The Internet has drastically changed the way we do business. Online retail sales are expected to reach $370 billion dollars by 2017, while more services continue to make the leap online. Here are five industries that have already been drastically altered by the Internet
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’re approaching the $400 billion per year sales mark for online retails stores when shopping from home is so darn convenient. Consumers spent $72.41 billion dollars online during the 2014 holiday season, assuming to avoid the crowds. Why leave the comfort of home to stand in line when you can order something with the click of a button and have it delivered to your door?
The convenience is not without its drawbacks. Many retailers, including small business owners, have took a hit since the rise of e-commerce. Even some of the previously popular big-box stores, like Borders, couldn’t stand up against the online giants like Amazon. With the invention of e-readers, many people have turned away from physical books. Circuit City fell under the radar after online shopping emerged, and J.C. Penney’s might be on its way out.
The Internet also changed the way clothing stores do business. Teenagers are more fickle than ever and more in-tune with changing fashion thanks to the ability to share information quickly over the Internet. Many stores, like apparel retailer American Eagle, cite it as a reason they’re struggling to stay above water.Cab Service Has Been Uber’d
In some cities traditional taxi services are becoming a thing of the past. Rather than stand in the rain and hail down a cab you can now hop on an app and have an Uber ride sent straight to your door, or even a random street corner. No talking is even involved. You pay over the app, someone comes to pick you up in his personal vehicle and drops you off a few minutes later. No money ever exchanges hands.
It’s incredibly convenient, but cab drivers are waging war against ride share services, like Uber. Since its inception, they’ve argued Uber takes away from their business and livelihoods. Ride-sharing services are great and often more affordable, but it looks like they’re taking away careers from unskilled laborers and giving part-time work to college students instead.
Dining Out at Home
The Internet also changed the way we eat out by now allowing us to eat out, in. Thanks to new food delivery and takeout services, like Eat24, you can now order food from virtually any restaurant and have it delivered to your door. While some of them only work with restaurants that typically deliver themselves, others are happy to pick up a four-course meal from Olive Garden and bring it to you.
Log onto your app or website of a particular food delivery service, there are different ones popping up all across the country, and browse local menus, place an order and it’ll be there within the hour.
We won’t lie, this one is super convenient and saves a ton of time. It’s also great since it provides more delivery jobs.
Renting a movie at your local video store is a thing of the past. When’s the last time you saw a Blockbuster in your town? The Internet led to the rise of services, like RedBox and Netflix, which both now offer home delivery for your DVDs and Blu-ray.
Most consumers made the move to digital films and DVD sales have steadily declined over the years. Users prefer the convenience of simply paying a monthly fee and logging on at home to watch their favorite TV shows and movies rather than take a trip to a movie rental store. The Internet has all but wiped them out.
Traveling Made Easier
One of the biggest changes in the past decade the Internet has caused is in the way we travel. The industry as a whole has suffered a wide array of effects, possibly more so than any other industry.
We no longer use travel agents like we used to, thanks to the ability to go online and book our own trips through sites that offer the best deals possible. These sites act as an all-in-one resource to find the best prices for your entire trip, much like travel agents used to do.
International calling card services are all but pointless thanks to our ability to communicate with our friends and family overseas through web video chat services, like Skype. Our smartphones are traveling tour guides that reduce the need for employing locals to show us around.
The Internet gave people a drive to see the world and experience more things. The travel industry was the second-fastest growing industry in the year 2013. That means more job creation, more cultural awareness and more chances to explore the world. The Internet has definitely had a positive effect on the travel industry.
Overall the Internet has brought with it some exciting changes in the way we do business and go about our day-to-day lives. These industry changes have freed up time for us to focus on things we enjoy by cutting down on the time we spend going from place to place. There are some hurdles to get over, like ensuring these changes don’t put people out of their jobs, but the Internet has clearly brought far more good with it than bad.
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Ben Kerns is a fan of all things related to technology and the Internet, especially when it comes to discovering new ways to further merge the two together. When he's not plugged in, he enjoys the great outdoors, healthy living, and singing off-tune to cheesy country songs.