Although shopping malls and retail outlets are still out there but their presence is at risk now. As the internet has become an important part of our lives people have become more accustomed to browsing through products and services online and availing them. Online shopping and e-commerce websites have had a great impact on shopping behaviour of people all over the world and to consider it something of less importance and to dismiss it as something trivial compared to brick shops is limited thinking. Whether business owners like it or not, online shopping is already a big thing and has replaced brick shops to a great extent but will it stay like this? Will it grow more? The question arises; will e-commerce websites and online shopping take over the physical shopping world completely in the near future?
The possibility that most of the retail stores will close down soon exists and cannot be denied. Many retail owners in America and all over the world are closing down their stores only because things are different now and e-commerce is taking over fast. Those businessmen have already set up functioning e-commerce websites which are bringing them business too.
On the other hand, e-commerce websites such as Amazon, ebay and many others have begun gaining attention and customers since the beginning of the millennium and they have grown ever since without looking back. Amazon has grown so big that its market value will soon surpass Wal-Mart and e-bay is also on its way towards giving a hard time to Wal-Mart as well as its rival Amazon.
Many businesses now-a-days start off online either as a Facebook page or a website offering where they offer their services and products. They move to a brick-and-wall store only after getting some exposure and popularity among customers. So, why is it happening anyway? Why online shopping is growing so fast and why people prefer it more than anything else? One of the many obvious reasons is “convenience”. Not everyone enjoys the shopping experience while roaming about in different malls looking for their favourite products and brands. It is tiring and exhausting as well which is not the case with online shopping. Most of the e-commerce websites come with the convenience of choosing among various brands and their products under one roof. What can be handier than choosing the products you like with a few clicks of the mouse and having it delivered to your doorstep with easy payment options?
What makes online businesses so successful is that they have the ability to track the kind of traffic they get on their websites. They have access to the basic information about their audiences such as where they are located, how do they reach your website, which pages on your website are most searched and visited by people. With such data obtained from customer tracking, companies can work on their marketing policies and change them accordingly for improvement. This can be a bit harder for companies who do not have an online presence and rely on the sales and customers from their physical stores only. Conventional marketing requires more investment of time, money and resources as compared to online marketing and may not always be as fruitful.
While it may be difficult to say where online shopping and physical stores will be in a few years from now but it is safe to say that online shopping is definitely the next big thing and is here to stay, most probably forever.Is Online Shopping the Future of Retail? by Fizzah Iqbal