It’s fair to say that the shopping landscape has changed beyond all recognition over the last two decades with the emergence and expansion of internet shopping. We can even see this trend accelerating due to the pandemic-imposed lockdowns which have occurred across the globe. If we had encountered Covid-19 in the 80s or 90s, what would we have done, catalog shopping?
Rise of the Big Boys (& Their Algorithms)
There have always been huge players in the retail market to the demise of the smaller operator, just look at the success of supermarkets such as Walmart. But even as big an operation as Walmart is, it does not compare to the likes of Amazon. The world has never seen such a beast, and worldwide nature is what is important here. Jeff Bezos (Amazon owner) has become the world’s richest man again after Tesla had a fall in stock price due to a poor Bitcoin investment. Bitcoin is a useful, and robust cryptocurrency (more on that later), but Tesla didn’t use it properly. How these online operators have made their takeover so overpowering is down to a few things, including free and fast delivery, choice, and convenience. But the one thing that trumps all else is getting to the customer in a way physical retail never could. All of your online habits, including shopping, browsing, and social media are logged and analyzed with the sole intention of delivering targeted adverts with pin-point accuracy to ensure you buy as much as possible.
Choice of Payment Methods
Consumers can pay for online goods in a variety of ways. Old standards of debit and credit cards will always be accepted, but innovations and payment methods are emerging all of the time. The choice is almost endless, from PayPal to Apple Pay and more, and you can even exchange PayPal for BTC. BTC is short for Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, which is a new type of currency altogether. The existence of cryptocurrency alone encapsulates why the online shopping model has blown traditional retail out of the water. Cryptocurrencies are independent of any government and not under the control of any national bank. Going up against the traditional structures are what has made the web king, and this is what we get with currencies such as Bitcoin. How the coins even come into existence is a fascinating process for anyone interested in tech; users ‘mine’ for the coins by solving vastly complex equations. This mining process provides the basis for the encryption that keeps every transaction on the network secure, a perfect example of a peer-to-peer network in operation.
We did start by stating that the big players rule supreme in the digital commerce world, but perversely this is also true of the small, nice providers. There is still a place for expertise in some areas, and these experts can also access the same network of customers that the big boys have available at the cost of advertising through the same avenues. So, although a small specialist can survive, they must pay their dues to the Amazons and Facebook of the world. You must provide something special, as you won’t compete on price, as the market is saturated.
This article has been contributed on behalf of Paxful. However, the information provided herein is not and is not intended to be, investment, financial, or other advice.