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THE RISE OF DIGITAL SHOPPING

THE RISE OF DIGITAL SHOPPING

//Tarfa Alfarhan//

Who would have thought that we would have everything delivered to our doorstep these days? Despite the global pandemic many countries specifically in Asia have adopted shopping online for many years. Now here in Kuwait, we are going forward with this strategy to ride through the damages of the pandemic. Many businesses have shifted from offline platforms to online. Reasons behind this is not only due to closures, but due to the accessibility and feasibility.

Smiling young woman enjoying using laptop relaxing at home on sofa, beautiful happy mestizo girl typing on computer having fun online doing internet shopping or chatting with friends lying on couch

Shopping through the internet started off in 1994 with reputable companies like E-bay and Amazon who were pioneers. Later on it has been launched in China with Ali Baba and Taobao. As years passed by we have managed to create and keep innovating our online platforms. Through this shopping structure many companies were able to save costs, time, and conduct market research at the tip of their fingers. Usually when shop-ping online the market has been educated that they would receive goods at a cheaper rate. This is where it has attracted them to lean towards digital purchases. Customers also feel it is much more convenient in terms of time, where they can place orders at any time they please. Or even not having to deal with other people for a transaction. Efficiency is the structure that digital shopping was based on for both consumer and service provider. Yet despite the quick changes in technology where people used to use web servers, nowadays apps (applications) have been created. These apps are much more user friendly as it can be used on smartphones, which these days everyone is on them constantly. However the beauty is that apps are able to save customer data, retrieve information swiftly, and has a touch of personalization towards the user. Even if there was no human contact, apps are able to send direct notifications to compensate.

The digital shopping era in Kuwait has boomed recently, of course the obvious reason is due to the pandemic. Kuwait has a culture of shopping through souqs and malls, this is what everyone is familiar with. Going out to the mall on a Friday night is a typical outing for friends and families. Now with the precautions and closures business structures have shifted and it was kind of forced. Talabat was one of the first companies that taught the community the structure of digital shopping however through food orders. As a leader in the digital shopping industry in Kuwait we saw it has become a huge success and even expanding to other GCC countries. Boutiqaat came along later and provided the same ideology but delivering beauty goods. With Boutiqaat their smart marketing through influ-encers gave customers the credibility and trust to go ahead and swipe their card online. Today every business has shifted to the digital world. You can get your groceries, phar-maceuticals, flowers, food, clothes, accessories, books, toys, pet products, skincare, re-al estate and even services. In terms of services looking at a local company like Garagee has built up an online system where you can book car repair services and have your car fixed at your doorstep. No need to go to garages anymore they come to you. Shopping for anything and everything can be done at anytime or anywhere literally at the palm of your hands. Kuwait’s millennials have learned to adapt the online methods in order to survive the pandemic. Majority are restaurant and beauty salon owners, lucky for the res-taurants its a product they deliver. However for the salons its a service, but still to de-crease human contact Salons have taken the initiative to go digital. A beauty app like Salony showcases salons and their services, showing the user what they offer. But inte-grating a booking system. No need to call just use the app to go the salon. Everything is going digital! Whether you are bored in the office or even relaxing on your bed, you can manage to have things delivered at your doorstep.

The downside of this accessibility is sometimes brushed off. Now looking at the majority of the community there is a high number of millennials who are fully aware and capable of using their smartphones to purchase. However we forgot about the older generations where they are not used to it. Their payments are done via traditional ways meaning cash, cheques, and swiping the card at the vendor’s place. This is a hard adjustment to them as they don’t comprehend it for example question like how can you pay “online” what method can occur. These questions usually arise to that segment. Traditionally they are much more prone to have a look at the product to feel and touch it, instead of scroll-ing on screens. Have we forgotten about them? It certainly seems like it with digital shopping. There of course the obvious problems like delivery delays, fraud vendors, hid-den costs stated later, again feeling and examining the products, and even counterfeit items. Many have been fooled and left skeptical. This is why e-commerce based companies must establish honesty, but really provide a unique service due to the competition around. Yes it is true the digital world cuts on costs specifically on manual labor, which is a positive for them but not always for the people. People won’t be needed as systems have replaced them to do more jobs in less time. It can be struggle for people as it lowers the probability of acquiring a job.

We keep wondering if this is the new pathway, and it seems like it at the rate we are moving. Digitized systems have taken over providing both ends with major benefits. Will we continue this way for a while? Are stores going to be neglected? Guess we just have to wait and see how far we can reach with digital shopping. Who knows maybe one day you can even purchase an island without even visiting the premises.

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