In a nutshell, e-commerce is just the process of buying and selling produce by electronic means such as by mobile applications and the Internet. Ecommerce refers to both online retail and online shopping as well as electronic transactions. Ecommerce has hugely increased in popularity over the last decades, and in ways, it’s replacing traditional brick and mortar stores.
Ecommerce enables you to buy and sell products on a global scale, twenty-four hours a day without incurring the same overheads as you would with running a Brick and mortar store. For the best marketing mix and the best conversion rate, an Ecommerce venture should also have a physical presence; this is better known as a click and mortar store.
What does e commerce mean? Ecommerce Definition.
While most people think of ecommerce as business to consumer (B2C), there are many other types of ecommerce. These include online auction sites, internet banking, online ticketing and reservations, and business to business(B2B) transactions. Recently, the growth of ecommerce has expanded to sales using mobile devices, which is commonly known as ‘m-commerce’ and is simply a subset of ecommerce.
Why has ecommerce seen explosive growth over the past decade? As the internet becomes ingrained in our daily lives, acceptance of e-commerce 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, ecommerce 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.
But before that, here are our top rated ecommerce platforms that we think are the best fit for any needs.
Ecommerce Advantage #1: Low Financial Cost
One of the ecommerce benefits is that it has a lower startup cost. Physical retail stores have to pay up to thousands of dollars to rent one of their store locations.
Ecommerce Advantage #2: 24/7 Potential Income
Another advantage of ecommerce is that online stores are always open for business. With your Facebook ads, you can attract someone at 11 p.m. or 4 a.m. in any part of the world. Most physical location stores are open between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. By being available at all hours, you can attract people who would normally pick up a product in stores, if the store were open.
Ecommerce Advantage #3: Sell Internationally
Next on the list of ecommerce benefits is that a new brand can sell to customers around the world easily. You have the ability to discover your audience whether they’re in the U.K., South America, or neighboring countries. If you choose to dropship from AliExpress, many products offer affordable ePacket shipping or free shipping. This allows you to price and ship your products competitively to a worldwide audience.
Ecommerce Advantage #4: Easy to Showcase Bestsellers
Ecommerce benefits like being able to easily display best-sellers makes it easier to show off products to customers. While you can design a brick and mortar store to sway people to buy certain products, it’s easier for a customer to find the best-sellers in an online store.
Ecommerce Advantage #5: Personalized Online Experience
Website personalisation, one of the online business advantages, can enhance the online shopping experience. Creating personalized landing pages for different audiences can entice them to buy from you without much extra work on your side. It is not like customers coming into a physical store who you need to nurture from the first minute. You can do all the hard work before you launch a campaign and then relax once you release the campaign to your customer base.
Ecommerce Advantage #6: Affordable Employees
One of the benefits of ecommerce is that hiring employees is affordable and, as mentioned before, you can hire from anywhere in the world. You can choose to outsource work to virtual assistants in countries where the cost of living is much lower. You’ll need fewer employees in an online business than a retail location. A huge advantage of online businesses is you don’t need to hire employees at launch. You can start and run an ecommerce business all by yourself. Only when you start to grow or when you have the capital should you start to hire employees.
Ecommerce Advantage #7: Easier to Encourage Impulse Buy
Another ecommerce benefit is that you can capitalize on impulse buying as online shoppers are more inclined to partake in this. If you have attractive product photography, with vibrant color or human emotion, you can create ads that drive impulse buys. You can also execute a range of scarcity tactics such as countdown timers or showcasing limited quantities.
Ecommerce Advantage #8: Easy to Retarget or Remarket to Customer
It’s easy to create retargeting ads to reach out to customers in your area when running an online business making it one of the most profitable ecommerce benefits. You can create a Facebook pixel. You can use the Shoelace Shopify app to retarget the browsers who visit your store but don’t buy.
Ecommerce Advantage #9: Customers Get a Less Invasive Experience
Some people dread walking into a brick and mortar store as they’re forced to interact with the store’s employees. Whether learning about a sales promotion or being asked questions throughout the shopping experience, some may prefer online shopping as it can be a little less invasive making it one of the best benefits of ecommerce. If a customer wants to contact the store owner, they can click on a live chat feature, email or send a Facebook message.
Ecommerce Advantage #10: Gain Access to Customer Data Easily
One of the best ecommerce advantages is that you can easily gain access to data for analysis on your customer. Most people feel uncomfortable giving away email addresses or postal codes to physical retailers. In ecommerce, you can get your customer’s name, mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number. That means you have at least three different ways to communicate and build a relationship with them. You can even have them fill out marketing surveys share their birth date with you, and more.
Ecommerce Advantage #11: Able to Process a High Number of Orders
If you choose to dropship, you can process a high number of orders with ease. As your business continues to grow, you might choose to hire employees to help with order processing. Also with dropshipping you don’t need to physically have the product in order to sell it to a customer, therefore you do not have to worry about stock control like physical stores have to.
Ecommerce Advantage #12: Can Scale Business Quickly
One of the benefits of ecommerce is that it’s easy to scale the business quickly. You can increase your ad budget when ads are performing well without having to worry too much about keeping up with the demand, especially if you dropship.
Ecommerce Advantage # 13: Grow Your Business Organically with Content
With ecommerce, you can grow organic traffic and sales with e-commerce blogging. From making videos to writing blog content, you’ll be able to optimize your store to drive traffic and sales without having to spend more money. With ecommerce, you’ll be able to not only get traffic organically through content creation, but you’ll also be able to monetize those customers with retargeting ads.
The disadvantages of e-commerce can be broadly classified into two major categories :-
- Technical disadvantages
- Non-Technical disadvantages
- There can be lack of system security, reliability or standards owing to poor implementation of e-commerce.
- The software development industry is still evolving and keeps changing rapidly.
- In many countries, network bandwidth might cause an issue.
- Special types of web servers or other software might be required by the vendor, setting the e-commerce environment apart from network servers.
- Sometimes, it becomes difficult to integrate an e-commerce software or website with existing applications or databases.
- There could be software/hardware compatibility issues, as some e-commerce software may be incompatible with some operating system or any other component.
- Initial cost − The cost of creating/building an e-commerce application in-house may be very high. There could be delays in launching an e-Commerce application due to mistakes, and lack of experience.
- User resistance − Users may not trust the site being an unknown faceless seller. Such mistrust makes it difficult to convince traditional users to switch from physical stores to online/virtual stores.
- Security/ Privacy − It is difficult to ensure the security or privacy on online transactions.
- Lack of touch or feel of products during online shopping is a drawback.
- E-commerce applications are still evolving and changing rapidly.
- Internet access is still not cheaper and is inconvenient to use for many potential customers, for example, those living in remote villages.