Online retail has definitely come of age:

Not a day goes by when we do not hear of the demise of the High St. Indeed, TV footage showing the empty shops goes to show just how much of an impact the Internet has had over the last decade. When we were not so long ago, a nation of greengrocers, we are fast becoming a nation of e-tailers.

A whopping £5.2billion was spent online in the UK during April of this year. This equates to £82 per person, and a year-on-year increase of 19%. Figures the High Street may well never reach again. Indeed, the High St is reporting some of its worst results in years.

One of the key factors in driving e-commerce is comparison shopping. Instantaneously, consumers can find the best price for what they are looking for. People are still shopping, but they are increasingly savvy. They are going online to find the best deal.

With the advent of social commerce channels, and mobile applications, growth in e-commerce is forecast to continue. Indeed, those multi-channel retailers - those with both a high-street and an online presence - have seen the fastest growth in the past year.

It is when recognised brands such as Tesco, House of Fraser, and John Lewis, are focusing on their online presence, that you know online retail is truly coming of age. Indeed, John Lewis's online sales have risen 24% in the past year.

The development of technology has clearly assisted these retailers in their ability to facilitate successful transactions. Now the challenge for e-retailers both big and small, is to integrate the growing number of sales channels to ensure a clear marketing message and consistent customer experience.

Many foresee mobile commerce soon overtaking desktop internet access and are gearing up with shopping applications for mobile phones. This means consumers will expect to receive relevant messages based on where they are.

So if you are a traditional shop, get serious about the web and its possibilities to ensure long-term success.