Online sales are on the rise and not slowing down. Through what’s come to be known as Ecommerce 2.0, these days you can buy anything and everything online. Often times, that is where you will find the best deal too. And as if that is not enough, the purchases get delivered directly to your door step.
At the dawn of the internet, businesses quickly learned that having an online presence was essential for finding new customers and informing people of their offered services. Now, however, sales through their websites are becoming an equal-part necessity.
Is this trend hurting brick and mortar store sales? A little. Will it put them out of business anytime soon? Not at all. Shops are now being forced to engage in e-commerce in order to keep current, and many are finding this new channel to be an excellent new source for both sales and exposure.
This movement right now is working out best for smaller specialized retailers. From computers to contact lens solution to camping sites, all are now available literally at your fingertips. A customer in Sweden can now buy that leather bag that they first saw while vacation-browsing on Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice Beach.
On the other hand, there are some online retail giants that are moving just slightly in the reverse direction, incorporating a brick and mortar presence into their business. Websites like Amazon are now including locker drop-offs as an added service whereby customers can pick up their purchases at a physical location near their work or home in exchange for discounted shipping costs. And online eye wear behemoth Warby Parker recently opened 4 stores and 12 “store in stores” where customers can take on-site eye exams as well. Warby is finding this omni-channel presence is creating better customers with a higher lifetime value.
While the e-commerce channel continues to grow at a rate five times faster than retail overall,online U.S. transactions are only about 5 percent of all retail sales.There are still too many customers who just need to touch and feel a product, see it in person, or simply try it on before they are comfortable making a purchase. For those reasons alone, traditional in-person retail is not dead and will not be for awhile.
Perhaps the future will be showrooms in place of stores, where people can browse and shop but walk out with nothing after purchase, and instead it will be shipped to them? Who knows for sure, but it is clear that this movement online will not be slowing down anytime soon.