Although the gaps between the two markets seems huge, Australian online sales have almost doubled in the past four years being at only $11.1 billion in 2012. It is clear that online shopping is the future, but what innovations are online businesses implementing to gain an advantage over retail stores and how will this really impact the consumer and current retail market?
10 years ago, online shopping involved simple catalogue based websites with a shopping cart. Those days are over. To simply display the bare minimum with no interaction with your consumers is destined for failure.
In 2016, consumers demand more. However, at the same time consumers are becoming overwhelmed with the amount of information they have access to and therefore struggle to make informed decisions. So what are online businesses doing to make consumers lives easier and meet these increased demands? We are making information easy to understand. Comparison websites is one great example. With time a precious commodity and living in the technological age, consumers are turning to the internet rather than driving around to different stores to compare products and services.
Trivago, a hotel comparison website, iSelect, a website that compares several insurance offers, and Preezie, a product and price comparison website, are just a few examples of websites that compares products from different sources all on one page making it easier for consumers to make informed decisions about their purchases.
Online shopping is becoming user-friendly, transparent, informative, interactive and becoming a one-stop shop platform for consumers to truly feel confident in their online decisions.
Comparison shopping is great for consumers, however these platforms are only scratching the surface of what is possible. With technology getting better every year and developmental costs becoming more affordable, there is a huge opportunity to bring all the great aspects of comparison shopping and combine them with the features of face-to-face retail shopping to give consumers the best possible experience.
This is more than the ability to chat online with a salesperson, but a platform that helps the consumer make an informed choice by asking basic questions to understand the consumer’s needs and requirements.
For example, Preezie.com.au offers interactive buying guides that asks you questions, learns your requirements and offers product recommendations; they bring the shopping assistant online.
With platforms like these, consumers receive fast, honest and accurate advice without questioning their ethics. In addition, these platforms will, in time, create a customised shopping experience that recommends products while explaining why these options suit the consumer’s needs. These online platforms will provide consumers with 24/7 access to their own personal online shopping assistant.
A personal online shopping assistant can inform the consumer where the best deals are and help clarify uncertainties.
But why stop there? Let’s give consumers the ability to interact with products via online virtual simulators. Imagine having the opportunity to play with a new Samsung TV online before buying it.
In order to give consumers the best possible experience, online businesses need to create an easy way for consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing a new product or service.
This is the future of online shopping. In order to build a platform to truly achieve this, businesses need to implement new innovations, such as Preezie’s interactive buying guide, to online shopping.
There is no doubt that online shopping is a current trend. Websites like Trivago, iSelect, and Preezie which are all comparison websites, are getting more and more popular year by year. Innovative online businesses will continue to develop and grow and therefore will continue to gain an advantage over retail stores while keeping up with consumer demands. This is only the beginning of online shopping.
About the Author
Michael Tutek is passionate about all things technology and understands how fast the industry changes. “It’s hard to keep up with the latest phones, laptops and software”.
So while working as a sales assistant he dreamed of creating a way to help people to understand technology better, especially so they could buy and shop online confidently. This is why he founded Preezie.com.au, a website developed to assist consumers of all ages buying new appliances – no matter what part of the decision making process they are at. “It’s like talking to a sales assistant in the comfort of your own home”. Michael wants to make a seamless, easy experience when it comes to shopping however, at the same time, it aims to be informative and to educate consumers.