The History And Evolution of Retail Marketplace
The History of Retail Shopping: Change over 1000 years
The term retail therapy started being common in the 1980s and is known as the familiar phenomenon where people hit stores to improve mood, which to some act as an instant mood enhancer and more preferred than exercise, sunshine or anti-depressants.
Local shopping malls became the favorite destination for buying customers on Black Friday and nearly every weekend of the year, where they became the getaway for friends going on shopping together.
Cowrie Shells and Coins
Trading existed long before the currency was there, according to the archaeological findings, traders used cowrie shells in a way similar to coins was used to mark the value of commercial transactions. Coins later replaced the shells as the currency of choice for trading. Furthermore, archaeological evidence proved the story of using coins like Roman drachma and denarii.
Shopping was likely for purchasing necessities while for the rich gold coins have been spent on luxuries to impress visiting dignitaries. As for the biggest “retails” system was the Agora, the Roman trading center where individual tradesman would set up shops to offer their products. Those products consisted of nearly every product one could think of by that ancient time.
Fairs and Markets in Renaissance Europe
Shopping started to take a new form during the turn-of-the-century as marketplaces appeared for the sake of fundraisers and celebrations, the most known and largest one was Foire St. Germain in Paris.
The fair would last for a few weeks around Easter where tradesmen would auction and haggle items for the benefit of the famous Abbey, providing for the masses of Paris something close to a shopping mall experience. Similar fairs started to spread throughout the western part of the world as well.
Mass-produced goods in the Industrial Age
With the emerging industries of the Industrial Age, the familiar mass-produced goods as we know it began to appear and the industrialized shopping culture started to appear and produce the retail industry as we know it. And as the need for goods started to increase, businessmen started to realize the promising profit of having general merchandise stores.
What also gave rise to a culture that had everything available to buy was the appearance of specialty shops, urban galleria and department stores in both the 18th and 19th centuries. Shoppers started to also have more options than before with the invention of the cash register.
The Technological Age and a Whole Retail World at your Doorstep
Nowadays, retailers can do almost all of the business virtually with the availability of online and mobile shopping and software tools that regulate inventory, accounting, CRM and many more. Eager customers can now delve into stores to shop for European, Asian, or American products. They can use their cutting-edge devices to purchase items from sellers who are continents far and expecting delivery in minimal time.
6 Important Retail Statistics that can help predict Retail Future
The above short exploration through retail history shows how changes in retail and e-commerce have affected the way people do shopping, because as people’s lifestyles and needs evolve, so do they way they shop and buy. The following statistics can provide some prediction on the future of retail:
$6 trillion is the sales amount in 2018.
This number is quite big, and the behavior of spending in retail shows us the facts of consumer behavior in a given economy: During recession spending goes down, and goes up when people are more confident. What’s even more important is the fact that not all retailers are seeing a boom, because it they are not keeping pace with technology advances and customer needs, they will be closing sooner than they expect.
Mobile devices are used by 77% of shoppers to search for products.
Which caused people to turn to the general store after they have pioneered in the west, and now people also flood suburban malls very quickly, which holds technology as the main reason to fuel change in the world of retail. Moreover, people are using their phones not only to buy but to research and compare the items’ prices, that could be informing retailers to focus on mobile advertising and enhancing the whole mobile shopping experience for the enthusiastic consumers.
Retailers spent $23.5 billion on digital ads (just in 2018!).
This is a normal result for the statistics above, as retail marketers are now focusing on where customers are searching and looking up the information they need. Naturally, digital ads constituted 70% of the retailers’ ad expenditure in 2018, which amounted to a 19% increase in just one year.
Brick and mortar vs e-commerce sales: ratio of 4:1.
Physical stores still have a bigger share of sales till now, although e-commerce growth is continuously happening, it’s not replacing brick and mortar anytime soon, which will be getting 80% of sales till 2021. The secret to a winning combination is having both an e-commerce and physical store that complement each other seamlessly.
E-Commerce market share in 2019 is 13.7%
People are not letting go of the in-person shipping experience any time soon, but we cannot deny that the e-commerce retail market share is increasing to reach 17.5%, and expected to reach 17.5% by 2021. Such a kind of knowledge can enable retail owners to better integrate online and offline channels for a better overall shopping experience.
54% of consumers now expect shopping 24/7 as a reason for online shopping.
This says something important about the relation between changing customer behavior and their expectations, as previously shoppers provided them with what they needed from personalized shopping experiences, after which they admired malls and had the expectation of the presence of whatever store they needed in a single location, finally, came the rise of the big box stores that provided them everything they needed at quite attractive discounts.
Now a new pattern is emerging; where they now expect to shop at any hour of the day from the convenience of their chair, desk, or even bed.
Business who are doing great take note of the following trends, while understanding the impact of e-commerce on retail to better be equipped to compete boldly and fulfill the needs of their customers:
- Customers are shopping for almost everything online
The ease and convenience of shopping online is becoming more and more attractive to the American customer, that’s why interesting statistics are on the rise: 22% of clothing sales, 30% of electronics happened online. Moreover, 20% of grocery sales are expected in 2020. The previous is beginning to introduce new trends where major companies such as Kroger and Walmart are moving products to be available online, something Amazon has very well mastered for a while now.
- 79% of U.S. consumers do online shopping, as opposed to 22% in 2000.
That’s why it’s crucial to take your store online, as adopting a brick and mortar store along with an online one is an effective formula for effective competition.
- E-Commerce pushed businesses online, but not completely.
Because people still opt to walk into a store to see and feel the products they are buying, and that’s a reason physical stores will be around for more time. For example, people still prefer to buy most of their products at the store and buy only specific products online.
People have advanced from the simple barter system to more sophisticated yet easier retail experiences, their expectations more every day from the brands in terms of convenience, efficiency and shorter delivery times coupled with appealing discounts, however, they are willing to pay more for brands they love and satisfy their needs. As retailers race to meet such expectations they are faced with new customer behaviors and needs that are ever-evolving.