The growth of the internet shopping sector means consumers now have more power than ever before, according to the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group.
Lisa Fretwell, the company's director for retail and consumer packaged goods practice, said companies have to keep up with customers' changing demands and expectations to succeed in the field.
Highlighting the growth of sites such as Amazon and eBay, she pointed out that shoppers now have instant access to an unprecedented range of products, as well as parcel delivery services that can bring new purchases to their door in a matter of days.
This presents something of a challenge for companies that are trying to succeed in the market and differentiate themselves from competitors, said Ms Fretwell.
"Customers can now literally search the world for any item anywhere and at any time," she commented.
"And in addition, customer demands and expectations rise significantly, since in just minutes on the internet, consumers can have it all - the quality product they want at the lowest price possible, delivered right to their door."
In order to make headway in this competitive market, retailers must be able to attract customers who are browsing the internet for products and ensure that their brand is memorable enough for shoppers to return, the Cisco spokeswoman advised.
She also underlined the importance of offering experiences that encourage customers to complete a purchase.
As well as highlighting the greater power that the growth of online retail has given consumers, Ms Fretwell commented on the flexibility and choice provided by modern technology.
People now have the option of using tablets and smartphones to combine the internet and high street shopping experiences in order to compare prices and product details.
The UK's online retail market is expected to grow by some 13 per cent this year to reach a value of £77 billion, according to industry group IMRG.
Author: Adrian Medland