What is e-commerce?

eCommerce, or electronic commerce or internet commerce, refers to buying and selling goods or services using the internet and transferring money and data to execute these transactions. E-commerce is often used to refer to the sale of physical products online, but it can also describe any commercial transaction facilitated through the internet.

Whereas e-business refers to all aspects of operating an online business, eCommerce refers specifically to the transaction of goods and services. The history of eCommerce begins with the first ever online sale: on August 11, 1994, a man sold a CD by the band Sting to his friend through his website NetMarket, an American retail platform. This is the first example of a consumer purchasing a product from a business through the World Wide Web—or “eCommerce” as we commonly know it today.

Since then, eCommerce has evolved to make products easier to discover and purchase through online retailers and marketplaces. Independent freelancers, small businesses, and large corporations have benefited from e-commerce, enabling them to sell their goods and services at a scale that was impossible with traditional offline retail.

The benefits of e-commerce

  • Faster Buying Process: The very first advantage of eCommerce is a faster buying process. In an online store, customers don’t have to wait in line or fight for parking spots. One can easily buy items from the comfort of their couch. This gives sellers the benefit of generating more sales in a day compared to the traditional store. Most people go online shopping if you ask someone about their shopping preferences. The reason is that they can find a wide variety of options, and most importantly, sellers can double their sales in a day. There is no need to wander around looking for products; employees don’t have to engage with buyers in traditional stores. All one has to do is visit the website, pick the product of their choice, pay, and relax. The product will be delivered at home. The whole process takes around 5 minutes, while the same can go up to an hour when you shop through physical store.
  • No Geographical Limitation : Another eCommerce benefit is stores are free from geographical restrictions. Conventional stores are located in one specific place, and they only bring nearby foot traffic. But with online stores, buyers from all across the globe can buy things from your store. It is popular among buyers because they don’t need anything, just technology to access stores online. The platform is open to all its clients in any area of the globe, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Further, the buyers will get instant insight into where goods can be sent and how quickly they can be delivered.
  • Lower Costs : The other advantage of having an online store is lower operational costs. Compared to traditional stores, opening an online store is straightforward. One doesn’t have to invest their savings in opening an online store. Unlike physical stores, where one has to rent space, buy furniture, and other things, online stores are free from all such expenses. Further, you don’t have to hire employees in an online store. Moreover, online stores are free from mediators, which cut down the various charges. Buyers and sellers from all across the globe can deal directly without any difficulty.
  • Earn 24/7 : Online stores are a money-making machine that can help you generate revenue 24/7. It is free from vacation and holidays. If you have a store, you earn not only on working days but also on weekends, odd hours, holidays, vacations, etc. No such boundations can stop you from making money as long your website is working fine. Buyers can shop any time of day, and sellers will end up earning money at any time of the day. eCommerce stores could be a goldmine if only you knew how to make the most of it.
  • Reach New Customers : Another advantage of an eCommerce store is that every day is a new possibility of gaining new customers. In a physical store, you know the crowd; you have an idea about the crowd that is going to visit your shop. But an eCommerce store is a surprise because your online presence is visible to people everywhere; you can’t assume the buyer. One day it can be someone from your nation, and another day, the overseas client. This leads to the exposure of your store. Every day, you get a chance to impress a new client. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. You need to create a solid customer base to make your store popular.

Examples of e-commerce

E-commerce can take on various forms involving different transactional relationships between businesses and consumers and exchanging different objects as part of these transactions.

1. Retail: The sale of a product by a business directly to a customer without any intermediary.

2. Wholesale: The sale of products in bulk, often to a retailer that sells them directly to consumers.

3. Dropshipping: The sale of a product which is manufactured and shipped to the consumer by a third party.

4. Crowdfunding: The collection of money from consumers in advance of a product is available to raise the startup capital necessary.

5. Subscription: The automatic recurring purchase of a product or service regularly until the subscriber cancels.

6. Physical products: Any tangible good that requires inventory to be replenished and orders to be physically shipped to customers as sales are made.

7. Digital products: Downloadable digital goods, templates, courses, or media must be purchased for consumption or licensed.

8. Services: A skill or set of skills provided in exchange for compensation. The service provider’s time can be purchased for a fee.

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