Shopping online. An increasing phenomenon for bargain hunters, shopaholics and well.. just about everyone else.
Last year in December, online shopping in the UK was worth over £117 billion, which is guaranteed to rise, even more, each year from now.
Us Brits love a good shop – and before you say “not the middle-aged man” – when it comes down to shopping for their most favourite things, like football league tickets or a crate of real ale coming from right up north, online shopping is a godsend and somewhat ludicrously straightforward.
It wasn’t always though, but with thanks to the rise of auctioning platforms such as eBay, founded in 1995, ordering and owning something that otherwise would’ve taken weeks to receive, should now take only 2-3 working days.
It’s not just eBay though, there’s one company that has been consistent in all areas since 1994, and is now one of the biggest, if not the biggest, online retailer in the world – Amazon. Unlike eBay, the company didn’t just stop at products and goods from one wholesaler to another, they have their fingers in a lot of businessy pies, working with music, TV, movies, books and much much more.
One of their biggest success stories is the Amazon Kindle. With the trend of reading stories, news and other books at an all-time low due to mobile phones and social media, Amazon came up with a sun-deflecting tablet-like screen so bookworms all around the world can indulge in any novel, right at their fingertips at the click of a button, in any weather condition… and when you put it like that, it sounds pretty revolutionary.
And, if you still don’t believe me, I’ll list the top 5 reasons why you should (as a customer or business owner!) consider online shopping yourself.
1. Plastic bags are so last year. Have you not heard? Plastic shopping bags are bad for our ocean. So why go out into town and use them, so that they can collect up in your home until you finally decide to bin them. Just shop online and get whatever you need to be delivered, delivered! Right to your door in neat, recyclable materials!
2. Buying online saves you money. Ways to save when you shop online are vast! Online stores are almost constantly offering some kind of promo or discount, such as free delivery over a certain amount, or a percentage off. And, even if you cant find a promo, you’re saving money on petrol and/or bus fare (and the McDonalds you always end up eating because shopping takes ages).
3. There are no closing times. This one is just a winner for me. There have been countless times where I have seen people have actual cat fights over their position in the queue at Christmas because the employee of Clintons Cards said the doors are closing in 5 minutes and if you’re not out you’re locked in for the night. ok. Not countless, but you know where I’m going. ASOS Online never closes its doors… I don’t think they have any!
4. Sending to family and friends has never been so easy. Online shopping allows you to send gifts to whomever you want! A relatives birthday who lives a few hours away? no problem, just change the delivery address and away you go.
5. It’s inevitable and ever-changing. If you’re slightly old-fashioned – we’re sorry, but technology and delivery times nowadays are just too good. Marketplaces are pushing the boundaries all the time and the convenience of it all is overwhelming – and a lot of fun.
An important thing to remember
Although online shopping is brilliantly popular in the UK, it’s also a little sad how much of an impact it’s having on our lovely little bakeries and butchers.
Whether you’re shopping around the busy streets in some of the countries most populated cities, or you’re just wandering through your local town market: there’s one thing that has significantly changed. The number of people going out shopping.
In towns and villages, the market down the road was what kept the local people as a community, but now, with the unstoppable growing online market, some independent businesses struggle to compete with the huge online sales – as we’ve seen in recent statistics for local independent businesses’ success rate crash within the first 5 years.
It’s not just smaller companies though. Debenhams, the successful UK physical retailer, saw drops in their profits. And after research, it has shown that their customers sometimes prefer to shop online, therefore, their ‘shop online’ alternative was born and sales have since risen.
As a small business its all about adapting to what is changing around you. If you’re not a very tech-savvy business owner, it might be time to try social media and get to grips with your computer, because the internet and the pros of using it within a small business are endless and online shopping is no doubt, on the rise!