E-tail vs. Retail: will you go down to the shops today?

Internet shopping, home shopping, catalogue shopping, call it what you will but it’s clear that online shopping is here to stay. And what’s more, the trend shows no sign of slowing down.

For most of us shopping on the internet is an everyday occurrence, yet it’s hard to believe that it was just thirteen short years ago that the first internet shopping transaction took place with the sale of a single compact disc in the US.

Compare that to today when IMRG, the industry body for global online retailers, estimates that 42 billion pounds will be spent online by 26 million UK shoppers this year.

Not only does this trend display a clear shift from traditional retailing, it also indicates loud and clear, the demands being made by consumers. The message to traditional bricks and mortar retailers is clear, they have no choice but to overhaul their trading strategies to stay in the game.

No longer do consumers have to take themselves off to town or to an out of town retail park to be presented with a limited amount of choice, in a limited amount of space. Yes this remains an option, but any retailer with sense now has an online presence, often with greater choice in terms of sizes and product range.

The same goes for catalogue and mail order shopping. There was a concern that these shopping channels would become redundant with the advent of internet shopping, but there has actually been a substantial increase in the number of catalogue and home shopping companies, which are often launched in tandem with websites.

Is there a need for a one stop shopping website that presents consumers with the best that e-tailing has to offer…. clearly there is. Go a step further and offer a one stop shop that offers the same great e-tailing choice, but with a further option to request a physical, printed catalogue to be delivered directly to the consumers front door, and the whole online shopping experience starts to look very attractive.

Catalogue and home shopping retailers, far from being a redundant option to shop, now form an incredibly attractive addition to the traditional bricks and mortar retailers, in fact some retailers offer consumers all three: a website, a printed catalogue and a chain of actual shops.

Would a one stop shopping website appeal? Where consumers could shop with trusted retailers, for the best brands at the best price, in comfort, with a choice of free credit, free delivery, next day delivery, and a huge choice of up to the minute fashion? Just think about that for a second… surely such a site would tick many boxes with consumers.

What does this mean for you and me, the consumer. In short we now have a fantastic array to choose from when deciding to part with their well earned cash.

Happy shopping!

Copyright (c) 2007 Sam Benton