The other day I heard on the radio e-commerce is up another 15% and retail is again flat. Is e-commerce here to stay? Will traditional bricks and mortar shops find a way to fight back?
Personally I will not be buying shares in bricks and mortar stores. More items are now sold online than in traditional bricks and mortar stores and things are only ramping up.
It took only 10 years for e-commerce to overtake traditional bricks and mortar sales… gulp
You can see this in person by walking down nearly any high street around the world and noticing all the empty shops which keep appearing with “For Lease” signs on them. More and more people are finding it more convenient and cheaper, to buy online.
And how they buy online is also rapidly changing.
Now on eBay, over 40% of sales are done on a smart device i.e. smart phone or tablet and the pundits are predicting smart device sales to grow to over 60% by mid 2016.
The eBay app is the most downloaded e-commerce app on the planet.
And to the horror of retail shop owners, the public are using retails shops to see and touch items then using their smart devices to find the identical item cheaper online. Some buyers even scan the barcodes using apps like Red Laser and buy online while in the store. This is known as “Scan and Scram”!
Retail shops simply cannot compete with online prices due to the high overheads of staff and rent.
Then there is the new gen X and Y breed rapidly growing up who are more tech savvy than when we were kids. I’m 50 and the schools were only just getting their Apple 2 computers as I was leaving high school. Kids these days are using tablets from the age of 2. (Yes.. the computer variety of tablet). The knowledge of kids and computers these days is incredible, the now old saying of “If you can’t work out something on your computer, just ask a 10 year old to solve it for you!” is quite true!
What this means is, as the population gets older, the more tech savvy everybody becomes therefore ordering online becomes even more of a “no brainer”.
Now things are really hotting up with smart devices, just look everywhere and where you would see people just a few years ago reading newspapers, today you see everybody surfing their smart devices and… often, they are not just surfing, they are buying through their smart devices.
No longer do buyers need to wait until after work for late night shopping or weekends to do their purchases, they can buy while at work or even at 9:30 at night while lying on the sofa.
This year for Christmas presents, we have the choice of driving to the local mall with thousands of others or… sit at home with a cup of tea and the ipad. With a larger selection of items at our fingertips than at the mall, and the luxury of having them delivered to our front door, for many, it is a no brainer. Not to mention the lower prices normally offered online.
So why eBay over other businesses?
- Online – You can work anywhere on the planet as long as you have an internet connection and access to the postal system
- Unlimited products – eBay is like a large wall where thousands of sellers “guess” what a good product is. The smart eBay sellers come along and “research” which items are “already” making the most profit and just sell those. There are literally tens of thousands of high profit products you can sell.
- No social media. Let’s face it; social media can be a huge time vacuum. Who has a spare hour or 5 a day to spend on social media telling everybody about the new trick the dog learnt or uploading the latest baby photos?
- No SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Here is the problem with SEO. Everybody wants to be on page 1 of Googles search results however there is only 1 page 1! And there are only 12 search results on page 1! Everybody is fighting for that spot and when you get it, you can get excellent traffic however… Google regularly reshuffles the deck… I know one person who has a website with 18,000 pages and was on page 1 for years then out of the blue, eBay re-shuffled the deck and now he is on page 3 and his traffic has dropped by over 95%… ouch!
- No PPC (Pay per click) i.e Google Adwords. eBay is Google’s Adwords biggest customer, if you sell on eBay, eBay spends a fortune on buying traffic. You do not need to be a PPC genius to sell on eBay.
- Work from home in best (or worst) tracksuit.
- Low cost to start, all you need is a computer, printer and an internet connection
- No office fit out costs
- Low inventory costs. In fact many people start their eBay business selling used items which they collect for free
- eBay has over 100,000 million active users. Simply list an item and you can have access to these 100,000 million potential buyers of your item
- Over 460,000 people now have a full time eBay business