Online Stores Ready for a Facelift

When you think about it, online shopping is a pretty new development. Just a few short years ago, even the most internet-savvy consumer would have been hesitant about buying anything other than a computer online. We all love to be able to thoroughly inspect things before we buy them (granted, half the time we have absolutely no idea what we’re looking at), so the concept of buying something that you can’t see or touch was a little disconcerting. However, times are changing, and people are now buying more than just electronics online; buying travel tickets and booking hotels online have become commonplace, and last year apparel and accessories beat out computer hardware and software as the top non-travel markets in online retail. In fact, online apparel sales went up 61% in 2005 to a total of $18.3 billion dollars — almost double the total from 2003.

A large part of the increase in popularity of online shopping is due to the fact that people have access to more detailed information regarding various products online. Five years ago, you were lucky if you could see more than one picture of the shoes you were thinking of buying, and chances are those pictures took about half an hour to load. Now, many retailers offer full photo albums for each product, and some even have movies of the product being displayed.

Even with all this progress and growth, though, the Internet still only accounts for about 7% of total retail sales, and research has shown that the meteoric growth of online retail may already be starting to slow. According to Forrester Research, much of the online retail industry’s money goes into minimizing glitches in the transaction process, rather than into the creativity or innovation. It’s time for a change—the online shopping industry has seen some incredible growth in the past few years, but it is going to take some cool new ideas to help make it a truly powerful presence in the retail world. Whatever those ideas may be, Shoeboxed plans to be there all the way, organizing that ever-growing pile of digital receipts. And it’s only just the beginning