The Online Consumer is the Winner

Over 95% of British people buy goods via Internet retailers and just five years ago it was estimated that over £91 billion was spent online yearly, with this year, 2017 expected to surpass £135 billion.

It’s also believed that at least one in four people in the UK shop online at least once a week, which isn’t surprising to anyone in the fast moving, very competitive, e-commerce industry.

Enthusiasm for digital shopping which increases virtually daily, is mainly accredited to people being able to shop on their morning commute, shop while lying in bed or shop while at work. It is also due to huge rise in celebrities and people with influence showing their online shopping habits and purchases they’ve made leading to fans and followers searching out the same items/products online and purchasing them from themselves.

Considering that the early days of online shopping were very basic and the experience wasn’t always an easy one, with most people having slow internet access which meant the images would load frustratingly slowly and payment options were severely limited. It could be considered a small feat of wonder how far online shopping has come since the first item was bought on August 11, 1994*.

Now with online shopping being a much easier, dedicated and consumer-enjoyment focused experience, the industry is vibrant and alive. Leading to purchases which range from online books, clothes, accessories, music, electronics, holidays and even some stranger offerings such as:

  • Life-size statues of Arnold Schwarzenegger (Other actors are available!)
  • The service of someone to stand in line for you
  • Human-sized hamster wheel
  • Hands-free coffee mugs
  • “Calm-down” body wash

With smartphones, laptops, desktops and of course tablets all on the rise, retailers are constantly innovating and bringing in new apps and new payment methods to try and grab their share of this rapidly expanding market.

Many are working in e-commerce and have embraced trends as they arise, such as social media platforms where the key to success lies in a couple of things; pushing a few high-impact items which can be marketed out by celebrity endorsement, introducing digital loyalty schemes, streamlining the consumers journey and maybe even some well-placed ads on the most popular social media sites.

Does this mean the end of the high Street? For many companies it did for a while, however some retailers have realised that the trend of online shopping can be embraced and have even directly adjusted their traditional outlets by opening coffee shops within their businesses. This means customers can sit and relax while searching for information on goods within their retail establishment. Some have even installed iPads/tablets within the business so customers can search for their own products, order them and conveniently pick them up while in store.

Overall, the winner is the online consumer, now more than ever.

* The Sting album “10 Summoner’s Tales” costing just £7.74.

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