What is e-Commerce?
E-commerce, also known as electronic commerce or internet commerce, refers to the buying and selling of goods or services using the internet, and the transfer of 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 kind of commercial transaction that is facilitated through the internet.
Types of e-Commerce Models
There are four main types of e-commerce models that can describe almost every transaction that takes place between consumers and businesses.
1. Business to Consumer (B2C):
When a business sells a good or service to an individual consumer (e.g. You buy a pair of shoes from an online retailer).
2. Business to Business (B2B):
When a business sells a good or service to another business (e.g. A business sells software-as-a-service for other businesses to use)
3. Consumer to Consumer (C2C):
When a consumer sells a good or service to another consumer (e.g. You sell your old furniture on eBay to another consumer).
4. Consumer to Business (C2B):
When a consumer sells their own products or services to a business or organization (e.g. An influence offers exposure to their online audience in exchange for a fee, or a photographer licenses their photo for a business to use).
Here are the five reasons which e-Commerce is important
1. Mobile Adaptivity
More and more web traffic is generated by smartphones and tablets, driving e-Commerce sales. All major brands ensure that their websites are mobile-adaptive—enhancing the customer experience—and more often than not they have native mobile apps to make shopping even easier. If your website is not mobile and tablet adaptive, you will definitely be losing millennial customers and the youth of Generation Z.
2. Omnichannel Retailing
E-Commerce has progressed beyond search engine optimization to other channels of marketing to and interacting with customers. Businesses interact with their customers through their websites, email, social media, and physical stores. This creates multiple channels of purchase, receipt, and exchange of goods, with a prevalence of shopper-friendly shipping and return policies. Customers can purchase online, pick their purchases up at a physical store, return any defective items online, and avail discount offers based on a certain number of referrals. This integrated online and physical experience drives more sales.
The accessibility of a store is out of the purchase equation now.E-Commerce promises 24/7 accessibility, 365 days a year, with no downtime for public holidays, closing times, bad weather conditions etc. Customers can shop as and when they like, from where they want, be it the comfort of their own bed.
4. Greater Range of Offerings
With incredibly low overheads like negligible utility bills, skeletal staff, and the ability to provide a product or service from any location to a worldwide customer base, e-Commerce dramatically reduces costs of operations. This allows businesses to transfer some of these onward to price-sensitive customers in the form of cheaper products with automatic replenishment since warehouses are no longer restricted to certain geographic locations.
5. Individualized Products and Services
More sophisticated algorithms allow companies to offer more personalized, customer eccentric recommendations. A far cry from recommendations based on typical buying habits and products purchased together, e-Commerce today allows businesses to give customer suggestions based on their individual preferences. These encourage customers to purchase items that appear completely necessary since they are so aligned with their personal preferences. Lower start-up costs allow more sellers to operate, targeting niche markets with highly customized options, selling more sizes, colors, personalized designs etc. than would be feasible to offer in a physical store.