The Future of Shopping: How Going Online Affects Retail Stores
The predictions regarding the future of shopping have long been talked about. A few years ago, numerous speculations from experts and analysts were all over how technology would change and affect our lives – and they weren’t wrong.
Today, we enjoy the many benefits, convenience, and opportunities that these innovations have brought us. But along with it, challenges and social changes are expected, especially for entrepreneurs. The correlation between the tools that we use and our social structures forces our society to adjust accordingly.
The Internet is no exception. The huge impact it has brought has changed the game for brick-and-mortar stores since online shopping became possible. Sadly, most of these physical stores became one of the many casualties when the coronavirus hit worldwide.
Thus, online shopping swiftly earned its sweet spot as the most popular online activity globally.
Thelatest survey from PYMNTSfound that 35.7% of consumers in the U.S. prefer buying retail items online. A separate studyinvolving 3,700 respondents from emerging and developed countries found that more than half of them now shop online more frequently compared to the past years.
The Fight to Go Online
Online shopping isn’t new to the pre-pandemic world. The rise of online retail giants worldwide has made it possible for anyone to order items of their liking anytime, anywhere, and even have them delivered on their doorsteps the same day without hassle and stress. The implementation of a worldwide lockdown and limited movements intensified the joy and ease of having to scroll over our favorite online shop.
The increased appetite for consumers to purchase online continues to spike, especially for essentials, food, and so on. Thus, the need for businesses to adapt is inevitable, forcing most retail stores to switch or branch out online to cater to the growing demand and up their game.
Online Selling versus Physical Stores
The reasons many customers and sellers prefer purchasing and selling their items online seem endless. The convenience of surfing over the internet to find what you’re looking for and even scoring great deals, discounts, coupons, and loyalty points saves so much time and money for the consumer compared to their brick-and-mortar counterparts.
With the ongoing digitalization of modern life, multiple payment methods and options to cater to each consumer’s need have greatly influenced their purchase decision. Each one suits their needs, giving the buyers the freedom to explore their options and score the best deal.
From traditional cash to credit/debit cards and bank transfers, people can now seamlessly and securely enjoy paying through their prepaid cards, e-wallets, points earned,cash-on-delivery service, and even cryptocurrencies.
Of course, it’s not a one-way street. Sellers also enjoy the benefits from online selling in terms of low cost on rent and premises, getting more traffic, getting consumer data insights, and whatnot.
However, despite its convenience, online shopping still has its downside. The joy of physically seeing, touching, and even smelling the item you’re buying is something online shopping cannot offer. One good example is the fashion and textile industries. Most people still think that trying the items on and inspecting the look and feel of it when worn will convince them to buy the item.
It’s the same with other things that people try to buy online. Some find it hard to see if the items are legitimate or authentic. Luckily, thiscan be preventedusing the right tools, research, and guide.
The Future of Shopping
The buying pattern for most customers today has drastically changed over the past few years. Though many prefer going to physical stores, comparing prices online and getting the same item at a much lower price still earns the consumer’s preference at the end of the day.
This is not to declare that physical stores are on the brink of extinction. But to remain on the game, a business must adapt. From cassettes and mp3’s to digital music, it seems we haven’t seen the end of the tunnel for the evolution trail on businesses yet. Thus, learning to swim with the tide is crucial.
Physical stores may be behind, but most of them have already cemented their place in the industry and have earned trust and credibility, which is a huge edge for their competitors. On the other hand, the convenience and growing demand that online shops have on people continue and shouldn’t be ignored.
Undoubtedly, both will have a huge impact on the existing retail infrastructure. Some will fail, some will grow, and some will spring up from continuous innovation. But one thing is for sure, none of them are going anywhere.