If you are wondering if there is any part of the retail sector that might be safe to get into these days you might consider opening an online business.
While fluctuating gas prices and other factors have hammered the real-world retail sector online business is showing healthy growth and sustainability. There are some who attribute this, in part, to the rise in the price of gas. After all, any business you can do online means one less gas-consuming trip to the mall or the shopping center.
But there are other factors that come into play as well, one of them being the emerging young adult consumer. Many of those people, ages 21-26, grew up with the Internet and see it as much of a mainstream shopping venue as they do the big-box discount store.
And more young people are getting a credit card while still in college, so they are used to shopping online and using that card as a method of payment. As such they are driving much of the growth in Internet retail commerce.
By some estimates in excess of 70 percent of college kids have at least one major credit card though some of those cards are actually tethered to their parents account. Still it is not uncommon on college campuses these days to see credit card companies hawking their services and using enticements like a free t-shirt, mug or ball cap to get students to submit an application.
Most of the kids that do have cards have balances of $400 to $500, while others use their cards sparingly for small things like adding minutes to their pre-paid cel phone, downloading music from the Internet or the occasional restaurant meal.
However, the real key factor is that a majority of these college kids are going to graduate and land their first jobs in the real world. When they do their disposable income makes the jump from their college student standard of living, and their online spending totals rise commensurately. This accounts for the projection that the current level of credit card use on the Internet is going to rise. Right now more than 80 percent of everything bought online is paid for using a credit card.
But this will also be a demanding group of consumers. Baby boomers can recall a time on the net when they hoped their favorite shopping sites would accept credit cards. This next generation expects to find online credit card processing when they hit your site. And if their expectation is not met they know they can be at a competitors site in a few moments, so they dont even take the time to lodge a complaint. They just disappear and never return.
Is opening your own store on the net a slam dunk prospect for success? Not with the level of competition out there, but the risks are smaller that in the bricks-and-mortar world, the operating costs are generally less and the rewards much faster to realize. But you have to give your site every possible edge so it can compete in the modern-day ecommerce universe.
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