By Otiende Linda
It is no doubt that online shopping has taken a heavy toll on physical store owners. Online shopping has become popular nowadays all thanks to sites like JUMIA that have been developed to meet all of a customer’s needs. Whether household items, clothing, electronic equipment; these sites have every item you need at the comfort of where you are. All this has been made possible as a result of the Digital Era that has seen a shift from traditional industry to an information computerized economy.
This Digital Era has been brought about by the network society which is associated with the emergence of a new technological paradigm and it has introduced quite a number of very significant changes in the way social agents produce, distribute and consume knowledge and information and has rapidly spread around the world.
This digital era has seen the introduction of gadgets e.g. tablets and smartphones that have made online shopping sites be easily accessible. In fact, research shows that mobile penetration in Kenya is among the highest in Africa www.jumia.co.ke/blog/ meaning that a number of people are always on their phones and as a result mobile shopping applications have been developed to enable customers’ access items from their phones.
This is an advantage because wherever you are you get to buy anything you need from your phone. Moreover, this shopping applications enable you to make informed decisions by comparing the price of items to others and this beats the idea of physically visiting a store.
In addition, the digital era has seen the development of social networks which has led to the immense use of these sites for online shopping. In fact, these sites target a larger audience and as a result most business owners have opted to go online. Social media has opened a platform for business starters to create pages that allow them sell their items online and this has seen quite a number of online shoppers opting to visit Facebook to buy items as opposed to physically visiting a store. As a seller, you post your items online and get friends to share and you get to reach a larger audience. In fact, there are already established pages that give sellers the opportunity to post their items online free of charge. These pages e.g. Kilimani Mum’s Market Place are quite the advantage because as a seller, you do not have to worry about online presence since the pages already have a huge following.
Moreover, these pages allow for customer engagement and online reviews from other customers concerning products posted for sale so you are sure of what you are buying.
The digital era has paved way for the development of creative websites that allow one on one chats with customers thereby providing firsthand information and customer feedback instantly.
For example Kilimall, a Kenyan online shopping site, allows for online interactive chats with customers and instant feedback is guaranteed.
Also, through digital video, advertisements and cartoon pop ups have been able to attract audiences everywhere and this plays a big role in terms of marketing and attracting customers to visit the online shopping sites.
The digital era has seen the development of the digital wallet, the latest digital payment technology; an innovation that allows a customer to pay, move money and manage loyalty points when shopping online. By using a mobile device or a computer you can purchase items online and this enables a customer to be in control of their payments on a daily basis.
There is no doubt that the digital era has seen online shopping grow exponentially all thanks to the innovation that has come with technology.
In fact, research predicts that in the next four years online shopping revolution will grow immensely and this growth will be driven by the increasing power of gadgets i.e. smartphones and tablets, which are currently boosting mobile shopping making retailers invest a lot on their digital operations.