce shopping. When retailers decided to foray into the online world, the first challenge was the logistics. There was a significant investment needed to get their products to the client´s door, but this is no longer a problem.
There are several companies like Amazon that have decided to invest in this field and offer it as a service to help retailers. Another breakthrough has been the rise of Chinese companies that have allowed the extension and range of service.
Plus, social media has been fundamental in the growth of online shopping. This platform has found a solid way of being part of this industry. We can find lots of ads that guide us straight to online stores while we are checking our Facebook or Instagram accounts. But also there are some people with celebrity status that are establishing themselves as “influencers” and are getting paid to let us know the benefits of these products and company services.
We might think there aren’t any new paths to take, and that this might be the pinnacle moment for retail e-commerce, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are plenty of ideas yet to develop that will help promote e-commerce growth, and there are some strategies that are not being applied to their fullest capacity. So these are some reasons that it is estimated that this e-commerce business world will reach more than 6.54 trillion US dollars in sales by 2023!
Even though this is just a projection, it is possible to see how it will be a reality. In 2020 there’s a combination of online and offline shopping that could easily merge into one that seems likely to be enhanced. It’s being adopted by big stores like Walmart, to create a new way of shopping where you can purchase an item online and then just go and pick up your purchase in a store closest to your location. This click and collect strategy has been rising in popularity since 2019.
In this way, you can purchase the products of your choice from your home’s comfort, without waiting in a line for a cashier. But you can also get them sooner by picking them up in the store that is most convenient to your location.
The advantages that these growing markets offer are infinite, and the numbers agree. It gives people the possibility to buy anything they want and need regardless of the manufacturer or distributors location. It has helped the retailers to expand their businesses, but it has also forced them to adapt to everybody’s needs.
Because of online shopping, retailers have increased their market share. This has translated to more demand and has allowed them to offer better quality at a lower cost since there´s no need of having a physical retail outlet. There are no geographical barriers, and this definitely benefits the consumer and entrepreneurship as a whole.
As a customer, it is now possible to buy all the goods we need while navigating through different stores, and to purchase the products we like without having to travel from one store to another. So in this busy life we live, it has become an advantage to have this opportunity to save time by buying online. And it is a blessing to have more time to spend with our loved ones.
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