In the current global pandemic, it’s easy to wish that things were back to their ‘same old ways’. We can’t lie, we’re guilty of wanting some sense of normality back in our lives too, and while the current situation is devastating, there may be a silver lining in what can be created.
E-commerce is growing at a rate of 23%, year on year, and will only continue to grow, thanks to the availability of mobile devices and the Internet of Things. Technology is an amazing aspect that is forever changing and adapting to suit our needs. In terms of what can be created, this is a significant tool that will help us evolve.
In these uncertain times with the ongoing impact of covid-19, the use of technology has increased significantly. This can be from an influx in remote working, and having to partake in weekly or even daily video calls, to people having nothing much better to do aside from scrolling through their phones! This opens up technology in a massive way and introduces new ways of communication in day-to-day life that we may not have realised before. However, in terms of the retail business, will this be the death of it?
High street fashion retailer Primark has long been an outlier in the industry as the one of the only high street giants not to dabble in ecommerce. Their “high-volume, low intake margin, low selling price” model, described by CEO Paul Marchant in a 2019 interview makes e-commerce a tricky proposition. However, as the ongoing crisis has resulted in the closure of stores across the UK and Europe, the retailer’s reliance on their brick-and-mortar locations has turned into a very serious problem, and it is set to lose an eye watering £650m of net sales per month while stores are closed.
Generally during the current crisis, e-commerce looks to be in a pretty good position. After all, many consumers that are unable to visit a brick-and-mortar business are instead turning to online shopping. Therefore, it can be argued that businesses who have online stores are in a significantly better position compared to businesses that do not. Especially with online shopping rates continuing to increase, growing 129% week on week in the UK and Europe during the virus, there is no wonder that people are beginning to question what is the best option!
However, even before the global pandemic, online shopping has been an aspect that has continued growing and has almost become part of consumers daily life. With the convenience that online shopping brings, with quick delivery and returns, introduction of installed payments and access to hundreds of shops at any time of the day at your fingertips, there is no doubt that consumers are opting for more ease and convenience, compared to going into their local towns.
British shopping habits are increasingly moving online. The transition appears to be irreversible. In August 2018, the proportion of online retail spending made for a record-breaking 18.2%. With Generation Z beginning to join the workforce and coming of age, will this lead to e-commerce becoming the only way of life, creating high street stores becoming a thing of the past?