The impact of information technology on human life and world progress is impressive, and it is necessary to understand which areas undergo considerable changes right now. The possibility of using such devices as smartphones and computers improves the quality of work and saves time in different spheres, including politics, management, and health care. However, online shopping is probably the most provocative idea for discussion because the debate between the benefits and shortages of online and brick-and-mortar stores never stops. This struggle is based on many factors, and the role of information technology is one of them. On the one hand, people are eager to make quick choices and focus on the areas of their interests, and online shopping is an excellent opportunity for them to buy everything, not changing their location. On the other hand, physical stores have their advantages and attract many people due to their accessibility and real communication. In this paper, the relationship between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail will be analyzed through the prism of information technology to identify the positions within the next 5-10 years.
Areas of Interest
Despite the fact that people believe that they know a lot about information technology, there are many aspects that remain poorly investigated and understood. Therefore, it is always interesting to dig into the past and get important lessons. The history of online shopping is traced back to the United Kingdom and the intention to expand the opportunities of the population. Within the next 20 years, similar attempts were made in the United States, and the introduction of Amazon by Jeff Bezos became the most remarkable event. From that moment, the concept of online shopping continued to grow, and today, people are able to research and buy products and services from any part of the world.
The digital era has already opened a variety of options for people to develop their businesses and make choices globally. At the same time, the brick-and-mortar retail industry undergoes considerable challenges not to lose its value among customers (Vojvodić, 2019). However, in the United States, the number of physical stores that have to be closed increased up to 4,300 in 201 (Russel, 2019). Still, there are shops that play a vital role in human life, and the struggle between online and brick-and-mortar stores continues, even under the influence of information technology.
Information technology is a process in terms of which information is stored, shared, and analyzed by means of computers. Information management aims to solve business problems, organize human activities, and develop new approaches for people to work. There are no specific goals that have to be taken into consideration and followed to utilize information technology, and the outcomes of its application depend on humans, their interests, and their needs. The advancement of information technology has already promoted the worth of online stores and challenged brick-and-mortar stores by underlining flexibility, marketing, and prices. Yet, the same technologies can be used to improve in-store experiences and make real-time shopping enjoyable and beneficial (Vojvodić, 2019). Regarding such options and the impossibility to predict the future, the development of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retailing may gain different forms. The only available step is to gather the opinions of experts, compare findings, and investigate the implication of information technology to business and human relationships.
The retail sector is never simple, and people who are involved in this business have to work hard and analyze all available options and recent achievements. Information technology contributes to operation management and the establishment of professional relationships with customers and sellers. In other words, it is possible to use different platforms and services to identify what people expect from a particular area or organization. According to Wertz (2019), in this digitalized world, people are interested in promoting their roles and becoming independent participants of business activities (i.e., self-service shopping, feedback, or multiple choices). They want to influence the working process and observe changes as per their recommendations or requests. Sometimes, companies are in need of such feedback to understand what has to be done to satisfy clients. There are also situations when it is hard to manage all ideas, and information technology is not properly applied.
One of the common tendencies people like to identify is the necessity to save time. They believe that it is faster to visit a website, observe services and goods, and make choices by clicking the button. It seems that offline retailing is dying, and its decline is hard to stop for the next five years (Russell, 2019). Online experiences vary, but its main benefits include cheap prices (no rent, licenses, and expensive equipment), comparison, and no crowd. It is easy to stay at home and order someone to deliver products or goods directly to homes. If the same tendency continues to develop and penetrates the lives of citizens, people may forget the basic principles of real communication within the next 5-10 years. A sedentary lifestyle could provoke serious health problems, and isolation turns out to be not an obligation but a habit. Therefore, there has to be an opponent to the e-commerce sector, and brick-and-mortar stores should participate in the battle and use information technology for good.
People like to visit brick-and-mortar stores for many reasons, and one of them is that they have seen an interesting advertisement and want to check new services. The competition between online shopping and brick-and-mortar stores can follow a new direction if offline sales are encouraged with the help of online experiences (Wertz, 2019). The digitalization phenomenon should not be considered as a serious threat to offline sales but a chance to improve something and strengthen the positions (Vojvodić, 2019). Social media, card systems, mobile apps, and web platforms are the elements of modern business, either online or offline. Russell (2019) admits that only 10% of sales are generated online. Instead of stepping back and thinking that online shopping is characterized by high ratings, brick-and-mortar sellers must reconsider their information technology opportunities.
There are many ideas and recommendations on how information technology users could promote the battle between online and offline stores. It is hard to predict the winners and losers, but the process should certainly attract many people’s attention. On the one hand, information technology is an obvious contributor to online shopping and other activities that may be promoted via the Internet. Social media services (Facebook or Instagram) are used to introduce new goods and explain how they can be developed within common environments. First online applications were introduced about 20 years ago and considerably influenced the style of life. Today, it is hard to impress the customer, and more attention is paid to the quality of services and the promotion of personalized retail experiences (Vojvodić, 2019). Therefore, no guarantees that information technology is a benefit for online retailers only can be given.
Brick-and-mortar stores are not always able to resist the power of online services and have to be closed or re-organized. Despite the desire to make observations and buy online, many people like to view and touch things before purchase, and showcases in stores are the best options (Wertz, 2019). Information technology can be effective in informing citizens, developing interesting invitations, and offering multiple sales systems. Due to the current coronavirus situation, millions of people have already experienced the positive and negative aspects of isolation and online services. Information technology helps deal with distant activities and obligations, but people are in great necessity of real communication and direct contact. Therefore, within the next 5-10 years, both types of stores could take leading positions and change them due to information technology impact.
In general, the impact of information technology on the development of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail activities cannot be neglected. People are in need of fast and high-quality services that may be organized online, regardless of the actual geographic locations. At the same, real-life communication, interpersonal relationships, and physical contact play an important role in human life. Information technology may change the way of how business is arranged but never change the attitudes people have toward shopping, cooperation, meetings, and traditions that shape their lives.
Russel, Cally. (2019). Can tech save bricks and mortar retail? Forbes. Web.
Vojvodić, K. (2019). Brick-and-mortar retailers: Becoming smarter with innovative technologies. Strategic Management, 24(2), 3-11.
Wertz, J. (2019). Digitizing brick-and-mortar stores can build the much-needed bridge between online and offline. Forbes. Web.