The retail industry in the US is one of the biggest in the world, employing around 29 million people and creating sales of over $5 trillion in 2017. It’s not surprising then, that the nature of retail has become more and more competitive over the years, especially with a rise of online retail boosted by social media influence and interaction.
One of the main platforms for advertising, and in recent years selling too, is Instagram. With approximately 855 million users monthly, the photo-sharing site has a huge potential customer base, and brands have recognized this – there are over 25 million branded accounts on Instagram, and over 80% of users following at least one. This saturation has made the retail more accessible to more people, and therefore, there is increased competition for brands, both to gain interest but also to keep it, thanks to the constant creation of new content that may lead consumers away from their own posts.
Instagram Shop has also altered the online shopping game, as it is now possible to not only advertise but directly sell products in-app. Potential customers can see a brand’s post, head to their Instagram page to find out more, and then access an online shop to purchase and check-out, all without leaving the online webpage or app. This means the content posted online could really drive sales because a customer no longer has to actively choose to interrupt their activity to seek out an individual company’s site.
Another force behind modern retail competition is the introduction of price comparison sites, which are now available in many different sectors, from automobiles to online gaming. For a long time, companies could rely on brand loyalty to maintain customers, as many people would be introduced to services such as insurance, electricity, or internet via their family or friends, and stick with the brands that they have always used.
Thanks to comparison sites like this one for online casinos, customers/clients can now do more in-depth research about where they are spending their money and whether or not they are getting the best deal, as well as seeing what bonuses, offers and security different platforms can provide. This, of course, encourages brands to produce products and services with the most benefits for lower prices, and inevitably leads to competition between them.
One other factor that has led to more competition in the retail industry is that it is so vulnerable to trends. Whether you are selling clothing to furniture to technology, trends dictate where consumers will spend their money, so it is important to be on-trend or even ahead of them if possible. When a new trend becomes apparent, there is competition between brands to be synonymous with it, so that anyone wanting to be fashionable will go to them with their patronage. For example, being eco-friendly and sustainable has become really important to many consumers, and therefore companies whose products and services fit this description are more in-demand than those who don’t.
With technology developing every day, there is likely to be more and more changes in the retail industry that will determine the success or downfall of many brands.