In this digital age, consumers are more aware than they have ever been before. They have access to data on their fingertips to make decisions while making purchases.
Seeing how the online shopping experience has evolved considerably in recent years, it is not difficult to see why people are ditching the retail experience altogether. Now, they make any and all purchases online. In case you are wondering, here are 8 ways online shopping has evolved to such an extent, it is unrecognizable from how it initially started.
1. Online Shopping is now Consumer Driven
Consumers can make or break a product or service. Seeing how online shopping is common, consumers have all the information they need to determine whether a product or service is great or not. Previously, they did not have access to a lot of information, but now they can check out reviews from reliable sites to find out what type of product they will purchase.
Online shopping gave consumers the voice they needed, which should explain why reviews are trusted even more than personal recommendations. To put things into perspective, a staggering 92% of people trust online reviews just as much as suggestions from their friends or family, if not more.
2. 24/7 Availability
There was a time when Christmas and Thanksgiving meant no retails stores would be open, but now things have changed.
Online shopping is not bound by holidays — it is available 24/7. This is a great thing for consumers who want to get a product or service at any time of the day, while online stores generate greater sales and profit.
3. Personalized Shopping
Selling a product or service is just not going to cut it anymore. Excessive competition, increasing store bankruptcies and closures have laid great emphasis on a personalized online experience. With this approach, consumers are given better service and a greater emphasis on branding.
When people shop from an online boutique, their focus should be on delivering the best possible personalized experience, which is if they want to stick around.
4. AI and Voice Search
The increase in use of AI and voice search has lead to the creation of tools for customer personalization, predictive learning, fraud protection, and so on. These technologies have made a tremendous impact on online shopping, so much so, voice assistant devices like Google Home, Cortana, Siri, and Amazon Echo have revolutionized how consumers discover, search and shop online. It is estimated that by 2020, 50% of searches will be made via voice commands or images, according to the KPCB Internet Trends Report.
Chatbots and AI applications will only get more sophisticated in the coming years, which will, in turn, change the way digital marketers work. Chances are, marketers will focus heavily on semantic SEO to stay ahead of the curve in the age of personalized online shopping.
5. Middlemen have been Removed from the Equation
Online shopping has made it simple and easy for businesses to sell directly to their target audience. Never again will they have to deal with middlemen, as they have been removed entirely from the equation. This way, businesses are able to offer their products or services at a reasonable price, which will attract a lot more consumers, thus leading to an increase in sales and profit.
6. Size Matters Not
In the wise words of Master Yoda, “Size Matters Not”, and it doesn’t for businesses that operate online.
Think of it this way; if your business has a team consisting of 300 employees, your consumers will never know about them. This means consumers will not care what business they are dealing with, as long as it is reliable and fits their budget. Because of this, small business owners can compete with giants in the industry, and they will get the same conversions and visibility without being restricted in any way.
7. Online Collaborations
Small businesses specializing in a specific niche had to make do with smaller profit margins, but not anymore. They now have the option to collaborate with renowned online companies for higher returns. With these online collaborations, they have a platform by which they can reach their target audience easily, and earn a great profit too.
8. Established Business Ideas can be Adopted
Nowadays, it is easier to find what works and what doesn’t by evaluating successful companies. This gives small businesses all the information they need to follow an established path without having to reinvent the wheel. They no longer have to take the trial-and-error route, which would not only be expensive but time-consuming as well.
The internet as made shopping easy and convenient for many people — especially for those who dislike going to the store and malls. The competition is high as more and more people who want to do business, are doing it online. Several online boutiques have a variety of clothes to choose from and are running successfully!