Who doesn’t love shopping? Everyone does. It just that sometimes we don’t need things, sometimes we can’t afford things, and sometimes we don’t want to move out and spend time on shopping. With regards to time to shop, a good time management with shopping requires lots of effort. In a world where everyone is in a hustle, managing shopping time is an impossible thing for most of the people.
In last five years, the technology has reshaped the whole world. Shopping has been given a new way, with technology-induced in it. “E-Shopping” is the term which is used for buying and selling online. Many men coin it a bit differently, when they say women do a lot of Extra-Shopping, rather than E-Shopping. Pun aside, It is attractive for people for being time saving. Some big brands even offer a virtual tour of their products which is beneficial for an individual who is sitting home. Now buying your favorite products is just a matter of minutes, even seconds. All the brands you love are just a few clicks, swipes, or touch away from you.
To many, the actual revolution in e-shopping started in 2013. It is estimated that only in the year 2013, 41% of the global internet users placed online orders. The rate of doing e-shopping was different from country to country, depending majorly on the population. A big country like China, US, France, Germany, India and the United Kingdom had more internet users and more e-shoppers for the same reason. Now rest of the world following up, its going to be much bigger phenomenon.
Opportunity & Catch-up
The global e-sales were recorded as US $839.8 billion which is further expected to cross US $1.5 trillion by the end of 2018. The largest e-shopping hub of the world in 2013 was North America which had sales of approximately $126 billion. Followed by France worth $107billion sales. This amount is double to the values of 2008 e-sales. After America, Asia is the hub for online shoppers which is mainly due to China. It is even estimated to experience eight times more sales by the end of 2018.
Between 2013 to 2016, the trend of online shopping is more increased with an easier tool or lifestyle, mobile-enabled shopping. Mobile shopping is the latest and most advanced form of online shopping. A survey from 2015 on mobile shopping trend worldwide declared that 46% internet users in Asia and 20% in the US made a purchase through the mobile apps from app stores. M-commerce in India shared 11% sales out of total retail sales in the year 2014. As per experts, it is trending and expected to make 25% by 2017. This rate is super high for China which started using mobile commerce ten years ago. It has shown 450% increase in past 7-10 years which makes it the biggest country to generate revenue through online sources.
For the casual shoppers, Amazon is the most popular example of online shopping websites which was founded in 1995. Many people don’t accept that the concept of online shopping never existed ten years ago. But many online sites were established more than 20 years ago, proving that they were functional even at that time. However, their sales and popularity were achieved gradually with time. For the year 2013, maximum online purchases were made through Amazon alone. All the online purchases of US carried 60% shopping through Amazon in 2015-2016.
Online shopping is easy, time saving and fun. From clothes to electronics, people are buying everything online. Many websites offer discount offers, packages, and sales to attract more people. The international brands have become accessible even in smaller countries through online purchases. E-shopping has now became a universally accepted trend and the future will have more advancements in it.
E-shopping has also introduced a new type of experience for a shopper. A buyer can choose something from one online store which is actually not available in the physical retail outlet of the store in the city. Similarly a shopper can also see how it looks like when it is worn. You can go to the physical outlet but you cannot try more than 4 or 5 pants, but you can check them online how they look when they are worn. Similarly some online shops offers custom designs as well. You can paste your friend’s photo or your favourite toy on a T-Shirt and get it ordered the same day.
Mix and Match
Few years back, it was highly unlikely you would see some stores which were unable to go online due to high cost of getting online and running operations. But now small to medium businesses can just install a specific WordPress or Drupal e-commerce theme, and push their stuff online. And the inventory can be handle and fulfilled by other companies for a small commission. Not only this, but one can just stay at home, and can do drop-shipping. Thrift stores have got now more sales, and these sales can many a times land on other sites for sale.
