Go online or lose customers, offline retailers told
MANILA, Philippines – Retailers who have not maximized the Internet’s potential have a lot of catching up to do.
Gregory Thain, chairman of consumer goods business simulation firm Storewars International, shared how retailing has been changed dramatically by the Internet in the past few years.
Citing a case for appliance retailers, Thain said 90% of visitors in a physical store would end up not buying anything and just window shopping.
Once home, however, these shoppers would buy online since they have already compared prices as they aim to get the best deal.
If retailers cannot let customers buy in the store, they should be able to direct them to their website and let them buy from there.
“Retailing is the biggest business in the world. It is a $15-trillion industry. It cannot afford to lose customers,” he stressed.
Since “we’re at a tipping point,” Thain advised that retailers should be able to tap the Internet in order for them to cope with the change.
He cited a company as an example of a business that has become big due to its online platform: Amazon.
“Amazon is threatening. In 5 years' time, it would be the number two retailer in the world. The threat is the Internet,” shared Thain.
In addition to those selling products online, there are retailers who have gone beyond a “simple business” towards retailing with “extra services.”
These extra services include organizing surgeries, booking hotels and even arranging funerals online.
Asia leads online market
Asia is the largest Internet market in the world right now. “Asia is driving the change,” said Thain.
Internet usage and e-retailing spike 19% a year in the region.
It reportedly has 900 million people shopping online. Books are the most purchased item by customers, followed by consumer electronics and shoes.– Rappler.com
Chart and shopping cart image from Shutterstock