The retail crisis is now at its worst point since 2008, the height of the recession. Big and iconic brands that have been established for over a century in some cases have revealed damaging struggles. John Lewis, founded in 1864, recorded a profit slump of 99% and has been forced to schedule closing down some of its shops in the UK.
Debenhams is another retail brand that has had to consider closing up to 50 stores, affecting over 1,200 employees. Ultimately the retail giant is now only worth £20 million, against £900 million in 2016. A dramatic action has become unavoidable.
More recently, it was the turn of Boots to announce the future closure of some of its shops within the next few years. In other words, the retail crisis is real and seems to be going out of hand. Landlords meet up with retailers who ask them to take back the keys of their worst-performing sites and begging for a rent cut on the shops they are trying to maintain.
But shoppers seem surprisingly unfazed by the changes. Shops are closing everywhere, and yet, shoppers don’t worry about finding the next gadget or fashion item. Indeed, the main reason why the retail crisis doesn’t scare shoppers is that most of them don’t shop in stores. They prefer the comfort of online shopping.
E-commerce is increasing
Indeed, why the retail sector is going through the worst crisis of the century, e-retail is growing in popularity. For many buyers, online shopping is the way to go for practical reasons. Indeed, in a world where everybody and their dog owns a smartphone and a laptop, online savviness is an integral part of our lifestyle.
People know how to recognise a safe site – it takes only a glance to spot the secure padlock in the URL field. Additionally, everybody is familiar with online payment procedures.
There is no fear of online transactions as users are experienced enough to identify potential risks. As a result, online shopping has become natural. You only need to sit down on your sofa with your favourite device and a reliable broadband connection, and you can shop everything you need in a matter of clicks!
More importantly, there’s a variety of choices you wouldn’t find at your local shopping centre. You can compare brands and products simultaneously, view thousands of items without moving. But all this savviness comes at a cost. The day of an online shopper doesn’t involve any movement aside from the click of a button. Are our shopping habits making us lazy?
The main argument for e-commerce proves we’re not lazy
People love e-commerce because of its practicality. You can shop from anywhere, on the go even, using any Internet-connected device. For someone who is trying to make the most of their time, it’s a non-negligible advantage. Time, as it happens, is of the essence.
Indeed, e-shoppers reject shopping trips because they are time-demanding. In a society where 9 out of 10 admit dragging themselves to work when they feel sick and maintaining their long working hours discipline, it’s easy to understand why e-commerce is so popular.We work too much, and therefore we don’t have enough time to support local retailers.
Automated marketing indicates people hate extra work
Online shopping doesn’t only offer a valuable time-saving alternative. More and more brands have introduced marketing strategies that do the hard work for their customers. Automated email campaigns, for instance, are designed with a workflow automation software tool that guides customers through decisions.
As a result, users are spared the research and thinking process. The tool registers their interests and answers to send the appropriate communication campaign. Google Remarketing campaigns on Adwords follow a similar principle.
Using data, AdWords targets previous visitors to the site to help them make a purchase decision. Automated communication workflows and remarketing campaigns are among the most effective marketing activities.
However, one can’t help but wonder whether the high conversion rate is an indication of our laziness. Are we more likely to respond positively because we don’t need to think or research our next steps or are we genuinely interested in the offer that is made?
Why is there no autofill on the transaction form?
Online forms are the enemy of lazy users. They require a large amount of information, which users are not always ready to share. However, most of the reasons we name for abandoning online forms can refer to a form of laziness.
From the form being too long to questioning whether all data is necessary, businesses have to deal with abandoned forms on a daily basis. Many have learned the lesson and shortened the data collection step. But, when it comes to the transaction process, abandoned forms beg the question: Are they too much work to fill out?
When you can pick the item you want with a click, filling a form can feel like a time-demanding task, especially if the site doesn’t use autofill functions.
Is laziness making us impatient?
The process of buying online can be simplified to a couple of actions. Amazon, for instance, as a click to buy setting that, combined with the same-day delivery option, creates a sensation of instant gratification. To paraphrase Caesar’s famous ‘veni, vidi, vici’, modern shoppers are all about ‘click, buy, get’.
Online shopping offers a rapid process between click and purchase. However, customers are growing impatient with delivery delays. Nobody wants to wait more than a day to receive their parcel.
We can’t stop shopping online
There is no denying that e-commerce has created a new way of shopping that forever transforms shoppers’ behaviours. While we have grown used to brands working hard to keep us engaged and entertained, it’s impossible to know whether our Keep It Simple attitude is a sign of laziness or a result of our hectic lifestyle.
We have, ultimately, less time available outside of the office. As a result, shopping is bound to occur primarily online . However, it doesn’t mean we are effective and rapid shoppers. The majority of online buyers don’t know what they want. Purchases occur through browsing, aka our time-saving online shopping is the result of digital idleness.
Is e-commerce practical because we don’t have enough time to think and choose in physical shops? Or is it training us to think and research less? The debate is still open. However, if keeping e-commerce a joyful experience means reducing the need for users to think, it’s probably time to take back control of our mind!