How has technology changed the shopping process?

When we think of how technology has changed the way of living for billions of people, one industry that adapts to the ever-growing technological world would be the retail industry. The newspaper may be an obvious industry that has changed drastically with the new development of technology, but the retail industry can also be seen as constantly changing and being affected by technology. With the introduction of online shopping, the sales in retail stores have dropped and consumers have turned to the Internet for better choices of products as well as better prices and this has resulted in companies changing their work system.

Before the introduction of the Internet and online shopping, consumers would go directly to stores to purchase their goods, but as technology is becoming more advanced, companies have created online websites where their customers can scroll through their selection of goods, purchase those that they like, and possibly save money. The Internet has become a platform for individuals to buy and sell items and this has left retail stores trying to compete against these online websites. With the sales of these retail stores going down, an option that many stores has taken to try and reduce as much loss as possible is to substitute human cashiers with self-checkout machines (Jackson, Parboteeah, & Metcalfe-Poulton, 2013).  The increase in these self-managing computers is said to be a result of the increase of labour costs and the innovations in technology. Companies that have self-checkout machines profit in the sense that they do not need to constantly hire staff as well as worrying about being short-staffed during peak hours. The self-checkout machines inside retail stores are an example of self-service technologies and the range of self-service technologies include telephone banking, e-learning, information searching, and the main topic of this essay: online shopping.

The last decade, there has been a growth in internet shopping as well as an increase in the level of competition within the cyberspace realm (Mutaz, Al-Debei, &Ashouri, 2015). There has been a significant increase in the number of people using the Internet. This revolutionary technology has impacted people’s lives in many ways. It has also impacted businesses. The internet has come together with different aspects of technologies in order to create a user-friendly platform that allows users to not only view things online, but to purchase them as well. Online shopping has many benefits including the enabling of customers to be able to purchase goods at any given time without leaving their home. Secondly, online shopping can result in the customer saving money, time, and effort. Third, online shopping does not restrict the consumer to certain qualities, for example, online shops may have certain collector’s items that in-stores do not have (Mutaz, Al-Debei, &Ashouri, 2015). Customers no longer have to leave their house to shop for clothes or books. It is as easy as ordering delivery pizza.

As can be seen in today’s industry of publishing, there is an increase of online publishing. Traditionally, we see publishing as a complex and long process. The duration from the beginning of sending in manuscripts to putting the books on the shelf can be seen as a lot longer than online publishing. Traditional book publishing has to go through steps of having manuscripts submitted, edited, discussion of the appearance of the book, financial issues between the book, author, and publishing house, as well as marketing plans (France, 2005). With the introduction of the Internet and online shopping, traditional publishing has moved on to being published online as well. E-books have become popular and can be purchased through online applications as well as online stores like Amazon or eBay. This company that specializes in long tail covers a good percent of the sales of books, traditional and online. This results in a downfall of sales in traditional publishing houses and book stores (Morrison, 2011).  Since books can be purchased through online platforms, many consumers choose to buy books online and get them shipped to their home. Also, a lot of what traditional publishing houses have to offer can now be found online for free. Content can be distributed to consumers for a price that is a lot less than in stores (Morrison, 2011).

Comparing the publishing industry to the retail industry, we can see that there are many similarities. First off, the online shopping industry has taken over the process of going to the store, picking out items, and taking it up to cashiers for payment. Traditional book publishing can be seen as being very similar where authors no longer go to an agent to submit their manuscript. Agents do not need to be in the middle anymore. Online book publishing can be done by the author or writer themselves without actually having a third person in-between (France, 2005). Second, because of online shopping websites, the sales of retail stores have dropped and it has resulted in the elimination of staff or the closing of stores. The same could be said for the publishing houses. The demand for agents has dropped and because books can be published online now and may be even sold for free, traditional bookstores have also slowly started to close down. Big book companies like Chapters may still have lots of power, but small individually owned bookstores have less popularity. These traditional publishing companies’ margins have decreased because of the popularity of e-books (Shatzkin, 2015). Third, the introduction of online shopping as well as online publishing has allowed its consumers to have more control and power over their actions. Online publishing is great for writers and authors because they do not need agents to mingle their way to publishing houses. Writers can create articles and publishing them online all by themselves. It is also a lot cheaper. Online shopping allows consumers to choose what items they would like and they have the power to also create websites to sell products. Consumers do not have to just be consumers. They can be sellers as well and the online platform has created this opportunity to be their own boss. Lastly, being online for both industries has created an interactive communication between the writer (seller) and the reader (buyer). This is important as it allows the writer (seller) to explain things or receive feedback from its readers (buyers) so that there can be improvements made (Nusair & Parsa, 2011), but the process between the two industry is still something that should be worked on.

In conclusion, technology has created a whole other platform for consumers to consume. It has made the process of purchasing goods and creating goods to be easier and more convenient. The online process for both these industry has created an outlet for many people to become publishers or sellers. They are able to have power over what they produce and give out to its consumers. Technology, in this sense, has improved the process of online consumption and allows individuals to be the creator.   

 References

France, C. (2005). A case study of a pop culture book: From concept to completion. CCSP Press.

Jackson, T., Parboteeah, P., & Metcalfe-Poulton, S. (2013).  The effects of consumer personality types on the attitudes and usage of self-checkout technology in the retail sector among 18-22 years old. Canadian center of science and education.doi:10.5539/ijms.v6n2p15

Morrison, E. (2011, August 22). Are books dead, and can authors survive? The guardian.Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/aug/22/are-books-dead-ewan-morrison

 Mutaz, M., Al-Debei, M., & Ashouri, A. (2015). Consumer attitudes towards online shopping.Internet research. 25(5). P. 707-733. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IntR-05-2014-0146.

 Nusair, K., & Parsa, H. G. (2011). Introducing flow theory to explain the interactive online shopping experience in a travel context. International journal of hospitality & tourism administration. 12(1). P. 1-20. doi: 10.1080/15256480.2011.540974.

Shatzkin, M. (2015, June 11). The publishing business as we have known it is not going away anytime soon. The Shatzkin files. Retrieved from http://www.idealog.com/blog/the-publishing-business-as-we-have-known-it-is-not-going-a\n\nway-anytime-soon/

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    Lisa Amanda
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    Steven Martin
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    Juan Pablo Alperin
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    This essay is suffering from a lack of organization of the author's ideas. As she demonstrates in the second to last paragraph, she has some clearly defined points of comparison between the publishing and retail industries, but these ideas are never clearly articulated in the earlier portions of the essay. Instead, the essay offers a set of conversations about different changes in both industries, but never in a way that brings them together. This is unfortunate, since the author has identified some interesting points that would have been engaging to explore further.

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