Few industries have undergone such significant change in recent years than retail. The rise of ecommerce has transformed the way in which people shop, plus the Coronavirus pandemic has only further cemented this as the consumer’s top choice and it is hard to see things changing even once things return to normal. Additionally, more and more people are now using their smartphones to shop as opposed to laptops and desktops which is an interesting development.
The Growth of Online Shopping
It is estimated that ecommerce will reach a staggering $845 billion in the US by 2022 and as much as 50% of sales will be through mobile commerce. These numbers are reflected in the UK with parcel delivery comparison website Parcel2Go reporting that mobile spending is predicted to be worth over £53 billion by 2024. The marketing manager from Parcel2Go, Robert Mead, explained why more and more people are shopping online:
“Options such as next-day delivery, cheaper shipping prices and convenient parcel collection have made it much more accessible for consumers to buy products online. Due to the hectic schedules that we now lead, it is more convenient to order a product online and get it delivered straight to your door than to physically purchase the same product from the shop”.
Additionally, people are glued to their smartphones these days and it is incredibly easy to shop online on a phone whether you are relaxing on the sofa, on the way to work or even in bed which has resulted in people shopping less on a desktop or laptop. Because mobiles phones are so portable, it has become easy for brands to connect with their customers at all times and anywhere in the world. Location tracking on mobile phones has also allowed personalized targeted advertisements and discount distribution to people according to where they’re from or visit, their interests and age group.
Security has also significantly improved in the recent years with fingerprint authentication, face ID or retina scans, offering a feeling of security to customers.
The High Street
Of course, this poses a big challenge for traditional retailers especially due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Consumers will understandably be cautious about visiting shops while there is still a threat of the virus, plus the economic impact might mean that people are spending much less in the near future.
While it is a worrying time for retailers, there is a glimmer of hope and some believe that the high street will make a comeback. This is because you cannot replicate the same shopping experience online and people enjoy the social aspect, so when things start to return to normal you might see that people want to leave their homes and visit shops. Of course, shops will need to adapt and entice customers through things like new technology and community events in order to succeed.
Mobile commerce has exploded in popularity in recent times and this has only increased due to the pandemic. It is easy to see this continuing in the near and long-term, but there is still some hope for more traditional retailers when life starts to return to normal.