Today the fastest and profitable business is doing business over the internet or e-business/e-commerce. According to several studies, young people between the age of 16 and 32 spent 67% of their purchases over the internet. A young woman admitted: “Even I can go to the store to buy things but with the internet, I can shop 24 hours at home. If I need shoes or clothes, I do not need to go to the store. I know my size and style so why not buy them online. It is cheaper.”
Most stores understand that, they set up online websites and it is the fastest growing trend with over $50 billion dollars purchase just in past year. Many stores are now set up mobile shopping application too so customers can use their phone to purchase whatever they want, anytime, anyplace. A store manager said: "Many young customers today do not have several hours to shop like previous generations did. They are efficient, they are busy, and buying in stores wastes time. They rather go online for most of the things they need." A young girl explained: “We all sit at restaurant, drinking coffee and browse through hundred of online stores to look for anything interesting. We can contact friends on text message and ask them for opinions about certain clothes. If we like it, just a “click” on the mouse or press “OK” in your smart-phone then you are done. In few days, what you buy will be at your home. This is the new way young people “shop” today.”
The advantage of online stores is low start-up cost as you do not need to have a “real store” and salespersons. All you need is a warehouse to store merchandises, a distribution center, and contract with a shipping company to send merchandises to customers quickly. Many other things such as internet order and sales, finance, accounting can be automated. Another advantage of online store is you can be anywhere, nobody knows where your company is. People from Europe can buy things from an online store in Asia without knowing. Today with the convenience of smart-phones and tablet computers, more people will probably buy things online than before. Few years ago, there was an article that online newspapers killed printed newspapers and magazines. It is possible that few years from now; online stores will also eliminate “Real stores”.
According to the Association of retail business study, more customers will use online website to reorder items they bought in the past so common items, not the latest fashion, will be the most popular. As long as the company has good customer service, many people will come back. The key idea of service management is sending customers emails announcing new items, special sales, or something that they may find interesting so they can be invited to go online and look for them.
As more companies go online, the demand for information technology increases quickly. Last year alone, there were over 30,000 online stores opened with over 100,000 IT jobs created. This trend is now expanding all over the world so the demand for IT skilled workers in e-business, mobile commerce, web developers, database administrator and service managers are “hot”.
- Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University