E-commerce is changing how we do retail
Over the years, technological advancements have changed how most things are being done. This article focuses on the impact these advancements have had on the retail industry
The introduction of point-of-sale applications, bar codes, and huge storage capacity has enabled operations to be recorded in a structured and systematic manner. The introduction of electronic transactions, flexibility in the mode of payment, and cashless transactions have helped in driving sales. Communication systems have allowed retailers to maintain a competitive way of attracting and retaining customers. Security systems have allowed both retailers and consumers to enjoy a safer shopping experience.
Another impact of technology so far has been the advancement of business optimization software, mobile computing, and the B2C concept. These have allowed retailers to cut costs and increase efficiency.
The introduction of E-commerce however has been the biggest game-changer in retailing. With only a global market share of 10%, it has become a big threat to traditional retailing. The two rivals both have their advantages; E-commerce holds the ‘5Cs’ which are cost, convenience, choice, control, and customer relationships. On the other hand, traditional retail holds the advantage of the human factor, physical experience of the product, and immediacy of delivery.
However, with the continued growth of technology, E-commerce is expected to overstep these advantages of traditional retail. The progressive match of technology is going to tip the balance in favor of the online shopping experience. The development of artificial intelligence means that online shopbots might replicate the human retail experience, outdoing the direct human factor in traditional retail. The Internet of things is going to put basic items like groceries and household goods on automatic replenishment, with the help of virtual assistants, offering consumers the advantage of hassle-free shopping decisions. The growing power of Big Data will enable programmers to analyze and predict customer needs and preferences for a personalized shopping experience.
Technological progress is well on its way, and it’s going to erase the few remaining advantages that traditional retail still holds. To survive, store retailers need to change how they operate, by incorporating technological advancements into their system.