The Rise Of Online Shopping And Its Effect On Brick-And-Mortar Retailers

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By Marilyn Royce

The rise of online shopping has been a game-changer for retail, transforming the entire industry in under two decades. From the convenience of being able to shop from home rather than leaving the house, to having access to products worldwide, online shopping has revolutionized the way we access and purchase goods. But what has been the effect on traditional brick-and-mortar retailers? 

In this article, we explore how online shopping has impacted the traditional retail landscape and how some retailers are adapting and evolving to remain competitive. 

1. Online Shopping And Convenience 

One of the biggest benefits of online shopping is convenience and the access to a wide range of products available at the touch of a button. People no longer need to leave the house to purchase items and can get them delivered directly to their door, saving them time and money. Plus, shoppers can compare prices, read reviews and research products, right from the comfort of their own home. 

Moreover, online shopping has become even more attractive due to the increase in the availability of free returns from retailers. This has given shoppers the confidence to purchase items without fear of being stuck with something they don’t like, as they can return it for no extra cost.

2. Emergence Of Delivery Services

In addition to the convenience of shopping online, in many places delivery services have also played a key role in the rise of online shopping. 

The introduction of services such as Amazon Prime and other same-day delivery services mean that shoppers can get items in no time at all, cutting the time to delivery from days or even weeks to merely hours.

3. Low Prices

Online retailers can often offer lower prices than brick-and-mortar stores due to reduced overhead costs. 

This has had a huge effect on the traditional retail sector, with shoppers lured in by the promise of lower prices away from the traditional high street.

4. Greater Variety

Online stores can generally offer shoppers a greater variety of products than traditional stores, due to the low overheads associated with digital inventory. 

This means that shoppers can access products that may not be available in their local area and make online shopping an increasingly attractive proposition.

5. Increased Accessibility

Online retailers have opened up the world of shopping to people with mobility issues or disabilities, as they are able to shop at any time of day or night, from the comfort of their own home. 

This has meant greater accessibility to products and a wider range of choices for customers.

7. Loyalty Programs 

Many online retailers also now offer rewards and loyalty programs which encourage shoppers to keep coming back again and again by offering discounts and other incentives. 

Many brick-and-mortar retailers are now adopting this model, as shoppers like to have the opportunity to be rewarded for their loyalty.

8. Personalization

Online retailers are now offering customers more personalized experiences through the use of technology. For example, they can integrate customer journey data and personal preferences to deliver a more tailored shopping experience to customers. 

This level of personalization offers shoppers a wider range of options and helps to keep them engaged and build lasting relationships.

9. Social Retail

Internet businesses are already starting to use social media’s potential to give customers a more engaging buying experience. 

Companies are incorporating social components into the purchasing process to give customers a collaborative and connected buying experience. Customers are kept interested in the brand longer as a result, which boosts loyalty and social reach.


Online shopping has drastically altered the retail landscape in recent years and continues to evolve. From the convenience of being able to shop from home instead of leaving the house, to enjoying cost savings and free returns, shoppers are reaping the rewards of going digital. Traditional retailers are having to adjust to this new landscape and find ways to remain competitive. Solutions range from the implementation of loyalty programs and personalization, to social shopping and increased accessibility. It will be interesting to see how the industry develops as the sector continues to change shape.