Traditional libraries are one of the favorite examples that everyone is using today to explain how e-commerce can completely change an entire sector.

According to the latest report of the Observatory of the Library developed by the Conference of Booksellers’ Associations (CEGAL), the number of bookstores has fallen by 21% in one year. The fault of many factors: from the economic crisis to the boom of the electronic book, through the increasing competition in the network when to buy and sell books.

There are many who predict the end of independent bookstores because of the network (others say that there will always be some by the ‘charm of the books’). Although it is one of the countries with a higher average of bookstores per capita, the fact is that only 862 municipalities of all 8,117 existing in have an establishment like this. Does this show that traditional trade is the days numbered?

Have you put the ecommerce expiration date to traditional tradeE – commerce is becoming more popular. Consumers have become accustomed to buying on the network and no longer exists virtually no market in which the network has not come to compete. Courier companies have started a new golden age thanks to all these posts: Correos, who saw their traditional functions languished, now manages what you buy online and Seur, for example, bills and 100 million dollars thanks to e – commerce.They lead from the large logistics centers ecommerce giants (or the smallest of a small company selling online point of sale) from wine to books or premium cosmetics, to name just a couple of niches consumers.

Purchase schedules have disappeared, supply has increased and has reached all imaginable points and speed to take the product has also been refined. At the end of the day, all these online shops and courier companies have managed to refine purchasing processes and invoicing to be able to offer a reception in 24 hours and, in some cases, are studying ways to reduce even those times.

Via mobile device sales they are growing also exponentially and have appeared phenomena like showrooming (go to the physical store to see the product and then buy on the network, often in the same physical store using mobile). And if these data are not sufficient to convince the trend, since 2010 the ecommerce has been growing at the rate of 10% per quarter .

It is no longer an alternative

With all these data it is clear that e – commerce is no longer an option , but a basic option to stay in the market. The first who have suffered are the big companies. A giant that is not in ecommerce is not just a rarity but also a business pressure to start selling on the network by consumers. Consider ,for example Primark or Ikea, which has not sold online and those consumers have been claiming for years that they do. If you have not left it is because what they offer can not be achieved – exactly the same – in the competition.

But others have had to go getting all the e – commerce, one of the first, to Zara, it took to go but he did so with great media fanfare that has made online sales in a positive point of your account balance. And the same happens outside the network, where other companies have had to fight the urge of these firms and their effects on market concentration, they also had to fight the forces of the network and the giants of ecommerce are trying made with the best pieces of the pie. The war is also international and pushers with a force that gives the largest being around the world have weapons that go far beyond what a national company can count on. 

The competition has gotten so get a possibly reach unprecedented levels.What can traditional commerce in a field like this? How can you play the small neighborhood store in a war that is played at international level and backed by giant annual accounts of billions of dollars?

No other

The answer is complex, but the only certainty is that no choice but to jump on the bandwagon of ecommerce to survive in the new consumption patterns of the century. Many small retailers are not prepared – or sometimes receptive – to changes involving Internet business model, but being in the network is already inevitable.

The conversion to the network is something that touches so small traders, lest they be drawn into the complete extermination. Possibly physical stores do not disappear in the near future, because shopping is a social ritual to eliminate cost. However, it seems likely to change the purchasing process.The crisis is pushing many small businesses to the disappearance and is accelerating the domain of large in offline commerce (large that often are the same as master or want to master online), so the network can be, in addition to the step bound by time, the lifeline that allows weather the storm and starting a new reality.

The long tail economy

But all is not completely dark in the future of small businesses in the network and e-commerce step. There is always a gap waiting if you bet on high specialization. The long tail economy, a concept that Chris Anderson coined a few years ago, has become a staple to understand how the network functions and a lifeline for small businesses on the Internet. The translation of how the economy long tail can help you survive is clear: if very specific things offered, if you search the niche, you get to find the customer, since the network has made the barriers to consumption are no longer but simply geographical interest.

This does not mean that everything else will disappear. “The big hits are not going away , ” he writes in The long tail economy. From mass markets to win the minority Chris Anderson, “the same as the retailers with limited space sale, the broadcasters and the law of the lowest common denominator.” But although they all survive, they will in a very different scenario. The customers have started demanding more, more specialized and more suited to their interests. The network has made what we like it has ceased to be so homogeneous: all have found their place, from stamp collectors to lovers cooking in microwave, and all can answer the network (and those in it stores) . In the digital age “everything can be accessible” according to Anderson, and online retailers have made the offer is much higher than it was just a decade ago.

The network has also removed the physical boundaries. It not only bought that is on our side but even we started to ask China. You need only think of the success you have in certain market niches DealExtreme, a perfect Chinese page to find? Frikadas’ low cost that is usually shared and recommended in some areas. If you buy from here to China, from outside the borders arriving to physically store can also be sold. Hence, the importance of translating and adapting a web of online commerce to different languages and markets.