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article imageInside the rise of online shopping

Today, mobile access to the Web has made electronic purchasing even easier and more convenient
Amazon.com, eBay, Craigslist and Google are now part of the everyday vocabulary in most developed countries. All have expanded from their early days servicing Web-surfing shoppers. Amazon.com progressed from a bookseller to a marketplace that includes their own “department store,” along with hosting other retailers. EBay has seen a similar evolution, shifting from an auction site to straight retail purchasing and acting as a mall to independent stores. Ticket resellers were the catalyst for the company’s purchase of StubHub, and eBay is also responsible for making PayPal the online system it is today.
Google’s shopping service is unique in that it is a specialty segment of the search engine, guiding potential buyers to a multitude of outlets — not all of which are Internet superstores. Google is great for small, specialty businesses to help grow their sales. Not only are these smaller retailers keeping their heads above water, more of them are cropping up and thriving.
"Online shopping is only getting more and more popular. Amazon, eBay and Google can't cover everything, so for other niche sites, the sky's the limit.” says Avo AdMarketList management.
AVO AdMarket & AdMarket List is an advertising and free classifieds platform. Advertising services are effective for businesses of all sizes and industry types as well as for individuals interested in utilizing Internet for buying and selling needs.
Each day, opportunities arise for entrepreneurs to take their product from the street to an electronic storefront. It’s always a challenge to compete with the big-box stores that encroach on a neighborhood, but there is money to be made online for those willing to try, especially for companies focusing on niche items.
Products such as vintage vinyl records, hand-crafted jewelry, collectibles, unique gadgets and other similar items could prove lucrative for sellers. Once they make a few sales to discriminating customers who spread the word about the store, they could be positioned to succeed.
The majority of retailers and some service providers see their largest sales figures during the winter holidays. The increasing use of smartphones and tablets is pushing these numbers higher. Gone are the days of running around on lunch hours; consumers can now buy their holiday gifts or hire a caterer from their phone, all while on the train home from work.
According to USA Today, U.S online shopping rose 10 percent to $46.5 billion in November and December of 2013. Meanwhile, sales at stores rose just 2.7 percent to $265.9 billion (ShoppersTrack data from 40,000 stores). The number of customers in stores dropped 14.6 percent.
The news from the U.K. mirrors this trend.
The Independent reported, “Web sales growth in December 2013 accelerated to 19.2 percent, the fastest rate for more than three years, while overall UK retail sales grew by just 0.4 percent on a like-for-like basis.”
So how do consumers find new places to shop? Print media’s role as an advertiser is fading in relevance. Television ads help some by including URLs, but the rise of PVRs enables ad-skipping.
It takes savvy businesses to identify their marketing needs and hire the right specialists to solve them. “Social Media Specialist” is a common position seen today in the classifieds. Even well-established online companies are admitting they need help in growing their clientele through Twitter and Facebook, Pinterest, etc. In fact, this is an area where small, independent retailers have, in many cases, gotten the jump on the “big guys.”
Kevin Jorgansen of Business2Community.com noted in an article about Facebook marketing in 2012: “The number of businesses who deem Facebook critical or important has increased 75 percent in the last three years.”
People who cut their teeth on Twitter and Facebook are leading today’s start-ups. They came into the game understanding the major marketing options they offered.
A great example of a mid-sized but niche company that has excelled at social media is Sephora. They identified the demographics of Pinterest users and marketed by targeting the appropriate customers on the social media site. They currently have over a quarter of a million followers. It’s an inspiring story for smaller retailers who are hungry to grow sales through social media and see comparable results.
The Internet is an international mall that is open 24/7 with merchandise to satisfy every consumer’s wants, needs and budget. Online shopping is here to stay, and the potential for current and new outlets to grow is limitless.
More about Online shopping, AdMarket List, Shopping, Ebay
 
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