Online Shopping Malls: The Future of Retailing
With the seemingly never-ending news that another former high street giant has been forced into administration due to the complex and harsh retail climate at the moment, it is hitting home to retailers and consumers alike that our shopping habits are undeniably changing.
While retailers who are struggling, or who have gone bust, may point the finger at the tougher trading situation caused initially by the global recession, the fact of the matter is that many retailers who have struggled have also failed to adapt to the changing demands of the consumer; particularly in terms of providing services through a digital medium.
While companies like Amazon have thrived in this new global marketplace, many other familiar high street names that have struggled to adapt to these new ways of shopping have fallen by the wayside. As such, we are now seeing the evolution of the shopping experience altering from a real-world focus, to one driven by the digital realms.
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In this article, we’ll examine whether online shopping is truly the future of retailing and whether we will ever change our habits completely from venturing from a real world shopping mall, into an online version.
But first, let us examine exactly what an online shopping mall is, and how it differs from purchasing online through a typical online retailer.
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What is an online shopping mall?
An online shopping mall is very similar to a real-life shopping mall in that it is a group of shops that have joined together into one “mall” on the Internet (more rv mattress info here). The difference between an online mall and a real world mall is that you are able to make purchases from several shops all at once in an online mall, whereas in a real world mall you have to make individual purchases from each shop.
Another positive bonus of an online shopping mall is that by shopping at one, all the shops that are part of the partnership may offer consumers the chance to participate in a loyalty program. This means that if you continue to buy at shops that are part of the online shopping mall, you will qualify for more loyalty points and thus receive a number of special offers, including cash back on your purchases, money off future purchases and special discount prices for loyalty program customers only.
One of the big positive aspects about an online shopping mall is that they still offer many of the features that you would use if you were simply shopping online. Some of the best offer users the chance to compare prices for an item across a variety of shops to ensure they are getting the best deal and with the cash back reward schemes, you are always earning money back with every purchase that you make, which makes shopping cheaper in the long term too. For a musician's beloved intrument i.e. their piano in this case, a properly fitting piano cover is not optional but rather mandatory if that music investment.
While online shopping is by no means an archaic way to shop, only having really taken firm hold in the 1990s, online shopping malls are an even younger way to purchase as customers and retailers begin to realise the added value for money by offering items as part of a larger group. This means that this is still an industry that is in its relative infancy and there is plenty of scope for the relatively few online shopping malls that exist today, to grow into much larger and even better value shopping opportunities. .
What are the drawbacks of an online shopping mall?
The only drawback of an online shopping mall for the consumer is that to take full advantage of any cashback offer or similar scheme, they are limited in their selection as to the partner companies that are part of that online shopping mall. As such, any purchases made outside of this group of companies would not qualify for the cashback offer and this can limit choice somewhat.
The implications of this are that by limiting who you can buy from, the consumer may in theory not be able to get the cheapest price possible.
However, this is alleviated somewhat by the fact that as a large group of companies come together under the same scheme, this gives companies more leeway to offer better and cheaper prices to consumers as they know as part of the rewards scheme, consumers have a very real reason to keep buying from their group.
What are the benefits of shopping in an online mall?
The benefits of shopping in an online mall are multi-faceted. Perhaps the most obvious benefit, which we have already touched upon, is the fact that by being part of the loyalty program, the customer gains a real benefit from purchasing within this group of companies, either in the form of cash back or money off certain products from each retailer.
Yet the benefits for the shopper are more than simply financial, having so many shops in one online mall means that the shopper spends more time shopping, rather than searching for shops online. This reduces time spent searching and makes the whole online shopping experience more efficient and streamlined.
By only having your credit card details registered with one online mall, you also reduce the risk of your financial details being compromised by hackers on other sites.
What does the future hold for online shopping?
In the future, it is likely that many more companies will realise the potential of offering an online version of a shopping mall, especially by joining together with other companies to provide an ‘all-in-one’ shopping experience online (cheapest WOW gold on this site). By sharing resources, companies can cut down on their Internet costs and, hopefully, pass on these savings to users in terms of stronger loyalty programs and also lower prices.
Online shopping is certainly here to stay and in these challenging times of global recession, it is certainly one of the most cost-effective ways to shop. While that remains the case, innovative ways to shop online that offer great value for money as well as convenience, such as an online shopping mall, will always remain popular both with retailers and customers.