The way we shop changes rapidly from year to year. This is due to the various technological improvements that are introduced to the market so often. From laptops, to tablets, to smart phones, and reliable networks it is extremely convenient to switch from the traditional brick and mortar stores to online shopping which has increased tremendously in the past few years. Consumers in Canada, for example, spent $15B online last year alone. Social media provides just the right push to turn users in the direction of shopping at the click of a button. Customized advertisement on Facebook based on user preferences listed in their profiles and opinions expressed on Twitter open the door for users to explore different shopping websites and possibly find items that they would not be able to find in stores otherwise. Furthermore, the internet provides a wider variety of products and comparing prices is much easier because when online, a customer can be searching multiple websites simultaneously.
Shopping online has its disadvantages however. Customers cannot touch the item to test the material or strength. For example, color might seem different or material might differ in appearance. These are some of the reasons that have pushed companies into providing free shipping and making item returns and exchanges easy. The one thing that e-commerce cannot substitute, however, is the social aspect of shopping. This is why about 25% of online shoppers in Canada would still rather go to the store. Nonetheless, with the expansion of online shopping, technology will find a way to make it more interactive and completely transform shopping habits.
In consumer driven markets, businesses have to quickly adapt to customer demands if they want to survive. However, e-commerce is very beneficial to profit-seekers as well as it allows them to reach out to more consumers and the sale is guaranteed before the product is shipped out. Moreover, it allows them to avoid the high costs of renting retail space which makes it possible to focus funds on creating a more competitive product. International and cross border e-commerce are growing as well since this method of doing business is gaining popularity all over the world.
For example, according to a BBC video, India is well on the road towards becoming one of the world's top places for e-commerce. Young professionals share that they have noticed that the online marketplace in India is growing rapidly and they want to take advantage of it. In such a large country, the internet allows businesses to reach people in smaller cities not just the metropolitan areas where they would be focused on selling otherwise. Problems with developing markets such as India is that there is poor infrastructure which makes deliveries to remote locations difficult. Furthermore, credit cards are not as widely used as in western countries and the fear of buying products online is greater.
The advantages of e-commerce are attracting more and more businesses to enter the market, and the disadvantages are simply making them think more creatively to meet consumer demand. The end result - businesses profit and customers are satisfied. But, what happens to human interaction?