5 Online Retail Trends – Growth Opportunities in 2019

online shopping

Some time back, I wanted to buy a few t-shirts from a shopping mall opposite to my house but I simply couldn’t find the time to go to the mall. Sunday after Sunday passed as my wardrobe got outdated. I was disheartened to realize that I had no time to buy those t-shirts. Ironically my problem was different – I had no time to go to the mall because my brain knew it could mean a serious time investment of a few hours.

And then came up a surprise

One fine day, while searching on Google, I came across an advertisement from jabong.com. Curiously I clicked on the ad link which took me straight to their home page. In the very next second, a pop-up appeared offering a Rs. 1500 cash voucher in exchange for my name and email address. I readily entered the info and in no time, I was shopping for my t-shirts on jabong.com.  Within a few minutes, I zeroed in a few t-shirts and ordered them. Those I had been waiting to for so many weeks.

Something remarkable just happened

The up street showroom owner OR the downtown shopping mall lost a sale. And this story isn’t unique. Many such stories are happening every day, with busy executives, housewives, and discerning teenagers.

Was there something wrong with the brick and mortar retailer? Not really.

The truth is – instead of going to the store to buy t-shirts; the shop came to me, on my screen. This incidence isn’t unique to me. A rising number of shoppers buy everything from diaper to furniture – Online. It signals rapidly changing consumer behavior.

So what are those consumer behaviors shaping modern retail? What is it that triggers so many people to shop online? We did some digging and identified 5 most common consumer trends that play a major role in the growth of online retailing. These trends cannot be ignored – even by the established retailers.

Consumers save Time by Shopping Online

With our busy lives, time is the most valuable commodity. In my case, there was nothing wrong with the retailer next door, but I did not have the time to show up to their store. I achieved the same end-result with a few clicks and types, saving (earning) me a couple of hours. Online retailing can bring shopping convenience to your consumers, helping them save a bunch of time. An evolution of this convenience is coming up in the form of mobile apps, as consumers are moving towards smaller screens.

More Convenience = More Sales

Consumers Stay Loyal to Proactive Retailers

In a world of abundant product choices, your customer expects delight, every time. Imagine one of your regular customers who buy her summer wardrobe each year from you. And you exactly know her taste, attitude and what she might buy. This year she did not turn up and you came to know that she has moved to another town. Your chances of retaining them as your customer are slim unless you pick up online retailing as a channel.

What if you could just e-mail here a website link to your latest summer collection, with a personal note and a discount coupon? From the comfort of her home/office, she could take a look at your collection and make up the mind to buy from you – Online. You just doubled the chances of retaining her because you showed extra care and reached out proactively.

Online retailing has amplified proactive retailing, your customers expect much more than quality products. 

Shopping is driven by Valuable Content

The modern consumer is spoiled by choices and is always on a lookout for – Value. This quest for “Value” is leveraged by online retailers in the form of “Valuable Content”.

“Valuable Content” can mean different things to different audiences:

  1. For a fashionable lady in 30’s, a ‘2017 fashion ideas and trends’ catalog could be valuable information.
  2. For tech savvy teenagers, discount coupon and hot deals could be a valuable piece of information.
  3. For a discerning executive, fit and style guide for formal shirts could be valuable information.

Your online retail presence should not be a “me-too” online store but a powerful medium to communicate Valuable Content. 

The Internet Increases Shopping Appetite

One of the fascinating things about an online store is that potential customer can look at hundreds of products in a matter of minutes. As a result, it triggers “scarcity”. Even though the consumer may buy just a couple of products, you have made a lasting impression in her mind by offering so many choices in minutes. Through the online presence, your products got in front of your customers, reinforcing your brand in their mind.

Online retailing multiplies your brand recall.

Online Shopping is Habitual

In online shopping, the result vs. reward ratio is high. When we get something with relatively less effort, our brains perceives it as a reward and automatically leans towards it. It’s often referred as the “path of least resistance”. There is substantial scientific evidence to prove it. Online shopping is becoming a habit for a large number of consumers. The first time a shopper went online could be for a logical reason such as comfort, relevance, saving time or a special offer. But this one-time behavior quickly translates into a habit after two or three good experiences.

If you do not drive customers to buy online in your store, they will buy online somewhere else.

Retailers must truly understand the changing consumer trends and chart out their roadmap for online retailing.