Shopping is a common week-end activity for almost any average family in a big Russian city. Of course, they first of all shop staples like food, detergents and other daily needs. Also, many do not miss the chance to dress up renewing both the wardrobe and adding something new for the pocket (a gadget), the bag or the briefcase (some business accessories) or equip the apartment with new furniture and appliances. This is the consumer basket a family looks for in a shopping center because it is one place that sells everything of the above.
Russia has a long history of shopping centers or malls. The end of XIX century saw the creation of first shopping center: the Passage in St. Petersburg and GUM in Moscow. However, they began to soar a bit later in the early noughties in all major Russian cities.
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The basic concept of a shopping center is inspired by hosting all popular retail stores in one building (or a group of buildings) and providing visitors with comfort leisure and recreations like restaurants, cinemas, attractions, skating rinks and many more.
Yet, shopping centers are not a positive thing in every aspect. It is obvious that the majority of malls house the same retail chains. Disguised by numerous brand names, many retail points of sale in shopping centers occupy several pavilions or whole levels. Modern shopping centers are specifically designed for particular brands that will occupy the most convenient and beneficially located pavilions. Shopping centers also decrease the number of visits to regular stores outside the mall. All this leads to the growth of rent in malls and, consequently, reduces opportunities for start-ups.
Growing number of Internet users leads to a boom of online stores. Competition is pretty tough there, too. However, any enterprise can conquer the preferable niche online.
Today, designing an extensive, modern and streamlined website readily facing the competition is not a big deal. Such a site says nothing on how many people operate the company: is it a one-person business or a big chain? But do we really need to know that? A customer cares to buy good quality for a reasonable price. The size of the store or its location does not really matter. In most cases, the purchased item is delivered by courier to the location of the customer.
Having an online store is the best way for modest businesses to compete with biggest resellers.
The key thing is to build customer trust by providing high-quality service, delivering on time, hiring a reliable and customer-oriented delivery provider, and helping customers in case of misunderstandings. Must-have features of an online store include goods comparison, product offerings, product split to categories, product descriptions and discussions, and the ability to process bank card payments.
Instant purchase is the main advantage of an online store compared to a POS in a shopping center. In this regard, customers must be guided to your website or browse it on purpose to buy something. To shop online, they do not need to drive, find a place in the parking lot, queue and learn about the advantages of a product made-up by an unskilled salesperson. The customer must get hooked by the interface of the website, product descriptions and photos. The customer must feel the product or virtually touch it as if it were on the shop counter.
The customer might not even need to buy the product: he or she might have the previous version of the same gadget, a similar-looking short, perhaps of a slightly different color, and the selected boots might be the tenth pair in a row, or another bag perfectly matching the high leg boots to complement with the recommended scarf.
New outfit impresses nobody these days because it is not the product, but the positive buying emotion that is shopped.
Сегодня новинкой никого не удивишь: ведь продается не товар, а положительная эмоция от самой покупки.