Have you ever heard you friends telling you about something they bought online and say “I never thought I could buy this online!”?
Since the last few years we have seen a massive hike or rather transformation in the technology. An environment which was once very hard to find is now easily accessible. Frankly, many factors ranging from online banking, availability of options, reliability, awareness amongst users, etc. has made the impossible, possible!
Now when we say transformation it implies to almost everything; for instance earlier socializing meant meeting people and now it means Facebook, twitter, Instagram, etc.; once upon a time research primarily meant asking people physically along with many different modes but now these social portals do the job, the industries which ran on paper such as magazines, news papers, etc have also almost ran out of business.
So many items which we never thought could make it online are now being bought and sold here. Below is a list of the list of these top ten items that have made it to the virtual world.
To being with, the inception of E-books happened with the launch of “Index Thomisticus” –prepared by Roberto Busa in the late 1940s. As shocking as this news was to us, so was the fact that over the period of time there have been contenders claiming to be the inventors of the first E-Book. Now as noble as the cause was, who would have thought to see books online? As a matter of fact, E-books are gaining so much momentum that the normal books are losing their charm and may get lost in time pretty soon.
Now this was literally very difficult for most of us to digest, as to how this would practically be possible. First it began with existing brands like pizza hut, dominos, MacDonald’s, etc. letting their customers to order food through their websites and soon the model was capitalized by individual startups wherein they tied-up with all the major restaurants and if any order landed on these startup’s table then they would pass it on to their respective brands.
Online ticket booking was a very vast genre to look at! It ranged from movies, buses, trains, flights, events, etc! Capturing this vast model required a lot of hard work and persistence. But with the world moving to the internet this model was bound to run and be successful. Again, it was initiated primarily by the movie theaters, respective travel companies, event companies, etc. but soon this model went viral and was ruthlessly adopted by the companies like BookMyShow, redBus, MakeMyTrip and many more, this goes back as far as the 90s.
Pharmacy is a line of business which requires utmost care and safety. Unlike physically, here you cannot check prescriptions or for that matter you cannot suggest the correct medicines. But overcoming all the problems; since the year 2000, internet pharmacy business has grown massively and has saved many people from awkwardness. But the major problem lies with the websites who are supplying controlled medicines without a prescription.
Although selling clothes online is the perfect model, looking at its necessity & craze but it is pretty difficult to imagine someone buying clothes without trying or checking the quality by themselves. But these issues very successfully resolved and as we see now, the clothing industry on the internet is flourishing. With its success there are many web stores like Shopclues or Shopify coming up providing apparels from multiple brands or websites. In fact, to keep up with the competition the clothing websites have started to create stores of themselves on marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon, once a dead business running in losses is today a money printing machine.
Furniture is one area where a lot goes into checking the quality before we purchase one! Except for a few small items, furniture at large simply cannot be bought till it is thoroughly checked, matched with the rest of the furniture, walls, etc! But defying all the rules of the past, the online industry successfully managed to do so. Some of the leading contenders in this industry are fabfurnish, Urbanladder, Craftsvilla and Homeshop18. Although this segment of the online market is still not fully explored but the percentage of people buying furniture online has been increasing. There is a lot of scope for new businesses to establish a trusted online brand in this line of business.
7. Real Estate
The mathematics here is a little different, although you don’t literally buy property of the internet (at least not before a physical visit) but this platform has definitely managed to bring the completely scattered real estate industry under one roof. With the boom in the internet industry and coincidentally at the same with the boom in the real estate industry; websites like magicbricks, 99acres and the newbie’s like commonfloor & housing.com have managed to capture the market making buying and renting properties much easier.
A grocery store is a business which targets the daily life of every human being. As essential are clothes & homes, equally important are daily grocery requirements. Now with online stores like AmazonFresh, Prime Pantry or for that matter the king of all “Wallmart” coming in with all the luxuries and offers, the transformation is bound to happen. As per Wikipedia, the sales from the online grocers in Britain in 2012 were GBP 7.1 billion whereas in the U.S. in 2013 it was USD 15 billion and is expected to increase over the coming years. The primary market for the same currently is USA, Europe & Asia.
9. Electronic Gadgets
When we say electronic gadgets, we mean everything such as cell phones, laptops, stereos, etc. and the main reason for it to be on this list is because practically it is not possible for someone to just pay a huge amount to an unknown person for a product they are not sure would be as they expected or for that matter would even reach them. But with big and reputed brands such as Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, etc. vouching for them along with options like cash on delivery coming in place and most importantly highly secured payment gateway’s like PayPal being the mediator, it is becoming a safe environment to shop for electronic gadgets.
India is a country where no matter how many boys or girls they date, in the end they will marry the one who is selected by their parents only. Till a few years ago, this industry was dominated by the individual matchmakers or the typical aunties from every family but since the inception of Shaadi.com, bharatmatrimony.com & jeevansathi.com, these individuals have lost out on a lot of business. On the other hand, these websites have gained a huge amount of traction and turned out to be successful. With their success newbie’s like Floh, have launched themselves with unique business models wherein they don’t match-make or help in dating, they just organize classy events and functions and if you like someone you are welcome to talk to them and take things ahead. As per reports, this industry is expected to cross the INR 1500 crore mark by 2017.
All-in-All, technology is creating its own virtual world where almost everything is available. It is bridging the gap and bringing the world closer to each other. And most importantly, it is giving businesses a global platform where they can get a fair chance to get seen, to flourish, & to get big! So if you have a business model ready to get another product or service online from the offline world, it is the best time to start working on your ideas.
Of-course this is not a complete list and there would be many more areas, products or services that have changed the way you buy or get work done. What businesses, in your opinion were the ones which you never expected to see online and now have helped ease your work? Share your views with us.