Since the inception of the internet, businesses have increasingly used it to boost their profiles, market new products, and services, and provide an alternative to in-store shopping. It has enabled companies to reach previously impossible countries without having a store there, allowing businesses to expand at a rate previously thought impossible. Needless to say, the internet has revolutionized many industries and subsequently the world by reducing the need to leave the house to buy things, making physical stores less important than they’ve ever been. Many of the most successful businesses on the internet don’t even have physical stores. Online stores like Amazon and eBay are good examples of this.
With companies across all industries closing stores due to dwindling footfall and increasing online activity, experts predict that many industries will be completely online by 2030. Here are a few of the most likely candidates.
The bookmaking industry is one where online migration started a long time ago. The introduction of smartphones and their applications opened up a range of new possibilities for the industry, making it easy for customers to place wagers or play their favorite casino-style games from the comfort of their homes. Bookmakers that previously relied on in-person custom now have websites and applications, often in many different countries, which has allowed them to expand to places where it would have been unfeasible to put stores.
So far, the industry has done a good job convincing customers to use online services through promotions and deals. Sports fans are regularly offered first-time customer deals such as deposit-free bets or moneyback guarantees. In contrast, fans of casino-style gaming can count on no deposit free spins and deposit matches. With sites like OddsChecker providing comprehensive lists of such offers, this kind of marketing has been very successful for the industry as a whole, leading many to predict that high street bookmakers will be obsolete by 2030.
Arguably one of the industries most suited to this online migration, gaming is an industry that hasn’t been afraid to use the internet to its advantage. Broadband internet speeds mean that most gamers now compete online against their friends and strangers all over the world in popular titles like FIFA and Call of Duty. Through platforms like YouTube and Twitch, players can now live stream or upload videos of themselves playing their favorite games, which has helped many build loyal fanbases and make millions.
However, the biggest impact the internet has had on the gaming industry has been seen in how games are purchased. In the past, gaming fans would be queued outside stores like GAME and GameStop days before the release of the latest games to ensure they got their hands on them first. These days, you don’t even have to leave your house to buy the latest games thanks to online services like Sony’s PlayStation Store, which allows users to purchase games via their console, PC, mobile phone, or tablet. This has caused thousands of store closures, which are showing no signs of slowing down, leading experts to predict that the end for these stores is imminent.
Clothing brands have, somewhat surprisingly, thrived in the online era, with some of the world’s biggest fashion brands leading the way. Gucci, Dior, and Louis Vuitton all have successful online stores that they use to showcase their latest designs, expanding their global customer base. It was previously believed that clothing would be one of the most difficult things to sell online due to many consumers’ preference of trying clothes on before buying them. For this reason, initially, only established brands like the ones mentioned above thrived online. Customers were familiar with the sizing and quality of their products, and customers could go to stores for any refund or exchange needs.
The introduction of completely online clothing retailers like ASOS, Zalando, and Boohoo changed the game in this respect by offering fast delivery, free returns, and more lenient refund and exchange policies. Other clothing retailers have followed suit, making online clothes shopping a more comfortable and convenient experience, which has led to fewer customers in high street stores. This has led to many store closures, and although some brands are trying to adapt by offering more enhanced in-store experiences, many more will close in the coming years.
Online food shopping has been around for many years, with companies like Ocado offering fresh food delivered to people’s homes for over a decade. It took a while for big supermarkets to fully take advantage of the internet. Although they offered home delivery via their websites, most stores were slow in getting goods to customers. Often only next working day delivery was offered. Slowly but surely, this has changed with many of these stores now offering same-day “click and collect” purchases that are perfect for busy people who haven’t got time to wait for deliveries at home.
More recently, the likes of Amazon have been offering same-day delivery on certain supermarket products, which has revolutionized shopping, leading many customers to stop using supermarkets altogether. Several websites and applications, like Glovo and Getir, now offer such deliveries within an hour, so we can expect the number of in-store supermarket customers to continue to decrease over the next decade.
The greeting card industry has been dwindling for a long time. The invention of mobile phones and their ever-increasing capabilities have given people new ways to say “Happy Birthday” or “Happy Holidays” to their loved ones. Social Media has also been a major factor, as many people choose to send these messages via WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Many websites offer fully customizable cards with fast delivery for those who still wish to send greeting cards.
Sites such as Funky Pigeon and Moonpig allow customers to create personalized cards with pictures and messages they choose. This has made high street greeting card shops obsolete, resulting in mass closures. As more people send their greetings digitally or via customizable cards, these stores will continue to close.
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