the book industry different from other retail?
Of course the book industry is different from other industries. For
one, it is possible to buy books in a digital format and ebooks are
cheaper and can only be bought online, while a digital couch or pair
of shoes is (still) science fiction. With books there is no difference
between the information you get online and in-store. In both cases
you can read a resume of the contents, while being able to sit on
the couch in-store or trying on those shoes before buying is a whole
different experience. Thus one could state that the demise of book
stores is inevitable, while consumers will always want to get a feel
of most other products in-store before purchasing them. Then why is
an online shoe company like Zappos such a big success?
of online shopping
Shopping online has a lot of advantages, like being able to do it
from the comfort of your home, while going to a store means you
need to travel, stay in traffic jams and have to find and pay for
parking space. Then you have to walk around to find the right store,
which has the right product, and you need to do some more walking
around to find alternative stores to compare price, quality and
characteristics. Next you have to find a sales person to help you
or stand in line for the check-out counter. Online you can shop
at any time and any day, while you have to plan your shopping in
store, having to run there after work or just before dinner and
of course they close while you are still making the decision what
or where to buy. Another advantage of online shopping is the ability
to compare prices between stores quickly and most of all, to read
consumer reviews: what was the experience of fellow shoppers with
a certain product or store? This kind of information is not something
you can get in store and might avoid you a lot of headache afterwards.
are people still buying in store?
Yes, I know I am a typical male, who hates shopping, etc. etc. and
you are right, as in-store shopping does have its advantages and
most advantages mentioned above can be reached by doing online research
before you go in-store to buy the product. In-store you can see,
feel and touch the product and try it out. A helpful sales person
can explain things or help you choose and just going shopping with
your friends is a day of fun all by itself.
new era of marketing and choices
But remember that the shopping experience we know has been created
by the mass production and mass marketing culture of the last decades.
This culture has allowed us to buy everything we wanted to have,
as mass production enabled cheaper production of luxury goods and
mass marketing created brands that became a necessity in itself.
Everyone wanted to have the same things their neighbours had, further
encouraging mass production. But we have now entered an era where
the internet has enabled people from all over the world with peculiar
niche choices to connect with each other, showing them that their
choice or wish for a certain product is actually not so peculiar
and allowing companies to start providing these niche products.
This means consumers will be making more choices defined by their
personal wishes instead of by mas advertising and it will be harder
for stores to keep all available choices in stock. The only way
companies will be able to reach all their customers is online and
by sending their products to their clients, as their clients will
be living to wide spread to be able to come and buy the products
eCommerce take over all store sales?
you agree that online shopping will almost completely replace physical
As consumers will get more and more used to buy products online;
as they will get acustomed to the ease of it, the percentage of
merchandise bought online will grow, causing the keeping of stocks
in store to become exceedingly expensive, leading to closing stores
until most of them will have gone. There will always be physical
stores, but over time they will deliver a special shopping experience,
like antique stores, where people go for the fun of shopping, or
because they have very high quality products, allowing the cost
of a store through their high priced products. As the book industry
has shown, only those companies that understand this trend and act
in time will survive.