The world of consumerism is quickly evolving into something dramatically different. The Internet has opened a significant door to a new way of doing almost everything. If you want any credibility as a business, you are almost required to have a website. Many stores depend on Internet users as their primary or even sole source of income. Others have significantly lost business because of Internet access. Let's look at some of the ways that the Internet has changed buying and selling.
More online purchases. Shopping online is quickly becoming a trend all over the world. It provides the convenience of browsing and surfing at home at all hours of the day and having items sent straight to your home. It provides a larger variety and availability of products and the competition of sellers all over the country instead of the limited markets in their area.
More selling online. Many stores highly depend on their online sales and encourage their shoppers to visit their website. Some stores and individual sellers depend on the Internet altogether to make a profit, as the Internet has significantly broadened their market. To sell online, all you need is products or services, a website, and online advertising. To have a physical store, you need all that plus a building to display your items, an area market that has a considerable interest in your products and services, and local advertising. This is a lot of and expense for an entrepreneur to handle. Anyone trying to start up a local business selling handmade items, antiques, and other unique products can barely survive in a local market-especially in a poor economy. And many of them don't.
Less local purchases. As you can imagine, more online shopping means less need for local purchases. Small town markets that at one time were the sole provider of products to their community are now losing business to online shopping of larger businesses that can offer the same products for less.
Less local services needed. Many local businesses' profits have wained, like the local post offices and libraries, who provide services that are now done online. Email and websites have replaced letters, bills, catalogs, magazines, and other advertising that at one time was always sent by mail. Online encyclopedias and research resources and used book stores, websites like Netflix and Hulu that make it possible watch movies instantly make trips to the local library less necessary. Newspapers are now simply a slow, limited, and more expensive way to get news and entertainment, with the plethora of news, sports, celebrity gossip, and other entertainment-both local and worldwide-that is available on the Internet, who needs that folded up paper on the front porch?
Changes are and will continue to happen because of Internet services. Many of them are improving our world, others are bringing the end to things that we probably thought would always be around. Those that are able to adapt and grow with rise of Internet usage will sustain themselves, and other have and will see an end to their businesses.