The way we shop is changing. Fast. In fact, stats show that consumer habits are going through a revolution. In 2018, online sales tallied $2.8 trillion. That figure’s projected to hit $4.8 trillion in 2021 according to eMarketer.
Exponentially, people are opting to shop online.
It just makes sense. E-commerce makes shopping easier, cheaper, and quicker. The days of long queues at the mall during holiday season are gone. And good riddance.
Pre-pandemic, a clear trend emerged. Consumers were shifting to buying online instead of in-store, though this was mainly younger shoppers.
Then COVID happened.
Overnight, with stores shut down and malls out of the picture, buying online became the only available option. No surprise then when online sales skyrocketed by 39% in the first months of 2020 (Source: Digital Commerce 360). Everyone – even your grandma – was figuring it out.
And this forced brands to innovate. In order to weather the pandemic, many set up online stores and embraced direct-to-consumer shopping. Those not agile enough simply didn’t make it.
Now a year later, as things get back to normal, many aren’t going back. Online shopping has proved its worth to both seller and buyer, and is becoming more popular than ever.
In-store, you’re at the mercy of the retailer’s choices. Let’s say you’re jean shopping. The retailer might stock 10 or so different styles for you to choose from. None are not quite right. You end up settling for a pair you’ll probably wear once or twice.
But online, you can scour markets to track down that perfect pair of slim-leg, mid-rise, dark-wash jeans – in your size.
Simply put, online stores give you an abundance of choice so you can find exactly what you’re looking for.
It also makes it much easer to compare similar products across different stores. So when you finally do click ‘Buy’, you know you’ve clinched the best deal out there.
It can also make you a smarter shopper. In the comfort of your own home – maybe in PJs, sipping some tea? – you’re more likely to make a cool-headed, considered purchase than you would in the floodlights of a shopping mall. (Provided that’s tea you’re drinking, not wine).
And reviews are a game-changer too, helping you make informed decisions before buying that faulty toaster you’ll regret. Reviews keep brands accountable to the promises they make about their product, again putting power back into the hands of the consumer.
You and your favourite brand are getting closer. Direct-to-consumer shopping takes out the middle-man, letting brands connect with you in a more personal way.
It seems counter-intuitive. Surely, mouse clicks and iPhone screens are more impersonal than being in-store, chatting with the shop assistant and feeling the texture of the jacket you’re buying?
But not necessarily. In just the last year, brands have pounced on innovative ways to make shopping online more bespoke.
There are tons of examples out there. On many sites, you’ve probably seen live chat bots pop up to give you real-time customer assistance.
Other brands are making shopping more customizable. Nutella lets you pick a personalized label for your order. MatchCo scans your skin tone to find the perfect shade for your foundation. And Nike’s App customizes your shoes and tracks their wear-and-tear so you know when to cough up for a new pair.
Online shopping also means your money goes straight to who you want it to. You can support your local brand by buying directly from their online store (rather than a big retailer).
Shopping is changing radically – for the better. Buyers and sellers have seen the perks of online stores first-hand, and they’re embracing a new model where customers have more control over what they buy, and brands are more attentive to the needs of individual shoppers. As the industry grows rapidly, stores are coming up with innovative ways to make the shopping experience even better.
There are draw-backs, of course.
Having infinite choices at our fingertips can be overwhelming. How do you pick the gift for someone when you could buy literally anything?
That’s where No Bad Surprises has you covered.
We make it easy for you to find and buy the perfect gift that your loved one actually wants. Learn more about how to be a better gift giver today.