E-commerce: Growth or a New Beginning?
The Internet has become an increasingly powerful tool and resource throughout the years. According to thecultureist.com, over 2.4 billion people use or have access to the Internet. Naturally, this creates a marketplace for companies to advertise and sell their products by the masses, all over the world.
According to statisticbrain.com, women’s apparel is considered the best selling Internet product, with other apparel items not too far behind at number five. So, what does this mean for the brick-and-mortar stores, that we have been so used to all these years? In this writers opinion; absolutely nothing, right now anyways.
There are many positive aspects to the online marketplace, research can be done rapidly, comparison-shopping can be done, broader selections may be available, the overall convenience and so forth. However, when shoppers get down to the nitty-gritty of it all, brick-and-mortar stores are still dominant in so many ways.
People often browse online to retain information for purchases they will make at a later date, and a large fraction of these purchase are made in-store. In general, the Internet makes the shopping easier… or harder, depends on what you’re looking for. In fact, the e-commerce industry can be seen as a supporting the retail marketplace, not replacing it. One of the main things online shopping brings is convenience. Even though a shopper becomes aware of new products online, only a few will make a decision to purchase because of the associated risk with buying from the Internet.
Now, e-commerce is a great tool and for many confident shoppers, a way to make there lives a little more convenient. However, brick-and-mortar stores have many aspects and attributes that will allow them to stay operational for a while, or at least until we are all solely confined in our houses, with our laptops, fearing the outside world. Until then, we can still look forward to the joys of leaving the house and entering a store.
Receiving immediate gratification is a big reason why shoppers choose to shop at a physical store. Why wait for something you’ve already paid for? If you’re like me, you want things now! Unless there is a particularly large discount involved, I have no problem going into a store and picking up an item I want, as well as being able to wear it the same day. Even so, shipping charges or a minimum purchase requirement usually does not make the transaction cheaper. The sensory aspect of a physical store is an important aspect of the shopping experience. How a new garment feels, looks and fits can only be done surely determined while physically having the product in your hands. Online purchases however, can be beneficial for those who are making repurchase or have seen the product, maybe by a family member or friend.
Finally, brick-and-mortar stores can be seen as a social experience. From purchasing a bathing suit or a wedding gown, there is something about the presence and opinions of others that will either make you confident about a purchase or prevent you from making a terrible mistake. The assistance from friends and family members, as well as the expertise of sales associates are pluses for any shopping trip.
We won’t be waving goodbye to the good old brick-and-mortar stores anytime soon; however, the e-commerce sector is definitely growing. It should be seen as a support system for the physical stores, not a replacement. Either way, today’s world is continuously making our lives a little bit easier, and as it seems, with the help of the Internet, this will not be seen as a negative thing for businesses.