E-commerce began not long after the birth of the Internet, with some business to business websites set up in the early 1980’s, and has grown steadily since then, with giants like Amazon and eBay who retail just about everything on their websites. While buying goods online is becoming more and more popular, there are social implications, as the retail trade undergoes an upheaval.
High cost of retail set up
If you wanted to set up a retail business a few decades ago, you would need a considerable capital investment. A retail outlet would be required, and this would have to be in the right location, which would likely command premium rentals. Then you need to buy all your stock, and employ sales staff to sell it, and that’s before you have even thought about advertising. This limited the number of people who could enter the retail arena, and when e-commerce arrived, it changed everything.
E-commerce uses a virtual store, and with the right software, customers can simply add items to the shopping cart, and then pay the total price at the checkout, which would include postage, packing and any taxes. Modern solutions enable the entrepreneur to sell their products online, without having a large capital outlay, in fact many successful online stores began in someone’s garage. Magento developers can customise a website to provide the optimum buying experience for the consumer, and with web hosting and website design, there is a full web management service under one roof.
High street retailers
There are a number of theories as to what will happen to the traditional retail trade, certainly they will not be able to compete with an online store, as the overheads are too high. There will always be those who prefer the traditional type of shopping, where they can physically inspect the product before purchase, the question is, will the numbers be sufficient to allow these high street stores to operate?
Making the transition
Some retailing giants have already begun to phase out their bricks and mortar stores, and are turning to warehouse space, as they too enter the virtual world of e-commerce. This will mean that certain industries, such as food and beverage, will occupy more prime retail space, as people will always want to eat while they are out and about.
A logistics boom
All the items that are purchased online have to be delivered to the customer, and logistic companies are springing up to provide that essential service, and with large networks of carriers, they can deliver to anywhere in the world. Large online sellers will have their own transportation systems in place, and with quick delivery essential, faster solutions are evolving.
The retail trade isn’t dying, but it is going through a big transition, and some businesses will not make the grade, while others will excel, and move into the world of e-commerce. The implications for society are mainly positive, especially for the consumer, who has more options than ever before, and with so many companies vying for their business, prices will remain competitive.