e-Commerce allows consumers to electronically exchange goods and services with no barriers of time or distance. Electronic commerce has expanded rapidly over the past five years and is predicted to continue at this rate, or even accelerate. When implemented properly, e-commerce is often faster, cheaper and more convenient than the traditional methods of bartering goods and services. Electronic commerce has also led to the development of electronic marketplaces where suppliers and potential customers are brought together to conduct mutually beneficial trade.
The road to creating a successful online store can be difficult if unaware of e-commerce principles and what e-commerce is supposed to do for your online business.
To start an online business it is best to find a niche product that consumers have difficulty finding in malls or department stores. Also, take shipping into consideration.
e-Commerce can be a very rewarding venture, but you cannot make money overnight.
e-Commerce is the fastest growing retail market projected to hit $4.058 trillion in sales in 2020. Mobile commerce, or m-commerce, is a rapidly growing new avenue of e-commerce that’s mostly driven by the expanding market and influence of smartphones and millennials’ comfort with shopping online. In 2016, the m-commerce sector enjoyed a 39.1% increase in sales compared to the previous year.
Common Types of e-Commerce
- B2B: The B2B model, business to business, is when a business is selling to other businesses. Alibaba is an example of a B2B business, as their suppliers sells to other businesses. Alibaba prices are extremely low as they’re wholesale prices to allow businesses to make a profit off of their products.
- B2C: The B2C model, business to consumer, involves businesses selling to consumers. If you decide to open your own online store, you’ll likely be selling to customers instead of businesses. Amazon, Walmart, and Apple are examples of B2C businesses.
- C2C: The C2C model, consumer to consumer, is when consumers are selling to other consumers. Examples of a C2C business model are eBay, Craigslist and Kijiji. Many of the sellers on those sites aren’t businesses but average consumers selling products they own whether second-hand or new.
The Benefits of e-Commerce
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, e-commerce businesses can serve customers 24/7/365.
Reduced costs. e-Commerce businesses benefit from significantly lower running costs. As there’s no need to hire sales staff or maintain a physical storefront, the major e-commerce 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. e-Commerce 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, e-commerce 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, e-commerce 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 e-commerce 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.
By 2020, it is estimated that global e-commerce sales will reach $4.058 trillion, which makes e-commerce a growing and profitable industry to be in.
By 2019, the US expects to have 224 million online shoppers, making the US a large audience base to market your online store to.
By 2019, the US is estimated to have 162.8 million mobile shoppers. As a result, store owners need to ensure that their websites and ads are mobile-optimized to reach their target audience.
According to Business Insider, men (22%) are also considered more likely to buy a product via a mobile device than women (18%).
Women tend to shop online more frequently than men. For every $10 spent online, women are spending $6 while men spend $4.
Millennials, ages 18-34, tend to spend approximately $2000 online each year making it the generation that does the most online shopping.
Reach your customers anywhere and anytime
- The web and mobile apps represent the enterprise interface, and they shape its actual figure before the customers.
- The web and mobile apps allow the enterprise to cross the country borders and reach its customers all over the world, anytime and anywhere.
- Instantaneous notifications on smartphones about the offers, price discounts, and new products.
Ease of display and detailed comparison of products and their images.
- In one web page or mobile screen, visitors are able to display various images of the product and see its detailed properties and specs, in a smooth and enjoyable manner.
- Subscribers can add their comments and votes on the products, where visitors can see and review those comments and votes while browsing, and be aware of the opinions diverse about the product, which gives them the confidence and trust, hence drive them to make purchases.
Various tools for shopping and purchase
- A favorites list to record desired products for the subscribed user and follow their availability in stock and hence, add them to shopping cart.
- Customers can ship using FedEx, DHL, or any other shipping company. They also can pickup their purchases manually from the nearest store.
- The app uses Google maps to determine the location closest to the customer for pickup.
- Customers can pay using the suitable electronic payment method like Visa cards, Master cards or PayPal service
Loyalty points system
- Customers can pay using the points earned from earlier purchases.
- Maintains the customer loyalty and promote their return for purchase several times.
- Encourages customers for more purchases and spending in each visit.
Discount coupons system
- Customers can use the discount coupons during purchasing.
- These coupons are issued by the sales department during promotional and marketing campaigns.
- Can be used during purchasing through the web or mobile apps or from points of sales.