THE IMPACT OF INTERNET ON RETAIL BUSINESS
It is a known fact that there is an impact of the Internet in the world. Society is changing every day and with it, the information and communication have no limits, even if it a simple email to free calls, or important matters such as education, entertainment, culture, human relations, and of course, economy and business. But when you put this statement from a consumer market perspective, is it positive or negative?
The Internet has become the gateway for a huge offer of possibilities for consumers and for businesses. There are unlimited offers and it is actually a day-to-day growing universe. The growth and expansion that Internet has played has been faster than any other communication tool and is an excellent channel to disseminate products and services of a company. An organization, that is not willing to adapt to the changes of the market and technological trends, is exposed to disappear.
The Internet is not a tool that retailers can ignore, but is it an enemy or an ally?
A good example is books, but this depends on the market. Most people now purchase books on Amazon or any other websites; those have a great customer experience the purchase here is not directly related to the product but the experience itself. If you already know which book are you looking for, you just order it online, and in around 3 days they delivery it to your house. It seems to be a good strategy, but if you take a wider look, we know that there is another Internet based source now, e-books. You can carry 500 books in a small device in you purse instead of one heavy book in your bag. This represents a huge impact to the editorial business on the physical sales.
New business opportunities are in the scene, as the cost to entry to the market via the Internet is cheaper than opening a store. Creativity is an important tool now, to develop a differentiated online strategy, as the online market is nowadays more competitive.
Internet is making the world smaller. Now customers don’t have to travel around the world to get exclusive products. For example, years ago, a lot of people in many cities believed that New York City, Paris or Milan were the places to go for exclusive shopping, but now, all around the world you are able to purchase everything. And in case you are not, you can do online shopping.
Internet is also an immediate and faster way of communicating with customers. Even small suppliers in far locations such as Asia or Middle East it is easier to have 24 hours contact, the distance is not a problem anymore, and it becomes a great opportunity to open new business distribution channels. Orders can be placed anytime during the year. Websites are used not only as a catalogue or showroom, also retailers have to focus as a channel to communicate with customers for questions, pre and post sales support specially because this are always urgent matters, and now the replying times are considerably reduced.
When looking at the big picture about social networks, one would think that this constant exposure could he...