Trend Shift: From Physical Stores to Digital Stores

Over the years, Businesses have transitioned from selling their products and services in physcal stores to digital stores. The advancement of technology has perpetuated this, as it has ensured websites and apps are developed to serve as digital stores, from which clients can access products and services of their choice.

Clients nowadays prefer online shopping at a comfort of their own home, on their phones or laptops. They have grown accustomed to shopping products such as clothes, shoes, home appliances online and so many more, and have them delivered to their doorstep. As a result, Businesses that own retail and department stores have seen clients visiting the stores less and opting for convinient online shopping.

The rise of e-commerce outlets such as Amazon, E-Bay, Alibaba and AliExpress have not helped the retail stores case either. Clients would rather shop online other than make a physical trip to a store to look for something that they may not find. In 2019 alone, both Amazon and Alibaba recorded a turnover of over billions of dollars in revenue on quarterly basis.

Stores like Gymboree, Gap,  Forever 21, Office Depot, Barneys New York have all beeen closed and listed for closure. The stiff competiton posed by large online retail giants have set the once prestigious flagship stores for failure. A consumer now has a number of options depending on paticular needs and wants. As a result, the flagship stores have seen decrease in demand and consumers migrating to convenient shopping, which also offers discounts which they are unable to match.

The emergence of social networks such as Instagram and Facebook have encouraged live and active engagement with consumers, which in turn has aided small businesses rise to large e-commerce outlets that compete with well established brands. These networks offer businesses platforms, to market their products and usefulness via videography and photography. Consumers in turn, have an opportunity to connect with the brands, see information about the products such as price and it’s features, just a click away.

Online Stores such as Fashionova, Klosetenvy, Ego Official, Kylie Consmetics just to name a few, have all been a beneficiary of global exposure and demand due to Instagram engagement. Some have even emerged to Global Powerhouses to Billion Dollar Empires.  This is mainly because, social media has become a go to place, where consumers to make shopping decisions. Consumers spend hours on categories such as clothing, shoes, baby products, pet products, groceries and even books, when they are researching online to decide on a purchase.

With the advancement of technology as time has evolved, businesses are now switching to digital options. It has become clear that, it is the move towards the right direction. Companies and Businesses are employing advanced research and development teams to develop algorithms that will allow them to display more products and services on their digital stores. These algorithms also record the consumer behavior and interests according to shopping patterns and tendencies, this in turn help the stores to suggest products and services, that a client would really be interested to purchase.

Marketing and Advertising teams are also employed in order to drive huge traffic to these sites and apps, which in turn, is hoped to translate to huge number of sales. The aim is to offer an interactive and engaging shopping experience, as if a consumer is present at a physical store. The Feedback and Review Section on these sites, are intended to give a platform to consumers to offer their genuine reaction on what they think about the products and it’s usefulness. This in turn, helps businesses modify products and correct their services to satisfy the needs and wants of their consumers.

As technology trends such as Virtual Reality are evolving, it is exciting to see how these retail stores will transform the shopping experience to be even more real and engaging. There is room for so much innovation in this space. But it will start with understanding a consumer, what he or she wants, his or her lifestyle, personality, tech-savviness and overall behavior in general. With such data, the businesses and companies will be in a much better position to offer solutions and exact needs to their consumers, and in turn, retain them while in the process.