For decades, the rudiments of retail remained the same. In order to purchase something, you had to go to a store and get it. There were no other prominent means to shop. Consumers would flock to stores in order to take advantage of coupon sales and get their favorite brands influenced by television, radio, and mailers. Today, the evolution of the internet has changed the way people shop and interact with brands and businesses. The popularity of online shopping is growing at a rapid pace and there is no sign of a downturn in this trend as more and more consumers flock to websites for the ease and comfort of:
- Shopping from home
- The ability to purchase at their finger tips
- Greater sale incentives
- Quick and cost effective shipping
- Avoiding the hassles associated with travel, parking, checkout lines, crowds, and other factors associated with in-store purchases.
- Using accounts or loyalty programs to make purchases. And,
- Brand and retailer cost comparisons.
Although these are not all of the reasons; they are prominent drivers adding to the popularity of online shopping and as technology advances the rate of users will surely increase. With that said, here are 5 reasons to believe e-commerce is getting bigger.
Grocery Services Are Growing More Popular
According to the Business Insider, the food and beverage sector is the largest retail category in the US averaging approximately $600 billion annually. Intererstingly, this sector is also the least penetrated by e-commerce with no more than 1% of the sales taking place online. However, Business Insider speaks of how e-commerce giants to the likes of Amazon, Fresh Direct, and EBay are advancing in this sector and online grocery sales are estimated to hike at a yearly compound rate of 21% to reach approximately $18 billion by 2018.
Granted there are concerns glaring concerns for grocery sales within the e-commerce marketplace such as maintaining freshness of orders or shelf-to-consumer delivery times. However, advancements in technology are playing a vital role in consumer adaptation with the biggest being same-day delivery. Regardless of these advancements there are an estimated 15% of adults that have procured food items online with 25% buying high-demand food and beverage items in the United States alone.
Facebook is Introducing a “Buy” Button
LearnBonds.com, a financial news website, released a report citing Facebook is testing a buy button feature that it will soon unveil to all its users for specific product and service pages. This feature will allow users to purchase products directly on the social media site. According to investors, this new e-commerce initiative by Facebook will help to increase revenue and expanding the market reach of their advertisers, in-turn opening a new segment of promotion capabilities that are tailored to more of a direct response approach.
This new feature will make it easier for consumers to identify verified sellers and make it essentially effortless to purchase from them. Considering the massive amount of daily Facebook users, the buy button option should certainly play a major role in the advancement of e-commerce through social media.
Mobile Commerce is Taking on a Life of its Own
Mobile commerce involves the use of tablets or smartphones to make purchases as opposed to a traditional computer. Applications are becoming more interactive and a very popular way to purchase your favorite product in a safe and secure manner. A great example is Apple Pay, which offers consumers a safe way to make payments through their smart device. This application uses technology that requires a biometric fingerprint scan to validate transactions and uses tokenization to protect payments. As popularity in this application grows, credit card terminals used to swipe cards in retail locations will be replaced with terminals that both swipe cards and recognize applications such as Apple Pay. This means that Apple Pay users will be able to make purchases inside retail locations across the United States using their mobile devices.
E-Commerce Software Advancements and Integration
With the rapid growth of online buying, many enterprise and procurement software vendors including credit card processors are developing versatile software that can be used in making purchases on smartphones, tablets, computers, and within retail establishments enabling consumers to buy goods anywhere at any time with merchants being able to track sales, inventory, and other important aspects of their business with real time reporting. These payment processing platforms are being developed to easily integrate with a wide variety of shopping carts, gateways, POS systems, and CRM software’s making it easier to operate and manage the business.
Increase in Holiday E-Commerce Sales
According to research and digital marketing firm e-marketer, U.S e-commerce generated $61.8 billion in sales between November and December of 2013. This was approximately 23.5 percent of the entire U.S e-commerce sales. A 15.1 percent growth compared to 2012. This year the National Retail Federation expects online sales to increase by 3.7 percent between November and December to generate $630 billion. This trend demonstrates that e-commerce is increasingly becoming a preferred option in order to avoid the chaos that is black Friday, overly-crowded shopping malls, and stress associated with the mad dash to pluck most wanted products from store shelves while fighting off the next consumer for that product. In most cases, retail locations simply cannot compete with the advantages e-commerce brings to consumers year round, but particularly during the holiday season.
What does this all mean?
As you can see from the few aforementioned signs, e-commerce is becoming the way of the future or maybe the future is already here. In any case, technology that makes life perceivably easier for consumers to buy and merchants to sell will win the market share. Retailers that find new and innovative ways to combine the ease of online shopping with the experience of the retail store environment are best positioned for growth through consumer acquisition and loyalty.
For more information on merchant services for e-commerce businesses visit our website or contact Painless Processing.