Thursday, 31 January 2013

ONLINE SHOPPING : JOBS AT RISK

When compared  to High Street shopping , millions  of UK shoppers would  opt for  shopping on line.
Just for the fun of it and for the variety  of  shopping  deals , some would say.
 Many  people in the UK would say that  going  to the shops is old-fashioned  
( " ..... it  is for "dinosaurs" ?! ) , or that it should  be for certain purchases only.
 Some people also complain that shopping trips to the malls  could  be quite tedious , especially  in London and other large UK cities;  because of  the search for parking spaces, the huge crowds in the  shopping malls and  long queues at the check-out counters ; not only at weekends , but even every day  of the week.

 Agreed ,  online shopping  is convenient , especially  for  busy  people like me , who cannot be  bothered to spend their  scare time in  the shops ; except for the occasional shopping  trips for  selected items which need personal viewing. 





Like millions of  people ,  sometimes,  I love the choice ( and the laziness) of shopping  online, from  the  comfort of  my sofa  at home or  on my office desk.
In fact , throughout  last year , except for  fresh  foods , some fashion goods and perfumes ,  I did 90% of  my other shopping on line.
Online shopping  is fun  and it is easy ; as you get  to surf many similar  websites to compare quality  and price  and  to  hear comments from your family  and friends who are sitting by you and viewing  the sites with you  before you decide on  buying.

Convenient , fun-filled  and  straight  it may be ; but at what cost  and who loses out ?
This popular form of  shopping has affected  thousands  of lives , adversely..
With the dire news of   some High street shops closures  and the loss of  jobs for thousands of their staff,  I think it is time for a re-think about excessive,  large scale online shopping .
When people shop  on companies' websites , then the high street outlets of such companies would  record a slump in their sales figures , leading  to losses  for them and eventually a close down.
The latest  High street mega retail shops  to  bite the  dust  of  closure are  JESSOPS the cameras chain stores and  HMV , the UK's largest  popular music outlet.
The latest  job loses are  : 1,370  JESSOPS staff  and 190 HMV staff  have been  made redundant
Before these recent closures ,  Comet stores , UK giant electrical retailer  CLOSED putting 6,500 jobs at risk.

Jessops.com         

     Music Retailer HMV Goes Into Administration       His Master's Voice.jpg
                                                                                                  
JESSOPS ? Why would a mega retailer like that  collapse? 
The shop was  renowned as one of  the  UK's biggest and best stocked  shops for the sales of  the latest  state-of-the-art cameras , video cameras and their accessories.
JESSOPS  shops were  very popular  as ONE-STOP shops with photographers , writers  and computer nerds ; so famous was JESSOPS that it was a common saying that , " Have you looked for it in JESSOPS ? " If   they don't stock  it, then it has not been manufactured "
I bought  my first digital cameras and video camera  from JESSOPS ; and since then for over 12 years , I have bought  my cameras and their accessories  in JESSOPS megastore on Tottenham Court Road in  central London . 
I shopped there  last  November . As usual , the place was well-stocked and bubbling with customers ; no signs of  impending closure;  so  it was quite alarming  for me ; incredulous , to hear early this January that JESSOPS  was about to  shut down .
 Even JESSOPS staff were shocked to hear the news .
I had  given two people JESSOPS  gift vouchers as Christmas presents , the value of which the stores have kindly refunded  to them as part of  JESSOPS  bankruptcy arrangements . 
As for HMV 's collapse  ,  it is the general opinion that their fate was inevitable because the company failed to move with the  times and keep up with the speed of the digital music demands of their customers.

Since where and how  to shop  is a personal choice , we could be considerate of others whose livelihood is tied to the amount of sales  at the tills of High Street shops.
Either way , when a company shuts down , it is the workers who are left holding the can . 
The more shops  invest more  money on their online shopping sites , the more jobs are lost in their high street shops.
Members of the public could do something  to  keep the high street shops  alive and  to save the jobs of their workers.
In the case of  high street shops who have  suffered  declines because they also  sell on the internet  , for the sake of their staff, people could assist to  stop , 
 avert or delay the collapse of  such  stores, by keeping away from shopping on their  websites
  .
You and I should keep  our fingers off the keyboards , pocket our credit  cards and debit cards and hit the shops , more frequently  than we are doing now. 
More so when we consider the following statistics :
  •  * £78bn - estimated value of the UK online retail market in 2012
  •  *300% - growth of mobile-commerce in 2012

  • 42.6% of UK consumers buy something online at least once a week, and the average online spend per shopper is £71 per month
    • Over the past 11 years Britons have spent an estimated total of £300bn shopping on the internet
    • Global ecommerce sales should reach $1,4 trillion by 2015
    • Price was the most important factor in choosing to shop online for 60% of respondents, followed by convenience of having items delivered (51%).
    • Recommendations from friends or family is the single most important factor in the choice of website to buy from, with 71% giving this reason. 46% said knowledge of the retailer from their high street presence was a key factor.
  • Britain is the biggest online shopping nation in the developed world, with almost two-thirds of adults using the internet to buy goods or services.


However it was not  an all- gloomy  picture for high street retailers as a result of  their customers  shopping  on the companies' websites .
Many companies in the UK benefited from  huge increases in  their internet sales. 
A burst of retail winners have provided hope for the high street after a week of gloom that has seen the collapse of three of retail's biggest names - Comet , JESSOPS and HMV.
Primark and Asos revealed soaring fashion sales despite the economic downturn, while Dixons and Argos revealed strong sales, albeit helped by the demise of the electricals store Comet.
 Soaring sales of tablet computers helped Dixons, the owner of Currys and PC World, and Home Retail Group, the owner of Argos, to a better-than-expected festive season.
Dixons, the last major electricals chain on UK high streets, said it sold more than 1m tablets, such as iPads and Google's Nexus, in the three months to January – three times more than in the same period of 2011. 
James pointed to a 25% leap in online sales which helped Dixons' UK business achieve a better-than-expected 8% rise in underlying sales in the quarter.
The popularity of internet shopping was also clear at the online fashion store Asos, which recorded sales up 34% in the UK compared with the same month a year earlier, while international sales jumped 47%. It smashed City expectations with a 41% rise in Christmas sales.
Nick Robertson, great-grandson of tailor Austin Reed and the founder of Asos in 2000, put the success down to cutting the prices of its own brand clothing, which accounts for 50% of total sales.  Black-and-white themed outfits, bomber jackets, 90s caps and retro trainers were among the biggest sellers. 
Asos delivers to 160 countries and is continuing international expansion, with new Russian and Chinese language websites planned for this year.
The high street fashion chain Primark is also expanding overseas. It is looking to France this year after moving into Austria and beefing up its Spanish chain last year. 
Primark has no plans  to resort  to online sales in the near future.

  • Source  of statistics: IMRSmart: Global e-Commerce Intelligence
  • IMRSmart: Global e-Commerce Intelligence
  • IMRSmart is a new authoritative, up-to-date source of global e-commerce data, intelligence and insight supported by an alliance of e-commerce industry associations right across the world
  • IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) is the UK’s industry association for e-retail.

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