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wineYesterday, I bought a set of wine glasses through the market feature on Facebook that collects all things being sold in a specific radius of your current location into one area on the platform. The woman posted a photo with the price, we messaged back and forth, she gave me her address, I picked up the box from her front door and I left the money under her door mat. That was it! I never spoke to her on the phone or in-person. The transaction was completely virtual.

Technology has taken away much of the face-to-face interaction of purchasing items. Many people use Amazon to buy everyday products, and some grocery stores now have apps that allow customers to order groceries online and have them delivered to their home.

Businesses no longer have to wait for customers to walk through their doors to initiate interaction. Advertisements on social media and on the internet, or simply just the presence of the app on someone’s phone, give a constant reminder to customers that the business is out there.

Customers enjoy the personalization, convenience and affordability of e-commerce. Online shops like Etsy, Shopify and Wayfair are putting small businesses head-to-head with retailers like Target and Walmart. This new way of purchasing has become a gateway for businesses like local thrift stores or the mom-and-pop drug store down the street to set up shop online by creating a website and sell their products virtually. Stay-at-home moms are creating successful businesses all from the comfort of their homes.

Although these online transactions are more commonplace, I suspect there are still customers who prefer the traditional face-to-face interaction at the checkout counter.

Grace Flemer
Grace Flemer
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

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