Could online shopping be ruining the American economy as we know it?
According to the latest research, even the most obscure industries — like health and beauty, for example — are being uprooted by small businesses that have capitalized on the growing trend of e-commerce. Business Insider reported that subscription services for household items have begun to skyrocket among American consumers; everything from razors to shampoo can be reordered automatically and shipped to a customer’s front door.
It seems that the main advantage of subscription services for everyday items is mere convenience. Much like online shopping in general, consumers are valuing the convenience of shopping in one’s pajamas on a Sunday morning, or during their lunch hour.
As more businesses are starting to discover, a surprising force is behind this trend: social media websites.
When it comes to e-commerce, the main benefit of social media for businesses hovers around branding and customer engagement. As Business News Daily reported recently, 90% of e-commerce businesses are on Facebook, 70% are on Twitter, and over 40% use Instagram and/or Pinterest. While promoting the business’s brand is incredibly easy on social media, businesses also have unprecedented and direct access to potential customers.
More importantly, the access is made possible through networks of online entertainment and social engagement, which feels less intrusive than traditional advertising.
Pinterest, which users often describe as a digital corkboard for “pinning” inspiration and favorite pictures, has become the most recent example of the direct access that businesses have to customers. The website recently added a “Buy It Now” button which sends users directly to a company’s official website where they can purchase a dress, for example, or maybe a holiday decoration they saw, liked, and pinned.
As Business 2 Community reported, this one small button has turned simple pictures into “buyable pins” and has provided two services which benefit both the merchants and consumers: the merchants win over more customers, and the consumers don’t have to waste time finding the business’s website to make a purchase. With social media sites making advancements like this, it’s no surprise that American businesses generate about $1.2 million every 30 seconds through e-commerce sales.
So, is online shopping ruining valuable industries, or merely proving to be advantageous for those that have embraced e-commerce and social media?