As the retail industry develops, more services are introduced to entice customers to use their shops. There are varieties of services that are being used by companies to attract attention and make it easier for customers to use their websites, in the hope of increased revenue. Services like ‘Next-Day Delivery’ tempt customers to purchase their item sooner, since it will arrive the following day. This makes increased profits for the company by charging for the service. These services essentially persuade the customer to buy the product at a higher price but with (usually) a faster delivery, tracked item, etc.
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Since E-Commerce is becoming increasingly popular, traditional retail businesses are losing money since fewer customers shop in stores. Larger companies have the resources and money to create optimised websites that allow their customers to shop on the internet. This leads to a negative economic impact for smaller businesses but, as an entire society, a richer economy as there are new ways to shop. Also, socially, fewer people will be shopping in stores. This could lead to retail shops closing from a lack of revenue, especially in smaller businesses that cannot support themselves with a lack of funds.
Bricks and Clicks is a new approach to commerce in its entirety. The name ‘Bricks and Clicks’ refers to physical retail stores (Bricks) and online shopping (Clicks). As E-Commerce grew in popularity, businesses realised they can make a greater profit from online shopping; this is called ‘Bricks and Clicks’ because they have both physical stores as well as an online store. There are benefits and drawbacks to both approaches (Physical vs Digital), but having both increases the range of the potential audience. This is because physical stores may attract people who are simply walking past the shop or people who are regular customers. Having a digital store on top of this targets (potentially) every person with an internet connection. Companies can increase traffic to their website by advertisements on popular websites, directly increasing awareness of the brand.
One of the main benefits for customers using E-Commerce is the availability. Physically shopping requires going to the nearest shopping centre, looking for the specific shop and finding the wanted item within it. Online shopping provides an easy alternative available whenever. Being able to access the website whenever (unless it is down for maintenance) makes it easier for anyone wanting to buy a specific item, as they don’t have to consider the closing time for the shop. In addition, people who have unusual work hours at their job may struggle with physical stores as they close in the evening. Therefore, having the option to buy from a store whenever using the internet provides an easier alternative.
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Online shopping isn’t perfect; there are problems with the financial side, especially whether companies can be trusted. After a customer enters their information (Name, address, credit/debit card, etc.) the company has a responsibility to protect that information from unauthorised sources, the most common being hackers. There is always the possibility, and it has occurred, that major corporations have been hacked and their customers’ information has been released to the public or sold. However, as hacking becomes increasingly common, internet security is improved to prevent it. Internet shoppers shouldn’t just worry about the website being untrustworthy, malware and other viruses could steal the information from the computer, the most common being a ‘Keylogger’. As the name suggests, it is either a physical hardware component installed into the computer or a program that logs all of the keystrokes on the computer. This is one way that information can be stolen not directly from the website.
E-Commerce has, and will continue, to have an effect on employment. If people start to only shop online, store workers may lose their jobs because of financial difficulties. However, delivery services will have to hire more employees to keep up with the demand of online shopping. In addition, since companies require websites for online shopping, website developers, network administrators and a variety of server-related jobs are needed. Therefore, people working in retail stores may lose their jobs if people continue to isolate themselves from physical shopping and choose online shopping. However, more job opportunities open up relating to technology.
The ‘social divide’ is becoming more important as technology progresses. People with little income focus on essentials before purchasing luxuries. Therefore, it would be difficult for people with little income to purchase a computer or another electronic device capable of online shopping. However, since the majority of people can afford, and use their electronic devices for shopping, companies target these people since they make up the majority. This affects the company’s decisions, for instance, they may begin to close down retail stores and instead focus on E-Commerce. This doesn’t affect people who have enough disposable income to purchases these devices, but it does affect people with little income. This leads to these people struggling to shop, since they can’t afford the platform needed for online shopping. Therefore, leading to a social divide between people with little disposable income and people with greater disposable income.
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