Shopping has never been easier. The current technology has enabled us to remain in the comfort of our couches and order from a vast sea of online stores selling every imaginable consumer item you could think of. You can now get your clothes, fashion accessories, shoes, eyeglasses from various online shops. Will there comes a day when online stores will replace the physical shops?
You don’t have to worry about getting ready, driving down to the mall, looking for a parking spot, and walking from shop to shop looking for a dress. E-commerce has brought the world to your fingertips in the form of online shopping.
The current COVID-19 scenario has boosted online shopping even more. There has been a decline in physical shopping as people prefer to stay indoors as much as possible. But will it lead to the complete elimination of the physical shops? This is a question many wonders. This article discusses various aspects to try and find the answer.
What is the Current Situation?
Innovation and evolution in the field of online shopping are paving the way for replacing physical shops. One example is Amazon, which is the leading company in online shopping. The world is constantly being more digitized.
Look at the video shops, which have slowly become extinct with the advent and popularity of video streaming platforms such as Youtube and Netflix. People opt for more convenient and cheaper options readily available online.
Another industry that has been affected immensely due to the rise in online digitization is entertainment. Especially gaming shops are struggling for survival as people can play the same games in the comfort of their homes.
Is Online Shopping Proving to be Beneficial?
Online shopping has proved beneficial for two parties, both at the end of the supply chain; the producer and the consumer. It eliminates the role of go-betweens and brings the product to the final consumer’s doorstep. This way, the customer gets the product at cheaper rates.
However, the wholesaler and the retailers’ sectors will heavily pay if they do not adapt to the evolutionary changes. They will be left far behind. Shops could stay in the game by creating their presence online and physical shops or opt for a complete shift. This way, they would not lose their customers who have also shifted to the online platforms and decrease their physical shop expenses.
From the customer’s perspective, online shopping has made available many varieties with various characteristics and prices. While shopping digitally, they aren’t confined to the walls of the physical shop but have the whole market in the palm of their hands. They could quickly get notified regarding competitive prices in the market and opt for a cheaper version of their product.
Moreover, producers and suppliers are finding new ways of acquiring their online customers by offering various services. The best example is the services given by online eyeglasses stores. Companies like Warby Parker, ZenniOptical, EyeBuyDirect, and Overnight Glasses are offering services like same day eyeglasses delivery, easy eyeglass lens replacement, virtual eyeglass trial, etc.
Will Physical Shops be eradicated?
The possibility of total elimination of physical shops seems unlikely, no matter how popular the online shopping experience. There will always be some high street shops remaining in physical form. Shops like bookstores and coffee cafes will always be needed.
But as everything is available online, there are technically zero requirements for the existence of physical shops. However, people still need to leave home to go to work, and they will need some attractions on their way. This makes the complete elimination of physical shops impossible. Still, it seems complicated how these shops will struggle to survive with so much competition in the form of online shops, which are more convenient and less expensive to maintain.
Can Physical Shops Survive the E-Commerce Boom?
Although online shops are making it difficult for physical shops to survive, they cannot eradicate them from existence. E-commerce is aiding small businesses by offering them access to a larger market. In Contrast, the physical stores still have a personalized touch. In this individual contact, the customers get satisfied by interacting with the salesperson and seeing and touching the product for themselves before buying.
The physical store is still considered a presence in the real world by many people. The physical shopping experience is also something people want to undergo now and then, even if the same products are available at their fingertips at cheaper rates. Physical shopping is looking for essentials and entertainment and quality human interaction that online shopping cannot offer.
Increasing E-Commerce Opportunities
The share of the online sale in the total retail sales has steadily been on the rise—with e-commerce penetration reaching 21.3% in the year 2020. It shows a drastic increase from 15.8% in 2019 and 14.3% in 2018.
Even though the differences between physical and online shops exist, most growth and expansion are brewing in the online shopping industry. The visible success of many online retail shops has made it clear that the digital marketplace, which continuously evolves and innovates, cannot be competed with as shoppers can switch stores by merely tapping the screen with their fingertips. Retailers must strive to provide quality goods and services, either online or onsite, to make customers want to return again and again, and this is their actual success.