The retailing industry has seen a lot of changes in the last decade. The way people shop has been evolving and the industry is adapting to it. Brick and mortar shops have been ruling the world in different formats. There are retail outlets, wholesale stores and mega-stores to cater to the needs of human beings. There are specialty stores, discount stores and premium stores, all with different target audience. There is a lot of variety in the offline stores in all the countries. In some of the less developed countries, we also have the mom-and-pop stores, which are like roadside resellers.
The interesting thing is the change in the way people shop. Few years back, the onset of e-commerce took the world by a storm. Now the state is that everything is purchased online. You have online tuitions, online grocery, online consultancy/counseling. Travel related activities like – hotel booking, flight booking, trip bookings, cab bookings etc. can all be done online. People just need a laptop with Internet and they are sorted for life. Whatever you can think of can be done online, literally. Want to send a gift to someone in another corner of the world? That’s easy, log on to one of the many websites that can do this for you. Electronics, apparels, footwear, kids-wear, all can be purchased online and at great rates.
Lately, the trend has been m-commerce. There has been a wide deployment of infrastructure to enable users to do anything they want using mobile applications. Various reports mention that the growth rate of mobile users is drastic and there is a lot of shift to mobile-only platforms. Some of the apparel websites have gone mobile-only by deprecating their websites and enabling users to use only mobile apps. Activities like cab-service have taken a good rise on mobile phone apps, as one can locate a cab through GPS. Also, several apps allow you to order food and get it delivered to your doorstep at great prices, on time. Users are adapting to this change and companies too are making necessary amendments in the infrastructure to allow users to do anything they want on mobile.
It will be interesting to see what the future implications are and where the industry is heading. People are already glued to their mobile devices and this is expected to grow. With the onset of 4G and data getting cheaper, users are increasing and accessing more of the Internet on mobile. Companies are also offering mobile-based utilities like health app, sleep monitoring etc. to keep users glued on to their mobile devices. The screens of mobile phones are getting bigger and the screens of laptops are getting smaller. Tablets/Phablets are becoming more prominent to enable this paradigm shift.