Ecommerce Versus Retail: How do you Shop?
We all know that shopping online has become the go-to way to buy what we want. It’s easy to tap a few buttons on our smartphone or ask Alexa to add things to our shopping trolley.
But how is the high street faring? Is there still a need to head into the stores anymore? With ecommerce becoming increasingly easy for businesses to set up, it seems that retail could continue to take a hit. Here’s a look at how we’re buying things now.
The Rise of Online
To understand how we’ve reached this point, it’s worth noting how far we’ve come over the years and looking at how rapidly things have changed. Although we’ve been shopping online for a while, with Amazon and eBay making waves all the way back to 1995, we only saw the first online-only shop launched in the late 1990s.
By 2015, the ecommerce market in the UK was the third-largest in the world. This is possibly because of changes to delivery services in 2006, when postal delivery companies like TNT gained new freedoms and the postal service was deregulated.
These changes to delivery go hand-in-hand with the rise of the smartphone, when both Apple and Android became widely available. The combination of these devices and new ways to receive our purchases has meant that more of us are able to buy what we want and have it in our hands within 24 hours.
What About the High Street?
While online shopping has made things easier in many ways and although there has been a sharp downturn in the number of us heading to the high street to spend our money, there is still an appetite for shopping in-store. One of the biggest wins for retail has been seen in museum and gallery shops, with visitors often heading to the shop first before taking a trip around the gallery. This implies that we’re more likely to spend money on days out than clothing.
However, overall it’s looking like ecommerce is leading the way for shoppers. When we compare the closure of Marks & Spencer and House of Fraser stores with the advantages of being able to order a few items online, it makes sense that we’re mostly heading to virtual checkouts rather than real ones.
For brands to be successful, it seems that there has to be the understanding that online shopping and physical shopping will always be linked. In many ways, one will always help the other.