‘The E-Commerce Revolution: Impacts on Traditional Retail Spaces’

E-Commerce is an essential part of the fast growing digital world, where a mere click presents us to the storefront. This is the essence of e-commerce, also known as electronic commerce, which entails the use of the internet for trading goods and services, representing one of today's most prevalent methods of commerce. It is the fastest growing retail sector in the world where retailers sell their products online in the global market. E-commerce has changed the entire concept of retail and the consumer buying behavior. People are now opting more for the convenience and accessibility provided by e-commerce compared to traditional retail outlets. 

Recently, there has been a great downturn of physical stores with the change in consumers’ buying behavior and the growing trend of online shopping. These changes are the results of the convenience and time saving benefits offered by online retailers which have resulted in traditional retailers finding it difficult to retain their market share as the people are now increasingly turning to online shopping. This shift reflects the change in consumer preferences, which has become a big hurdle for the traditional retailers. The growing influence is prevalent not only in the consumer behavior but it can also be seen in the behaviors of the retailers who are now turning into online retailers. E-commerce brings many benefits along with it as It not only provides consumers with multiple options and saves time but also provides many benefits to the retailers. A retailer does not need to own a shop to sell online, which reduces the cost, thereby, e-commerce has been a revolution not only for the consumers but also for the traders.

Over the decades, e-commerce has gone through many changes widening its growth from being a market targeted only for certain sections to a common market for all goods. In the early 2000s e-commerce was at its initial stage with only a few people knowing it and some pioneering companies such as Amazon and eBay. Despite the presence of these big companies, e-commerce wasn't as popular. It was only with the growing influence of the internet and technology the popularity of e-commerce started taking pace. With the increasing use of the internet and improvement in digital literacy, people started knowing about the convenience provided by e-commerce. This era marked the beginning of a world where everything is made available to people at their doorstep, where a click takes one to the market. 

The unparalleled convenience offered by e-commerce is evident, enabling us to procure all our necessities with just a single click, whether it's groceries for our homes or various gadgets. The rising prominence of e-commerce is unmistakable when considering the influence of companies like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, and others, which have become household names. Moreover, the increasing number of startups entering the e-commerce arena underscores its expanding sway.

Amazon stands out as a prime example of e-commerce's burgeoning influence, emerging as one of the foremost players in the industry despite lacking physical storefronts. Research indicates the staggering impact of Amazon: in 2021 alone, small- and medium-sized businesses operating on the Amazon platform exported over 225 million products, resulting in international sales surpassing $2 billion. Furthermore, the volume of transactions conducted by Amazon throughout 2021 is astounding, with shoppers purchasing approximately 3.9 billion products over the course of the year – equivalent to around 7,500 items per minute. These statistics underscore Amazon's remarkable success and influence within the e-commerce realm, underscoring its potential to shape the future of retail.

The traditional retail business has faced great competition since the introduction of e-commerce. E-commerce platforms offer people convenience, affordable prices, the ability to compare products, and time-saving benefits. This makes it difficult for traditional retailers to keep up with these advantages. Additionally, the shift in consumer behavior in this digital world has brought many challenges to traditional retailers. Nowadays, people prefer to browse and compare products online, not typically offered by traditional retailers. To keep up with the growing competition, numerous retailers are moving towards online retail channels, expanding their reach by showcasing and selling their products on the internet.

In conclusion e-commerce is a transformative force which has reshaped the world of trade and commerce. The rapid growth of e-commerce and the ability to adapt to the changing world has made ecommerce popular among the people. It has removed political boundaries and made it possible for people to access products internationally. The convenience offered by e-commerce has provided people with opportunities to make informed judgements by comparing various products before choosing one. Though traditional retailers are facing numerous challenges with the growing popularity of e-commerce, it also provides them the opportunity to adapt to it by understanding the changing consumer preferences. 

While e-commerce presents many hurdles to traditional retails, it also provides new avenues for development. By embracing these hurdles and using the technology retailers can use it as an opportunity to attract more customers and increase their sales. The future of e-commerce will be filled with more innovations and adaptability. Though e-commerce is at its peak and is a hurdle to traditional retail, yet traditional retails will continue to exist even in the future, even when people prefer online shopping more yet they continue to buy products in the physical marketplace. Thus, the co-existence of both e-commerce and brick-and mortar stores is a must to keep a balance in the market. 

Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editorial team includes Chubamenla, Asst. Professor Dept. of English and Rinsit Sareo, Asst. Manager, IT, Media & Communications. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org