The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce recently published that retail eCommerce sales in the U.S. for the second quarter of 2021 was $211.7 billion! That’s an increase of 7.6% from the first quarter of 2021. It’s clear that the recent pandemic has forever changed the way people choose to shop.
However, even before that, an Internet Retailer magazine article noted that large retailers like Nordstrom and Macy's boosted their online sales in 2011, sometimes as much as 40%. That's incredible when you consider that is an increase of a few hundred million dollars in some cases.
So, why are people increasingly choosing to shop online instead of shopping at their local stores? Here are three key advantages of online shopping over traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
For many customers, one of the benefits of online shopping is convenience. Although some people would consider stopping by a local store easier than ordering something online and getting it shipped, there are a few advantages of online shopping that are simply more convenient.
For one, it doesn't require you to actually go to the store. Just to physically go to a store, you need a way to get there, and for most people, this is driving. Not only do you waste gas driving to the store, but it takes precious time out of your day. Compare that to the convenience of online shopping, which on many major sites has become a one-click affair. Payment details, such as credit card information, can be securely stored for an easy shopping experience.
There's no need to drive to the store to pick up some shampoo or dog food. Just choose the product online, click once, and voila, it's on its way. This brings us to another convenient aspect of buying online: speed.
This is one area that traditional retail has seemed to have a leg up over online retail in the past. It used to be that shopping in stores would give instant gratification because you get to hold your purchase in your hand the minute you buy it. But this advantage is slowly being negated by the expanding field of eCommerce order fulfillment.
A few years ago, it wasn't unusual to wait for a week to get your product delivered, which was too long for many consumers. Today, however, an online retailer with a high-quality and streamlined order fulfillment process can usually get your product to you within 1-2 business days. Sometimes, you can even get same-day delivery, which is a huge benefit of online shopping.
Fast and affordable online shipping options have eroded many people’s aversion to online shopping. In fact, fast shipping (sometimes even free same-day shipping) is one of the main reasons why more and more people are choosing to shop online.
Is buying something online cheaper than buying it in the store? In many cases, it is! Some online shopping carts and platforms will offer yearly subscription services that offer discounts and free shipping for every item bought. Even when this is not the case, online buyers can save money because they have the ability to easily compare prices for the best possible deal.
When your competition is only a click away, there is a huge incentive to offer the lowest possible prices. Price has always been a critical component of ensuring sales, and the ease of price comparisons on the web, is an important benefit to online shopping.
Another price advantage of online shopping is that, depending on the state, many online stores do not charge sales tax, giving a huge competitive advantage to online retailers. But what about shipping prices? Many stores will offer free shipping if you purchase a certain amount.
Can't find that specific electronic part or special edition toy in your local Walmart? No problem, because it's very possible you'll find it online. One of the benefits of online shopping is that specialty items, hard-to-find products, and almost everything under the sun is sold on the internet.
This is because online retailers do not have to hold inventory in every location, as they do in brick-and-mortar stores. Inventory is centrally located close to customers in fulfillment warehouses that can easily ship to online shoppers anywhere. The internet also makes it easier for specialty sellers because they don't have to maintain a physical storefront to sell their products.
Lastly, international eCommerce is a big factor online. People selling on the internet are not competing with neighborhood stores, they are competing with everyone else selling similar products, whatever country they may be from. The ability to get your order shipped overseas is incredibly common these days and gives you more choice when shopping online.
In short, there are major advantages of online shopping and good reasons to shop online. Online retail provides significant and obvious benefits over physical stores, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that large companies are seeing huge increases in online sales. Will there always be people who think 2-day delivery is too slow? Yes, and there will always be people who enjoy traditional shopping in stores and browsing as well.
Although some still believe the disadvantages of online shopping outweigh the benefits, the shift to online retail is not something that can or should be ignored, nor should the advantages of selling products online. If you’re looking to improve your order fulfillment process, it may be time to work with an experienced 3PL.
Rakuten Super Logistics offers convenient, reliable, and accurate 3PL fulfillment services, including subscription box fulfillment and return management, so your orders are packed, shipped, and delivered to your customers on time, every time. Request a quote today to see how we can help with lower shipping costs, faster delivery options, and a better shopping experience for your customers.
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