The internet has changed the way that many of us live our lives. In many cases, this includes how we interact with industry and how various sectors carry out business.
In this article, the online quick home sales specialists at Property Solvers explore a few of the UK industries that have been most profoundly affected by this shift.
In the past, the most common means of purchasing property would be to visit an estate agent, browse the window, and ask inside for advice.
Nowadays, there are innumerable online platforms on which would-be homebuyers can browse for their perfect home.
You’ll find properties managed by several different estate agencies listed on the same “property portals” – like Rightmove and Zoopla. Should you find one you like, the platform will put you directly in touch with the relevant agent.
While in these cases, the use of the internet to browse for properties arguably adds a “middle man”, there are also instances where agents and other professionals are removed altogether.
Marketplace sites such as eBay allow sellers to list their property so that buyers can place bids. This often allows the buyer and seller to avoid specific fees but can be challenging to monitor and police.
A growing number of property purchases – from start to finish – are completed online. From shortlisting properties to requesting viewings to contact a conveyancing solicitor and providing the necessary paperwork, a lot can be completed without face to face meetings.
Although the system as a whole has a lot of catching up to do, various property technology (PropTech) innovations are promising to give rise to speedier property purchases.
The emergence of blockchain architecture, for instance, is promising to accelerate the successive stages of the conveyancing and property registration processes.
For instance, this year, HM Land Registry in the UK has been developing a blockchain technology prototype that would enable a digital transfer of a property that automatically updates the Land Register.
It will be interesting to observe how this sector can overcome its inherent illiquid nature in the coming years.
When planning a holiday or a long-distance business trip in years gone by, you would visit a travel agent for advice, prices, and bookings.
Now, with the rise of price comparison websites such as Skyscanner and Travelsupermarket, holidaymakers can see details of ticket prices and flight times.
Many websites offer to provide the opportunity to plan and book an entire holiday in one place, including transport, accommodation, and car hire.
Often, “package holidays” – with every element provided by the same company – are foregone in favor of a DIY-style approach, as the internet allows individuals to pick and choose each component of their trip themselves.
Last-minute deals and discounts can be easily found for both flights and accommodation options, and some travelers now prefer to save still more money by using Airbnb.
This online platform affords people local to a holiday destination the option to rent out a room in their home – or even a whole property – to visitors.
Insurance is another field that has been heavily affected by the “price comparison” culture. Searching online for the best provider has become the norm – although oftentimes, it isn’t just the price that attracts or deters customers here.
Many insurance companies now incentivize their products by offering deals and discounts with other businesses – for example, some home insurance providers may reward new customers with home security hardware.
Often, the price comparison platforms themselves offer rewards for purchasing using their system. For example, Compare the Market offers two for one cinema tickets for their customers.
Insurance packages from the same providers can be managed via a single app – streamlining their management – plus customers can “tailor” their requirements more easily online, ensuring they do not pay for elements they will not use.
Retail and Lifestyle
The high street isn’t necessarily the go-to location for lifestyle purchases anymore. Everything, from clothing to health and beauty products to electrical goods and more, is available online.
From placing bids on eBay and Amazon to comparing prices of products from different outlets, it’s now much easier to find what you want for less.
Of course, this can come at a price. With goods available to be shipped from anywhere in the world, and online purchases rather more difficult to police than those made in local shops, the sale of counterfeit or illegally-produced goods is likely to benefit considerably.
However, the upside is that, oftentimes, our money will go further. There are also options to “buy now, pay later”, as provided by platforms such as Klarna.
Social media now plays a huge role in the lifestyle industry, with Instagram prompting a massive growth in makeup sales, fashion trends, and design styles. As a result, the way companies advertise has adapted.
The visual nature of online lifestyle trends even impacts elements such as workplace design and food and drink presentation. Aesthetics are now more critical than they have been since the late 19th Century.
The use of search engines has also heavily influenced how companies approach marketing. Keywords and search terms are highly valuable, with websites, blog posts, and other online text now required to be “optimized” to allow companies to appear in the top search results.
Overall, the ability to engage with businesses remotely has made the busy lives of the UK public easier. The management of our affairs through apps and online platforms allows for a streamlining that has never been possible before.
The use of the internet for both business and leisure has sculpted the way we live our lives and even the appearance of the world around us.
While there are downsides to an electronically-connected world, the efficiency and speed with which we are now able to complete tasks that are central to our lives are beneficial – mainly as many of us are working more than humans ever have before.
Online options allow us to have more time to ourselves when our personal lives are becoming more and more at risk of falling by the wayside.