B2B & Consumer Variety
Business-to-Business e-retailing and distribution has also gone online. Alibaba leading the way, now distributors have more options. Now merchants and buyers are getting in sync. An individual can order a single product from a distributor site as well. One such example is DHgate. If we see Alibaba, it has introduced a much diverse business model than as is followed by Amazon. Alibaba always acts as a middleman, and attract three different kinds of buyers and seller using their three different kinds of businesses viz. Alibaba, Tmall, and Taobao. The situation that was quite complex and distributed in the real world, is now quite in sync, and mainstream.
Information and Reviews
Many a times I have seen some people in the Mall who, before buying, check their reviews instantaneously. And then there are price comparison sites as well. Within few clicks, they come to know from where they can buy the same product much cheaper or with better quality. So they just buy it online at the spot. It seems a much better approach as well. Since they have already seen and felt the actual product, its time to save some money or else. The reviews that are found on the websites are coupled with ratings. These ratings are so powerful, that these ratings themselves have been the enabler of online shopping as well. There is a huge impact of reviews on the consumer behaviour. This impact is one of the measure of recommendation engines as well.
New type of Jobs
Online shopping has introduced variety of new kinds of jobs. There are some jobs which previously were really hard to embrace. One such example of having data scientists in the mix. These data scientists take into consideration a much bigger, and much diverse data, which is not possible in physical retail. Delivery mechanisms also have now been changed. Since more and more public is joining the online shopping, the online retailers have to create much faster shipment procedures. Drones have been introduced, and drone delivery controller jobs have also being surfaced. Similar a shipment processing plant is now totally being revamped into something else. Robotics have been introduced as well rather than putting more personnel into the mix. The humans are taking other types of roles.
If we look back into 19s, we see some online retailers who had a trust relationship with the buyer. A buyer buys something online, and waits for the product at home, where they pay them on spot. But fast forward to now, the buyer can easily use paypal or debit/credit card, and does the job in seconds. The retailer does not worry about that trust now. Apart from this trust displacement, we see some other kind of payment systems as well. Reward based mechanisms, voucher enabled products, time sensitive, and scheduled buying, and whole array of smart services have also been integration. These new integrations are helping both buyers and sellers, but there is a need to analyze this further.
Mode of transportation has become advanced. This advancement enabled the fast shipping, fast checking, fast analysis and checkpointing, and a new type of secure channels. Internet, being the highway for a transaction, is boosted by the intricate and woven integration of international transportation. A physical product is not bound to any place. Even large products can now be easily dismantled and assembled, in a short period of time. Shipping costs are going low, even known-to-be-pricey companies such as DHL have some rates for some modes which are quite tangible for the ordinary buyer.
Fresh Food (don’t think of pizza home delivery anymore, you have options)
A very common thing that has already been happening is standard pizza delivery. But what about Fresh Food? Fresh food delivery to the home is also pretty much common onboard. Many companies are now doing it. Amazon has also introduced its fresh food delivery mechanism in some countries. I have seen many busy, old, or disabled people, who actually love this. This will become more mainstream once more and more companies join in.
IoT Integrated Retail
There is another disruptor on the move, and it is called IoT Integrated Retail. Brick and Mortar stores are in love and hate kind of competition with online shopping, and IoT integrated retail might be an answer to grab hold of online shopping. Since internet is integrated so much in our lives, that if we mix brick and mortar shop with an internet immersive experience enabled by Internet of Thinks, then we would have something really awesome. Here is a Tedx talk that you would love to see. Don’t get put off by the jokes, just grab the ideas. Ideas are worth sharing, as says the Ted.
In conclusion, no doubt online shopping and retail is continuously changing its shape. Consumer behaviour is now more complex than ever. There are more ways to do the same thing. It would be great that we grab hold of this added power, and make maximum use of it.
Its recommended that you take your loved ones out and have a great time in the stores as well. You can buy your favourite thing through your mobile at the store as well. Go for the experience. You won’t get that kind of experience online OR even in your favourite VR set, perhaps yet.
The co-author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to contribute on Infoginx, feel free to reach out at email@example.com.