The fact is, the world of retailing is changing and permanently!
Whereas we used to take it for granted that a visit to the local store or supermarket was mandatory, now the first place we visit is the store that’s online. However ” shopping with the mouse ” is not simply confined to seeking out the best deal on ” big ticket ” items such as household appliances or electricals. Shopping for clothes and shoes online is becoming ever more popular as the phenomenal year on year sales growth of some of the online fashion retailers shows.
Why have we become so enamoured with online shopping?
There really are several main reasons to explain this major shift in our buying behaviour.
Convenience or just simply saving time is one of the major drivers. Whereas wandering round the high street or ” retail therapy ” as it came to be known was regarded as a leisure activity, nowadays there are so many things that conspire against it being a pleasurable experience. Higher fuel costs and the inconvenience of parking in many town centres are just two of the factors. How much easier is it to look at what is offer online in the comfort of your own home. In terms of sheer convenience, this means that today’s shopper can ” visit” five times as many stores online and find what they are looking for in the ” global shopping street ” without having to move out of their chair.
Price comparison is an other major factor in the equation. No longer does today’s shopper have to be concerned about buying an item one day and seeing it at a lesser price in another store the day after. In today’s recessionary world, everyone is a bargain hunter and the fact that you can simply type the item you are looking for into the search engines and immediately find several online stores selling that item and compare prices is a huge advantage.
Research is now part of the shopping experience. however it is now extremely easy to do as the “savvy” online retailer carries product or service reviews by real customers. You can now take the risk out of buying virtually anything or at least gain a fairly good idea of what you can expect if you buy something.
Last but by no means least is the fact that online retailing is simply a much more efficient business model for the retailer. Without having to have a prescence in the high street with the attendant infrastructure and operating costs associated with what is now very expensive real estate the online retailer can invest far more money in technology. Computer technology is now so advanced and broadband internet connection so widely adopted that the online retailer can provide an actual shopping experience online. This trend can only continue.
When you combine all these factors together, you can see why the pundits forecast that 40% to 50% of all retail sales will be made online within a few years.