The online world has exploded since the internet became an essential part of home life in the early 2000s.
Initially just a realm where people could chat and play online multiplayer games, it has exploded into almost every aspect of life. One of the biggest explosions has been in the world of online commerce.
The online commerce world has made life so much easier over the last 20 years that it has become an intrinsic part of life. It has come to the point where online sales are growing year upon year. Data released by the UK Office of National Statistics reveals that in 2013 online sales made up 10.4% of all retail sales in the UK, by 2017 this has grown to 16.3% and is predicted to rise even further in the coming years.
This level of growth and increase in importance of the online world and e-commerce has lead to a large number of businesses expanding their operations online. While many companies are still maintaining brick and mortar operations, they are supplementing this with a strong online presence. It is an essential aspect of competing in the modern world of business.
Retail is one of the industries where the move to the online world has been significant. “offline” fashion brands for example, are facing such an intense competition from online only businesses like “Asos” that they must provide an online alternative to their customers.
That’s why “Marks & Spencer”, for example, are shifting their efforts to the online world by investing in their app and website, while reducing their offline stores space. The fashion brand “Next” announced that it will spend 10 million pounds to improve its online operations. Other UK fashion brands are also investing their efforts in their online presence.
The gambling industry has also made a huge shift to the online world and was actually one of the first industries to recognize its potential. Online gambling industry more than doubled in size in the past 7 years.
And although this trend initially started by business entities dedicated to the online world, the huge offline casino brands discovered the potential in the online world and expanded their operations to it. This allowed them to reach a huge customer base that was unavailable to them offline.
Take for example the American Casino Winstar World Resort, located in Oklahoma USA. Until recently it could only cater to customers physically arriving at the casino itself. With the geographic restrains of having to reach Oklahoma, it’s obvious that the casino could only reach a fraction of the global casino market potential. A few months ago it launched its online casino, also called Winstar. The new Winstar Casino is available to all UK players, which means that now the Winstar brand has reached millions of potential customers it could not reach without its online presence.
But it’s not just the e-commerce aspect of having an online presence that is important. The introduction of social media advertising over the last decade means that having a successful online presence is a vital aspect of not just making sales but building brand awareness and loyalty and bringing in new customers.
Wendy’s Hamburgers in America, for example, experienced a huge success with its social media activity, especially on Twitter. This was one of the main reasons for the company’s increase in sales to the point where they hit $10 billion for the first time in their history in 2017.
It’s obvious by now that almost every business, big or small must make the best of the opportunities the online world presents. Otherwise they will be left behind those business who will do just that.