What is Ecommerce?
Ecommerce (or E-Commerce) – Stands for Electronic Commerce, it is a classification for businesses that conduct business online. The most common form of e-commerce business is an online retailer that sells products direct to the consumer.
While most people think of e-commerce as business to consumer (B2C), there are many other types of e-commerce. These include online auction sites, internet banking, online ticketing and reservations, and business to business (B2B) transactions. Recently, the growth of e-commerce has expanded to sales using mobile devices, which is commonly known as ‘m-commerce’ and is simply a subset of e-commerce.
Why has eCommerce seen explosive growth over the past decade? As the internet becomes ingrained in our daily lives, acceptance of eCommerce continues to grow, and businesses are taking advantage of this.
In the early 2000’s many people were skeptical about handing over their card details to an online retailer. Whereas, e-commerce transactions are now second nature. SSL certificates, encryption and reliable external payment systems such as PayPal, Worldpay, and Skrill have helped improve people’s confidence in e-commerce.
Benefits of E-commerce
Starting an E-commerce business has never been easier. Solutions such as Shopify and WooCommerce allow even the least tech-savvy individuals to set up a store.
Gone are the days where hiring a designer and a web developer to get your e-commerce company off the ground are necessary.
Nowadays design templates and WYSIWYG systems enable people to launch an e-commerce store in a matter of minutes.
As a result, people are reaping all the benefits e-commerce stores have to offer.
Seven reasons why e-commerce is such an attractive option for entrepreneurs:
Global Reach – With a physical brick and mortar store you’re limited geographically to nearby markets, i.e., if you have a store in New York and want to also sell in New Jersey, you’ll need to open another physical location.
Ecommerce doesn’t have this limitation. Instead, you can sell to anyone, anywhere in the world via your digital e-commerce business.
Ecommerce Always Open – Physical businesses usually have limited hours, but an online e-commerce shop remains “open” 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. This is hugely convenient for the customer and an excellent opportunity for merchants.
Cost Savings – Ecommerce businesses have significantly lower operating costs compared to physical shops. There’s no rent, no staff to hire and pay, and very little in the way of fixed operating costs. This makes e-commerce stores extremely competitive on price, which usually increases the market share dramatically.
Automated Inventory Management – It’s far easier to automate inventory management through the use of electronic online tools and third-party vendors. This has saved e-commerce businesses billions of dollars in inventory and operating costs.
Inventory management has also become increasingly sophisticated. You can now manage your stock across multiple channels with great ease. So, you can sell and monitor your stock in your own store as well as marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, Etsy or a physical shop.
Laser Targeted Marketing – Online merchants can collect an amazing amount of consumer data to ensure they target the right people for their products.
This lowers the cost of customer acquisition and allows e-commerce online businesses to remain extremely agile. Imagine being able to target just males between 18-24 years old, living in urban areas. That’s laser-focused marketing for you- there’s no way you’d get that with just a physical store.
Ecommerce Niche Market Dominance – Because of the lower operating costs, the ability to target your ideal customer, as well as reaching a global audience that an e-commerce website brings, this ensures your company’s profitability.
Location Independence – An e-commerce business owner isn’t tied to any one location when running their business. If you have a laptop and an internet connection, you can run your e-commerce business.
Types of e-commerce merchants
Overall, there are two types of e-commerce merchants:
- Those selling physical products: This is self-explanatory. It’s just the buying and selling of physical products via electronic medium. For example, you could be selling merchandise from any of the following niches: fashion, accessories, homeware, toys, etc.
- Stores selling digital products (AKA downloadable products): If you’ve ever purchased an online course, this falls under the category of ‘digital products.’ As a rule, if you must access the product via an online member’s area or if you must download it, it’s probably a ‘digital product.’