Top 5 Reasons Online Shopping is Here to Stay

Top 5 Reasons Online Shopping is Here to Stay

Unlike the compulsion to bake sourdough from scratch, online shopping is much more than a COVID-borne trend. E-commerce had been on the rise in the years preceding the pandemic, but the events of 2020 injected a steroid shot into the industry, causing online purchases to increase 31% in a single year. The industry has since returned to its standard level of growth (expanding 14% in 2021), yet the shopping habits formed throughout the pandemic remain.

Global e-commerce sales are expected to reach $5.5 trillion by the end of 2022 and are predicted to exceed $7 trillion by 2025. To delve deeper into this phenomenon, we’ve outlined the Top 5 Reasons Online Shopping is Here to Stay and discuss how businesses can improve their e-commerce practices:

1. Convenience

This is a pretty obvious one. Who wouldn’t prefer to shop on the couch rather than facing the elements and crowds in person? A 2021 study of over 1,000 US consumers revealed that 43% of shoppers would be happy to never shop in a physical store again. While high, this figure is not surprising.

Online shopping affords customers the ability to locate, assess and purchase goods within a matter of minutes. Consumers can acquire their desired item and track its shipping status all from the comfort of their homes. Additionally, flexible return policies give buyers confidence in knowing that a product can be easily refunded or exchanged if the quality differs from what is presented online.

2. Lower Prices

Perhaps the most attractive benefit of shopping online is the money consumers can save. As discount codes, virtual sales and free shipping become more prevalent, many shoppers believe that online stores are more affordable than their physical counterparts. 

By avoiding the overhead costs associated with a traditional brick and mortar store (rent, electricity, staff etc.), savvy online retailers can pass savings on to their customers. In doing so, they can enhance their value proposition, generate loyalty and stand out from competitors.

3. Free Shipping

When deciding whether to shop in-store or online, shipping costs are a key consideration for buyers. In fact, studies show that 9 out of 10 consumers are more motivated to shop online when free shipping is offered.

Free shipping is an attractive incentive for customers because it enhances the online shopping experience and removes the barrier that shipping costs create. Research indicates that 60% of customers abandon their carts when faced with additional shipping costs. Therefore, free shipping not only incentivizes consumers to shop online, but also helps to generate sales for retailers.

4. Greater Variety 

E-commerce also enables shoppers to quickly and easily compare products in terms of price, customer reviews and functionality. Buyers are becoming increasingly shrewd about their purchases, with 81% of retail customers conducting online research before buying a product.

Online shopping gives consumers access to a wider variety of retailers and the ability to research items while they shop. It also enables shoppers to search for specific brands that aren’t available at their local department store, or discover new retailers that better meet their needs.

5. Safety

Although the risk of contracting COVID is decreasing (knock on wood), more customers are turning to online stores and contactless shopping to mitigate exposure. A UK study found that 74% of respondents, across all age groups, feel more comfortable buying products online as a direct result of COVID.

Exposure concerns may lessen over time, but it is expected that a large percentage of the population will retain these shopping habits in the interest of safety and convenience.

The Cloudscene Solution

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