Is E-commerce Going to Replace Traditional Retail?

Undoubtedly, e-commerce has been on the rise, with more and more consumers turning to online shopping for their needs. More businesses are also now turning to Shopify e-commerce SEO experts to increase their online visibility and web traffic to boost sales.  

This shift has led many to wonder if traditional retail is going to be replaced by e-commerce entirely.

The advantages of traditional retail over e-commerce

Let us first look at some of the benefits of traditional retail over e-commerce. 

Brick-and-mortar stores offer the ability to physically see and touch products before making a purchase. They also allow consumers to speak with knowledgeable sales staff who can answer any questions. These create a positive consumer experience, encouraging them to return and shop again. 

Moreover, traditional retail lets consumers make payments directly to a cashier instead of going through an online system that may not be secure or might have issues that result in delays or forfeitures of the purchase. Consumers also take home their purchases immediately, without worrying about lost packages and tracking the delivery.

A retail outlet also provides consumers with more product ideas and options while giving the business more opportunities to showcase and sell what it offers. For example, if a consumer visits a shop to buy a travel backpack, the shop could have a ready display of the backpack and other related items that the consumer might also need in travel. 

As a result, the shop sells more than just a travel backpack, and the consumer goes home satisfied with a new bag and other necessary items for travel that could have been missed if the shop did not suggest them on its display.  

How e-commerce measures up to those advantages and does more

E-commerce, as an industry, has been evolving and has continuously found ways to make shopping just as easy and satisfying as, if not more than, shopping in brick-and-mortar shops. 

To provide the same experience in a store, some e-commerce businesses have adopted Augmented Reality (AR). It allows consumers to try on or test a product virtually. 

In some cases, AR can provide an even better experience than traditional retail shopping. When shopping for furniture, for example, AR allows consumers to visualize the item inside their home. They can see how its colors and texture may blend with their home’s interior and how much space it would occupy. 

With regard to payment security, more and more consumers have become comfortable. They feel more secure making online payments, so making payments upfront in traditional retail may not have a strong pull as before. In fact, the government has also been working on strengthening and improving the digital payment processes in the country. 

Same-day or next-day shipping has also become a trend in e-commerce. While the standard delivery time ranges from three to five days, many shops can now deliver within the day or the next day. Moreover, some shops indicate a specific number of delivery days as a buffer but still deliver on the same day or the next day, increasing customer satisfaction. 

Product suggestions in online shops are the e-commerce versions of a traditional retail shop’s product display. The “You may also like” phrase followed by a series of products related to the ones purchased or viewed by consumers plays the important role of promoting and marketing other offerings that could make it to the shoppers’ carts. 

There are other advantages that e-commerce has over traditional retail. A customer base with no geographical limitations, a shop open 24 hours a day, and a broader marketing reach are just a few. On top of these, businesses adopting a store-to-web expansion and following Shopify e-commerce SEO best practices reap even bigger benefits from operating online shops. 

No wonder e-commerce in the Philippines is expected to become a 15-billion dollar industry in 2025 despite the expected economic headwinds. 

The current status

Philippine e-commerce is among the fastest growing in Southeast Asia, and with the government supporting it, it is likely to get stronger and stick around for a long time. Its list of advantages just keeps getting longer, and there are rising technologies that will be adopted by e-commerce businesses soon enough. 

Now is an excellent time to take more giant steps to scale your business, whether you’ve just begun adopting e-commerce or you’ve been in the e-commerce scene for a long time. Talk to Shopify partners in the Philippines who can help you achieve your goals, grow your business, and create an impact in the e-commerce scene. 

The verdict

Overall, e-commerce seems to be taking over the country. The number of online sellers and shoppers is increasing exponentially, the government is aiming to boost e-commerce sales, and more Filipinos are starting to embrace digital payments. Small and medium enterprises can open online businesses without having brick-and-mortar stores. 

All of these point to the likelihood that it will replace traditional retail as top brick-and-mortar stores in the country are now strengthening the e-commerce efforts

And yet, traditional retail is still here to stay. It may have struggled during the pandemic, but there will always be consumers who will want to go to a physical store for the experience, a change of scenery, or simply in loyal support of a brand or shop. 

When restrictions were lifted in the country and malls reopened, consumers flooded shopping establishments and made a family trip out of grocery shopping. It is still observable, especially now that the holidays are fast approaching. E-commerce is innovative, convenient, and efficient, but a customer in-store experience is still unique. 

In short, e-commerce will not wholly replace traditional retail. As of now, it is growing fast and seems to leave retail stores lagging behind, significantly impacting the retail industry as a whole. But instead of replacing traditional retail, it is more likely to be integrated with it in the future, creating seamlessly synergized shops that grow and sell in both channels. 

Make your business scalable and ready for this evolution. Talk to a Shopify e-commerce SEO expert now.

Peachie Garcia