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Make your life easier with online shopping

The internet has ushered in countless new business models. All over the world, e-commerce has redefined what it means to shop. Here’s an overview of this burgeoning field.

Online shopping is gaining ground with Canadians. In fact, online sales have increased 17.4% in Canada between 2013 and 2014. It’s such a strong trend that one out of four Canadians say they are regular online shoppers.

They mainly buy clothing (42%), travel (41%), books (36%), concert tickets (31%) and electronics (31%).

Interestingly, they spend a significant portion of their money on Canadian sites. Canadian online shoppers spend an average of $375 on Canadian sites, compared with $150 on American sites.

Companies have taken notice of this business opportunity. Rather than simply mimicking brick-and-mortar stores, they have found clever ways to take advantage of e-commerce market shares. There’s been a surprising explosion in different online business models.

Here are three major e-commerce trends:

First and foremost: Save time!
“Successful e-commerce business models all have one thing in common,” suggests Frédérick Ranger, VP marketing at Mediative, a company specialized in digital marketing. “They give their customers more time. And in 2016, it’s a rare commodity!”

The solution: order something online or from your smart phone and get it delivered right to your door. Thursday night pizza, Christmas presents, kids’ clothes, groceries and more. In some US cities, you can get fresh produce delivered within hours.

Some businesses have found middle ground with in-store pickup. For instance, certain major Canadian chains now give customers the option to shop online and pick up their groceries in store. This way, you can avoid being disappointed by empty shelves at the supermarket!

Personalized products
Another big benefit of online shops is that, unlike brick-and-mortar stores, retailers don’t need a huge inventory. They can boost their offering without overstocking their shelves.

There’s also the opportunity to customize catalogues based on customer information (transaction and browsing data, previous purchases). When they visit a website, online shoppers will see the products they’re most likely to buy first. Welcome to shopping 2.0!

Another option is to let customers personalize their products. An example of this trend is the popular “bobblehead,” where you can order a figurine that looks just like you or a friend.

Surprise yourself
Sometimes there are too many options to choose from! Online shops have come up with a solution to this problem through discovery commerce. With this innovation, boxes are delivered periodically with different products each time, according to price and certain criteria.

“This fun concept is a nice way to create a loyal clientele that likes to discover new products,” adds Ranger. The idea is to surprise yourself instead of wasting time looking for something and coming up empty handed.

Examples include an assortment of designer-selected clothing delivered at the beginning of every season, or healthy and balanced snacks made by a local artisan.

The future is now
Retail commerce is changing at warp speed. Some new models seem to come straight out of a science fiction film: drone delivery, mobile payment in store (no waiting in line!) or intelligent products that return themselves to the supplier in case of defects.

There’s no doubt that these are innovative business models!

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