What is E-Commerce?
Ever heard the terms E-commerce or Electronic Commerce being thrown around? What are they exactly? No need to worry, I’ve got you covered.
Increasingly, the internet has been seen to govern our lives and almost every aspect of life has been computerised from, doing research for a college paper, socializing with friends, gaming or just as a means of a time sink.
It’s no surprise that buying and selling have also taken to the internet which is exactly what ecommerce is. Today e-commerce or electronic commerce can be defined as any sort of transaction made on the internet.
So If you’ve bought something whether physical or electronic on the internet then you’ve engaged in e commerce.
This can include
• Buying directly or buying through affiliates or agents
If you’ve sold something online again whether physical or electronic you’ve also engaged in e commerce.
This can include
• Selling on your website
• Selling through social networking sites
• Selling through an auction site
• And many more!
E commerce can be between a business and customers also known as B2C
B2C is what you’ve most likely been involved in.
Ecommerce can between businesses and other businesses (e.g. one company buying hardware components from another)
And it can also be between customers (P2P) e.g. people buying and selling on an auction website.
Ecommerce provides a simple platform to do business with countries other than your own, long gone are the days where business was confined to your city, and where your audience is confined to your city.
Ecommerce is huge and its growing.
The Benefits of eCommerce
There is a reason why eCommerce has demonstrated such explosive growth in the past couple of years. Indeed, with the internet becoming an essential requirement of everyday life, businesses are learning to take advantage of the numerous benefits of eCommerce, the most notable of which include:
Global market. A physical store will always be limited by a geographical area it can serve. An online store, or any other type of eCommerce business for that matter, has the whole world as its market. Going from a local customer base to a global market at no additional cost is really one of the greatest advantages of trading online.
Around-the-clock availability. Another great benefit of running an online business is that it is always open. For a merchant, it’s a dramatic increase in sales opportunities; for a customer, it’s a convenient and immediately available option. Unrestricted by the working hours, eCommerce businesses can serve customers 24/7/365.
Reduced costs. eCommerce businesses benefit from significantly lower running costs. As there’s no need to hire sales staff or maintain a physical storefront, the major eCommerce costs go to warehousing and product storage. And those running a dropshipping business enjoy even lower upfront investment requirements. As merchants are able to save on operational costs, they can offer better deals and discounts to their customers.
Inventory management. eCommerce businesses can automate their inventory management by using electronic tools to accelerate ordering, delivery and payment procedures. It’s saving businesses billions in operational and inventory costs.
Targeted marketing. With access to such a wealth of customer data and an opportunity to keep an eye on customer buying habits as well as the emerging industry trends, eCommerce businesses can stay agile and shape their marketing efforts to provide a better-tailored experience and find more new customers. Just consider for a moment that you have a chance to address thousands of your customers by their first name; that is something already.
Serving niche markets. Running a niche brick-and-mortar business is extremely difficult. There’s almost no chance of scaling it unless a niche product becomes mainstream. By tapping into a global market, on the other hand, eCommerce retailers can build a highly profitable niche business without any further investment. Using online search capabilities, customers from any corner of the world can find and purchase your products.
Working from anywhere. Often, running an eCommerce business means that you don’t need to sit in an office from 9 to 5 or suffer through a commute day-in and day-out. A laptop and a good internet connection is all it takes to manage your business from anywhere in the world.