Evolution of Electronic and Consumer Shopping
Through time there has been a lot of technological advancement. The changes in technology have had an impact on virtually all aspects of our daily lives. Just look around and you can see evidence of how wired we all are. Thanks to the internet anything one wants can be delivered at their door step in matter or hours or days. The changes in technology have made it easy for everyone’s day-to-day lives. Technology has changed how we run our day-to-day lives such as education, healthcare, social life, leisure activities and even the working environment. Technology has helped in doing things faster and also improved how people interact with each other for instance through the internet, mobile phones, video conferencing, portable computers and so on (Hill,2012). The paper will look at how the evolution of electronic technologies has changed an d impacted consumer retail shopping .it will look at the history of evolutionary marriage of shopping and technology beginning the early years up-to-date.
The retail industry is one that lives and dies on margins with the involved parties striving to increase their revenues while at the same time decrease their costs. Technology has been an area where a lot of focus ahs been put in retail industries as a way of ensuring that both goals are accomplished. There have been a lot of improvements that have been made in areas such as supply chain management, management of inventory, customer experience and preventing losses.
In earlier years if someone wanted to buy something, one had to go down to the store and ensure that they carefully pick exactly what they wanted and then go ahead and pay for it at the register and go ahead at take it home. People really took their time before making a decision of what they wanted to buy while they were there physically.one had all the time in the world to scrutinize something before they would pay for it eventually. The retail stores used to be full with people who really dedicated their time to shopping. There were long queues of people at the cash registers waiting for their turn to pay (Marketing Buzz, 2011).
While these traditional means of shopping are still in existence they are getting more and more outdated with time. They are dramatically being replaced by new technology forms as time goes by. People slowly got tired of the long queues they had to make in these retail stores. Then came the sears catalog. This was a big deal to shoppers who were tired of these long queues in retail shops. They were now able to make orders and a delivery is made at their door steps. This made it easy for shoppers to get anything they wanted at the comfort of their homes. They just had to check out what was in store and go ahead and to place an order (Hill,2012).
Today consumer shopping has greatly been revolutionized due to electronic technologies that have come into play. Some of the electronic strategies are discussed below.
Online shopping is one of the ways through which technology has changed the way people shop. More and more stores are now beginning to establish their presence online. These stores are now selling a wide range of products and services directly to customers through the websites. The prevalence of these online-based shopping sites has made it very easy for people to purchase anything they want online and easily make payments and have what they have purchased delivered There are a lot of online shopping facilities that are available now. Trends have changed from customers buying goods directly from stores to customers doing their shopping on the internet. Online shopping gives the customers the flexibility to shop anywhere they want and at any time ( McGrath, 2013).This is quite different from what was done before where one had to go and visit the actual store and pick out what they want while they are there physically. Then people did not have the flexibility or facility of shopping at their won convenience and at the comfort of their homes. Online shopping is quite advantageous to the customers. First of all online shopping has decreased the process of items. Items sold on the internet are relatively lower in price due to the fact that the staff and warehouse costs are lower and also due to the fact that the online stores want to retain their customers. Online shopping is also very convenient to the customers a sit can be done at one’s own convenient time and is quite fast. This is the new level of convenience that customers are looking for and want (White, 2010).There has also been some internet technologies that have come up to aid in internet-based shopping.one such technology is pay pal. This is an internet technology that has been in use for many years and has been promoted by many people as the future of shopping.it gives people an online account which can be used to receive money as well as make payments for items bought. The internet has had a great impact on online shopping since it has enables customers to access information they need about any product they want to purchase as well as the stores that have what they want.
Information and the rise of social retailing
The internet has not only made it possible for e-commerce sales but it has transformed the way people shop completely. Consumers who are keen on prices have also become smarter than before as they are now using the internet to thoroughly research on products before they buy them. There are price comparison websites available as well as consumer forums. social networking also affects the way shoppers come across the brands they would like to purchase.in many occasions people exchange opinions and ideas before they make a decision of purchasing specific brand.at the same time the reviews that have been made by other shoppers are quite important and shoppers consider them more than retail sales associates. Social media is now termed as more than a source of information.in fact it is now termed as a key selling tool. Most retailers have now recognized the importance of social media and they are now allocating resources to support efforts by social media.an example of social media investments is the use of apps that use information available on social media sites to help shoppers find gifts for their friends anyone who likes the app can be able to browse through their online friends an dive what their friends are interested in with a list that is customized containing recommended gifts that are available (ABC Trick, 2013).
