Shopping continues to be a popular pastime and has become one of the essential elements of modern life. It is an activity enjoyed by millions of people world-wide and the scope of online shopping has grown dramatically. It is now impossible to turn on the TV or walk through a shopping mall without seeing at least one item for sale. Shopping is so popular that most people have a virtual shop inside their home or know someone who does.
A typology of shopper categories has been developed by academics which identifies one group of consumers as purely recreational shoppers, who view shopping as an enjoyment activity and as such do not use the traditional shopping facilities. Shopping has gradually become a big disruption within the retail sector as consumers are able to shop for merchandise information across various areas and can place product orders over the internet. Online shopping trends have resulted in a variety of changes within the world of retail, with many shops closing as a result of a lack of consumer interest. It is this rise in online shopping, which has led retailers to explore other options to boost consumer interest.
High street retailers have invested significant time and effort into alternative retailing strategies in recent years, including opening more boutique style shops and smaller shops in high traffic areas. Many of these alternatives have been successful, however some have not had the success hoped for, with consumers preferring to shop at boutique shops for luxury goods, such as furniture and clothing. There has also been a growth in ‘mature’ or specialist shops, such as those specialising in specialist niche or gooda styles such as bridal wear or trendy office wear. Although many of these shops remain relatively unoccupied, they have helped to increase the range of mainstream consumers looking for luxury goods, opening the market for mainstream retailers to sell more products in more lucrative formats.
An increasing number of shoppers are now looking for even more options when it comes to shopping. Some consumers are opting to buy goods online, bypassing the high street and choosing to shop via the internet. This trend has seen a huge increase in the number of sites dedicated to online shopping, increasing the number of websites dedicated to luxury goods and increasing competition among retailers. As a result, retailers have begun to offer more services and deals online in order to capture a larger share of the online luxury goods market.
With this rise in online shopping, there has also been an increase in the number of shops dedicated to offering specialist gifts and accessories. Specialist stores such as Mary Kay, Finish and Ann Taylor have expanded their ranges, offering a bigger choice of luxury goods for more discerning buyers. Some consumers prefer to buy their favourite items online, bypassing the traditional high street store and instead purchasing items through online portals or specialist shops dedicated to luxury goods. This allows consumers to buy luxury goods from the comfort of their own home, giving them the flexibility to purchase items at their leisure, without having to visit a brick and mortar store. Many shoppers also choose to make their purchases on the internet from the comfort of their computer, which has increased the ease of research and purchase. This allows buyers to look at a wide selection of luxury goods without actually leaving their homes.
High street retailers are also reaping the benefits of internet shopping. Online retailers such as Amazon and eBay have taken over as big a part of the retail world as major department stores such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco have in recent years. These companies have worked hard to ensure that consumers feel more confident buying on the internet, with great customer service and security measures in place. Consumers can browse and compare products easily on the internet, and retailers can sell items with greater speed and ease. As a result of this, many shoppers are turning to online shops for all of their fashion needs, increasing competition and reducing prices for consumers who are looking to find the ideal bargains.