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Where does eCommerce negatively affect physical retail?

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Our world is constantly changing and it has always been the case; every year we see some new technological advancement that we’ve never heard of before. Innovation is driving growth and making progress. However, as things change, it brings new challenges in our need to change and adapt to these changes. If we don’t change to align ourselves with these changing aspects of our society then we risk remaining behind which can bear significant consequences for us. This is even more important for business, where the behavior, needs, and demands of customers are constantly changing; if a business is indifferent to the changing landscape of its field then it can struggle to meet the expectations of its customers and be left behind in the competition.

Ecommerce has seen rapid growth in the 21st Century owing to digitalization and the convenience associated with it. Furthermore, our lifestyle changes have also contributed to the growth of eCommerce. In this scenario, it remains of great interest to wonder what kind of industries have witnessed a decline in physical retail sales due to eCommerce. While it’s true that the sale revenue generated for each industry is divided into online and offline sales some industries have seen a more prominent shift in customers' preference toward online shopping. In this article, we’ll discuss them.

Impact of eCommerce on the Books and Publishing Industry 

The publishing industry is massive selling billions of books every year and generating great revenue. While the whole eco-system involves several roles from writer to editor and publisher to sellers the selling side has been most affected owing to eCommerce or more specifically physical retail selling. When we look at the buying journey of people interested in buying books it’s easy to understand why someone would prefer an online channel. But first, we need to see what someone buying a book considers when making a buying decision. Let’s see both

  1. The customer wants to know about the book summary to understand what the book is about and ascertain other information like the publisher or writer, version, and page count. All this and other information can be much more easily summarized and displayed online. This makes it easier for customers to browse books much more swiftly and enhances their experience by making it seamless to find the books with their criteria.

  2. When it comes to reviews books are among the top things where people refer to reviews before buying them. This is something that is completely absence from the physical bookstore. On the other hand, customer can read many reviews for a given book on the webstore before buying it and deciding if it matches their taste or not.

  3. Browsing books before buying is a common observance for book enthusiasts and online bookstores enhance this for their customers. In an online environment navigation tools such as book recommendations, more books from the same author, and suggestions based on the preferences of customers are presented enabling them to find books that interest them more conveniently.

  4. The shift towards digitalization has created a new format for consuming books – digital books. Like video streaming services this domain offers e-libraries of books for people where they can browse, buy or rent hundreds of titles, and read them on their e-readers instantly. Furthermore, many subscription-based allow enthusiast readers access to numerous titles against a monthly subscription fee saving them money while also providing them with the convenience of easier access to their books. Given such benefits, many readers have shifted their preference to e-reading, marking a decline in sales of physical retail book sales.

Impact of eCommerce on media & entertainment

Another area where physical sales have been affected is the media industry including both the print and digital media. We’re all witness to the decline of these two such as paper magazines, newspapers, CDs & DVDs. The reason for this decline is apparent like these products itself. Let’s see how.

  1. With the advent of digitalization, information is being generated and consumed at an unprecedented rate. This has significantly reduced our attention span and increased our curiosity to attain new information. This need to constantly be fed with new information has made physical newspapers & magazines somewhat less relevant in the world of the internet where the latest news finds its way to us in a matter of seconds. Consequently, while still in existence, newspapers are slowly being replaced by digital newspapers and news.

  2. Digital entertainment has also seen a prominent shift in its trade dynamics. The convenience offered by the media platforms aligns in perfect harmony with the needs of its consumers. For example, using video streaming services people can easily browse from thousands of titles and instantly watch their favorite movie or show. Compare this to traditional old ways of going to a movie shop to buy or rent the disk or waiting for it to get delivered. This phenomenon is not just limited to show biz but extends to many other domains of entertainment and digital media including such as games, software, and music.


As humans, we’ve always been on a journey to explore the possibilities of enhancing our lives with innovations to bring more conveniences into our way of life. However, that pushes old ways behind as society adopts these novel innovations attracted by the benefits they offer over their predecessor counterparts. Ecommerce has demonstrated the same in most of the business areas causing a decline in their physical retail operations. Consequently, many businesses have established online presence alongside their physical retail operation to prevent any losses resulting from this market shift. 

If you’re also looking forward to running a hybrid business then the x2xeCommerce can help you implement one by helping you create a webstore and integrating it with other business solutions to help you realize a unified business management system for a hybrid business. An example of an integration solution by the x2xeCommerce includes The x2xeCommerce RMH-Shopify integration solution. Reach out to the x2x team for any query or a free demo.



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