Traditional commerce at a new crossroads

For some time now, media and experts are lavishing in endless discussions about certain aspects that influence trade. The possibility of recovery of the traditional business, the extension of the commercial hours of the physical stores to 24 hours, the security of the online purchase, among others.

But the main question to answer is: Why do small and medium-sized companies still not take advantage of the potential of the web and online commerce?

The data collected during the year 2011 can not indicate a clearer trend. Electronic commerce is the sector that has grown the most and, despite the crisis, has increased by around 30%, reaching a point of consolidation and maturity.

Transactions in the network registered only in the first half of 2011 amounted to 30.2 million euros. In this same period, the sector has invoiced more than 2,055.4 million euros. Internet users who buy within represent approximately 40% of the population and invoice around 817.9 million euros. Growth expectations are more than positive as it is expected that in 2015 the Internet contribution to GDP could reach 63,000 million euros.

Online stores are now open 24 hours a day without incurring higher expenses in rent, lighting, salaries or cleaning. Products and brands are available when we need them, with just one click and with permanent rebates 365 days a year.

Another fundamental advantage of electronic commerce is that which entails the possibility of deepening the customer’s knowledge and purchasing habits, generating personalized promotions and adjusting the offer to their needs and tastes. The new consumer, affected by the crisis and educated to the new technological changes introduced, is asking for more and more benefits when buying.

The competition of small retailers is not only formed by stores that occupy the same sidewalk, but by the large online sales portals that include brands and products of all kinds and with considerable discounts such as Amazon, CiudadMarket, BuyVip or eBay.

The platform CiudadMarket integrates the offer of shops by province and facilitates the comparison of quality and price between products and services of different brands and companies. The new challenge is the integration of physical and online store to offer a complete and satisfactory shopping experience.

This progressive change in consumer habits requires small businesses that can adapt to their new lifestyles and interact with them through social networks and mobile applications, which have multiplied in recent months. Thus, for example, the platform makes available to both businesses and users a social network of commerce and consumption for the exchange of opinions on products, shopping experiences and all kinds of advice and useful information.

This may be one of the solutions to the crossroads faced by SMEs and other businesses in our country. Response to the dilemma of opening hours and days and new consumption habits and paradigms that are slowly opening up, projecting, at the same time, a modern image of commerce and breaking down the barriers of location. Thus each shop can find a customer wherever there is an internet connection and a person interested in its offer.