“Add to (Virtual) Shopping Cart!”

online-shopping-cartoon

(Source: here)

Online shopping has definitely advanced and changed many retail practices. It is currently the norm and it has given companies a chance to really strategize and take advantage of how to meet customer demands and cater to their busy lifestyles. Online shopping is beneficial for both consumers and the company. In Australia, online shopping is growing 10 times faster than regular retail stores amounting to over $10 billion in the previous year, with the most spent on auction sites, department stores, fashion, cosmetics and variety stores (Collier, 2012).

This article shows an “infographic” of the current trends of online marketing, which I will also outline below:

  • 66% of consumers refer web retailers
  • 73% of the survey participants complete nearly half of their shopping online
  • 50% of U.S. smartphone owners are using shopping apps each month
  • 4 out of 5 people shop for broader selection
  • 7 out of 10  shop for better sales and promotions
  • 2 out of 3 shop online because it is cheaper

After examining customer wants and what could make shopping easier through a tough economy, companies need to strategize to accomodate these needs. There are many benefits to both the consumer and the company to participate in online shopping.

Benefits to the consumer

  • Shopping is more convenient; it can be done on the computer, on a smartphone or on a tablet
  • Saves time and consumers can shop 24/7 since the web doesn’t close
  • Consumers do not have to deal with big crowds at malls or department stores
  • Although some companies do not cover shipping costs and may take longer due to shipping, consumers will be able to save a big percentage from the mark up of shopping at retail stores

Along with benefits, there may also be some minor disadvantages that companies have definitely tried to address. Some of these issues are not being able to try on merchandise and footwear and the issue of the time it will take to arrive at their doorstep. To address these concerns, companies are trying their best to put all the information and photographs of the particular item with sizing charts that relate to all aspects of an individual’s body (to portray a certain fit). Consumers also now have the option of choosing how fast they want shipping to take.

Benefits to the company

  • Lower overhead costs due to little or no physical store fronts and minimal employees
  • “62% of people rarely return items bought online” (Pan, 2012)
  • Able to get faster feedback and comments
  • Able to utilize social media and “67% said they respond quicker on social media” (Pan, 2012).
  • “41% prefer to provide feed through email and 27% through live chats” (Pan, 2012) which are available on most online retailers

The main challenges for companies are that the majority of the aspects of online shopping are virtual. Relationships will be built online and is challenging to maintain, and that customers want to see and try the products physically before buying them. I found a great article on Augmented Reality (AR) that companies want to implement in the future. I think it is really cool and it definitely proves that technology and the digital web just continues to advance.

Lastly, here is another great article on men embracing the concept of online shopping! It is not just women.

References

Arthur, Lisa. (2012). What does dad want for father’s day? To shop online. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/lisaarthur/2012/06/14/what-does-dad-want-for-fathers-day-to-shop-online/

Collier, Karen. (2012). Online shoppers spent more than $10 billion last year. Retrieved December 12, 2102, from http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/online-shoppers-spent-more-than-10-billion-last-year/story-fn7x8me2-1226282687537

Pan, Joann. (2012). 45% of shoppers buy items online they wouldn’t in person. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://mashable.com/2012/08/25/online-shopping-trends/

Pan, Joann. (2012). How Augmented Reality is shaping the future of retail. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://mashable.com/2012/06/20/augmented-reality-retail/

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