Mobile phone shopping
Mobile commerce can be termed as the biggest game changer of all times. There has been a growing accessibility to smart phones and a faster technology and now people have access to the internet and internet shopping just at their finger tips. There is a mobile technology driven change that is brewing in how people shop in stores. The days where one would go to a section in a retail store and pick an item then go ahead to pay for it are slowly being forgotten .retailers are now investing in the e-commerce technology that encourages consumers to use their smart phones to strategically shop for deals that are found inside the physical stores. Once one checks in with their mobile phone after they walk into retail store and give out some personal information such as ones location the shops will in turn offer targeted digital deals through ones smart phone immediately for one to redeem. Retailers have taken this advantage since there has been an increase in the dependence on smart phones. Research has shown that 11% of total retail sales in the U.S. are through mobile phones. Retailers have also come to the realization that mobile technology has brought a lot of transformations on their in-store experience. There are ipads available in retail stores for shoppers to view catwalk shows, easily browse the specifications in the products they want and n be able to enter their personal information for building customer relationships with the management .mobile shopping has thus made it possible for retailers to find new places where they can sell apart from stores (Wee, 2013).
Modes of payment
Shopping is not complete without the process of payment. Once one identifies what they want they have to pay for it so that they can have its full ownership. Therefore payment is an important aspect of retail shopping. The mode of payment has also had different faces. Before, payments could be made in various forms such as money orders, postal orders and so on. These modes of payments usually took a long time before they cleared. Once a money order has been written it could take a long time before a seller is actually able to get the money. These were slowly replaced by checks. Checks could be written by consumers and the seller was expected to cash them days later. Though payments using checks was successful there were some disadvantages of using checks.one huge drawback of checks was the fact that some checks could bounce. A buyer would write a check and when it came time for cashing the check the merchant could not be bale to get the money simply because there was no money in the account where the check was written to.
The first change in payment is from paying using cash to paying using cards. Nowadays most people do not pay using notes and coins.in fact it very rare to find people carrying notes and coins and using them for payments. People now prefer to pay by credit cards or even store cards .when purchasing goods over the internet paying with cash would not be an appropriate mode of payment. Most of the retail outlets have introduced the chip and pin which was not there a couple of years back. The chip and pin is a new and secure way of paying with debit or credit cards. Due to the changes and improvements in technology one is simply required to tap in their for digit pin as opposed to signing a receipt.
There have also been some changes as now retailers are using bar-code scanners. Due to this recent technology there are many types of barcode scanners that have come up such as pen type readers, laser barcode, camera-based bar code readers and so on. There’re also touch screen tills that have been introduced as a way of tilling in data. This helps the customers to pay for their goods when they have finished shopping. Once a button is touched the whole calculations are done in summary for everything that has been [purchased by the customer.
This move has really changed how people think about money. When one has money physically on their wallets it seems real and it is harder for one to spend it since it is hard watching the money disappear. However when one is spending the money using a card hen it becomes easier since the money does not seem like it exists .this leads to an increased rate of spending as well s less self-control. We can therefore say that use of cards has increased spending in consumer retail shopping as one just purchases things unconsciously as they are not paying suing the actual money at hand but in the cards
Technology enabled changes in the retrial world is taking place at a very fast rate mobile devices are continuing to change the consumer experience in many of the shopping venues today. Retailers are also continuing to test the new concepts that are coming up from enhanced self-scanning to mobile scanning and many theirs. The reality remains that the future i9s here as consumers are increasingly getting comfortable with the use of digital technology in the shopping environment.in fact they will start measuring retailers on their ability and how well they support these changes. The challenge that most f the retail companies are faced with is how well they are able to adapt, how wisely they can make the spending decisions and how best they are able to use technology to continuously connect to the consumers who are their greatest asset.
Wee, H.(2013). How mobile technology is revolutionizing in-store shopping. Retrieved November 20,2013 from http://www.cnbc.com/id/100377473
ABC Trick.(2013).How Technology has Changed How Consumers Shop and What’s Next. Retrieved November 20, 2013 from http://www.abctrick.net/2012/03/how-technology-has-changed-how.html
White, A.(2010).Technology Advances in Retail. Retrieved November 20,2013 from http://www.arubanetworks.com/pdf/technology/whitepapers/wp_Retail_advances.pdf
Hill, M.(2012). How RFID Technology is Revolutionizing the Consumer Shopping Experience . Retrieved November 20,2013 from http://www.retailtouchpoints.com/executive-viewpoints/1711-how-rfid-technology-is-revolutionizing-the-consumer-shopping-experience-
Marketing Buzz.(2011).Technology changes in the retrial industry. Retrieved November 20,2013 from http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/126304/technology/technology_changes_in_the_retail_industry.html
McGrath, J.(2013).How has technology changed the way we conduct business? Retrieved November 20,2013 from http://www.howstuffworks.com/technology-changed-business.htm
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Ernst, M & Yong, G.().Digital retail. Retrieved November 20, 2013 from http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Digital_retail:_analyzing_the_effect_on_retailers/$FILE/Retail_thought_leadership_Digital_Retail.pdf
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