Five ways Internet shopping is changing the retail landscape forever
Over the last few years, the world of retail has been undergoing a silent revolution. The popularity of e-commerce and shopping online has continuously been growing- a shift that hasbeen even more prevalent through the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
Indeed, experts agree the emergence of Coronavirus may well have brought a step-changein our shopping habits forever. With social distancing in place, many consumers simply haven’t felt safe leaving the house to shop at stores, leading to a boom in buying online purchasing.
Here are five ways Internet shopping is changing the way retail works forever.
Setting up online means retailers can bypass the traditional costs of premises, rates, heating, electricity, and – in many cases –staff. Consequently, the prices offered byinternet stores are, in general, considerably cheaper than theirreal-world counterparts. The savings passed on to the consumer by web-based stores make it even harder to tempt people to back to the traditional High Street model.
You can now buy pretty much anything online
Internet shopping isn’t just limited to lower-priced goods or services. In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, you can even buy Ferrari online these days. The reach of e-commerce has become all-encompassing to the point the money involved is of little consequence. With the right credit channels in place, you can now buy pretty much anything online.
Virtually in stock, all the time
Having a virtual storefront means shop owners don’t need to hold physical stock as they onceused to in the traditional shopping model. Most consumers are now au fait with the idea that ordering online will incur a small delay before the item reaches them. This affords retailers the chance to order on demand from suppliers – cutting their overheads substantially and saving the need to hold items in stock in the hope someone might buy them.
The convenience of not leaving home
From a consumer point of view, it’s considerably easier to shop online than go hunting around shopping centers or the High Street. A world of shopsis just a few keystrokes away when shopping online, opening up a far more varied and comprehensive range of products than was ever possible in real-world stores. Geographical boundaries are a thing of the past, and internet-savvy shoppers can make considerable savings by shopping further afield.
Improved delivery networks and order processing
As Internet shopping has continued to evolve, delivery networks and order processing has also improved. Delivery is now one of the fastest-growing aspects of e-commerce, with an entirely new industry branching from it – order fulfillment.
Order fulfillment(sometimes known as product fulfillment) deals with every aspect of the delivery process oncean order has been placed on a company website. Retailers ship their product directly to third-party fulfillment stations, ready for delivery to the client once an order has been received. The retailer simply watches purchases roll in, leaving the fulfillment company to look after the rest.
Undoubtedly, the repercussions of COVID-19 will be with us for some time to come. The virus has changed the way we work and the way we communicate – and it is now starting to radically shape the retail landscape of the future.
In truth, these changes have been coming for some time, and it could be argued the writing’s been on the wall for high street retail for many years. As the boundaries between the real and virtual worldsblur – and the convenience of online shopping continues to improve – it is unlikely we will see a return any time soon to traditional retailing.