Starting an eCommerce Business: Consumer Behavior a ‘Lending Hand’

Brick-and-Mortar retailers around the nation are beginning to see the true impact of eCommerce business. Sears is seeing it with their signature “Craftsman” brand, Sports Authority has had to declare bankruptcy, and the latest rumors say Hudson’s Bay may try to buy Macy’s—one of the biggest retailers in the country. Of course, each has its own costs and challenges, but many brick & mortar companies are finding it hard to compete when more than 15% of the sales they had 10 years ago now go to other online sellers. Though it’s sad to see some of our favorite classic chains close shop, there are no signs of eCommerce growth slowing down.

What gives online businesses the upper-hand?

 

Why are online businesses so effective in an extremely competitive retail market? Here are a few explanations for why more and more shoppers are choosing to click their cart rather than push it.

Convenience for the Customer

While consumers generally purchase groceries for near-immediate consumption, products such as clothing, electronics, and other household goods may not have the same level of immediacy of use. In other words, most consumers are content to wait a few days and typically won’t have a strict deadline as to when they need to be in hand.

Although many shoppers enjoy the in-store shopping experience, they’re forced to ask themselves, “Is it really worth leaving my home?” Shoppers know that they can buy the same product online, and depending on the outlet they use, the product should arrive later that week. Why work for the same result? Consumers may lay in their bed and purchase a product without even considering getting dressed. A blissful shopping experience for many shoppers.

Low Costs for eCommerce Businesses

One concept that is often overlooked is the amount of money online businesses save compared to physical locations. No expensive storefronts, no cashiers, and not even the “greeter” who is so dedicated to welcome you to the store or check your receipt suspiciously as you leave (ahem–Costco). Cutting these major costs out of the equation frees the ability to offer lower or more competitive prices, and decreases the chances of going the way of the DoDo bird…or Sports Authority.

Price-Finding Capabilities

If you are shopping in a business like Kohl’s and cannot fathom the price of a sweater you’re considering purchasing, what options do you have? Try the store next door? Buy the over-priced sweater? If you can’t find the price you’re looking for in-store, you might be led into a poor shopping experience.

However, while shopping online, you may look at several websites, businesses, and online stores to find the sweater you want at the best-possible price. The online shopping experience can bring peace of mind, knowing that you have bought the right item at the right price.

Conclusion

Brick-and-mortar sales are still leading eCommerce sales by a large margin. But year-over-year, we are witnessing a growing percentage of eCommerce sales as a total share of retail sales. Companies who adapt to these trends have a fighting chance. However, those who are late to the eCommerce game–or deny it altogether–might just be the next cautionary tale. RIP Sports Authority.