What is the potential of e-commerce and how can it be utilized?
The beginnings of e-commerce date back to the 1960s, when companies began to share business documents with other companies via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).
The rise of eBay and Amazon in the 1990s revolutionized the e-commerce industry.
Although the bursting of the dot-com bubble in 2000 led to unfortunate results and many of the e-commerce companies disappeared. Retailers recognized the benefits of e-commerce and began to add e-commerce features to their websites. A high-quality demand on a strong web presence (web shop, company website, marketing) is decisive here.
What is E-Commerce?
E-Commerce (EC), also known as electronic commerce or internet commerce, refers to the purchase and sale of goods or services over the Internet and the transfer of money and data to carry out such transactions.
As in conventional companies, this type of trade includes all aspects of a business transaction such as purchase, sale and payment. The big difference is that this business model is based on electronic transactions. E-commerce is the preferred shopping method for many people around the world. More recently, e-commerce growth has also expanded to mobile device sales, generally referred to as “m-commerce”. Mobile Shopping, Mobile Banking and Mobile Payment are included in M-Commerce.
E-commerce transactions are carried out between businesses, businesses and consumers, businesses and public institutions, businesses and employees, consumers and businesses.
Mobile e-commerce (m-commerce) is a type of increasing e-commerce that involves mobile online sales transactions, especially with smartphones and tablets. Mobile chatbots also offer companies e-commerce opportunities and enable consumers to complete business transactions through voice or text calls.
The different e-commerce types
In general, there are six different types of e-commerce online transactions.
Business-to-Business refers to the electronic exchange of products, services or information between companies.
Examples include online directories and exchange sites for products and services that enable companies to search for products, services and information and initiate transactions via e-procurement interfaces. Forrester Research predicted in 2017 that the B2B e-commerce market in the US will reach $1.1 trillion by 2021, equivalent to 13 percent of the country's B2B revenue.
Business-to-Consumer is the Internet retail segment of e-commerce. Companies sell products, services or information directly to the consumer. There are countless virtual shops and shopping centres on the Internet today that sell consumer goods of all kinds. Amazon, which dominates the B2C market, is the best known example of these sites.
Consumer-to-Consumer is a form of e-commerce in which consumers trade products, services and information online. These transactions are usually carried out by a third party who provides an online platform on which the transactions are carried out. Online auctions and classified ads are two examples of C2C platforms, with eBay and Craigslist being two of them. Since eBay is a company, the type could also be referred to as C2B2C consumer-to-business-to-business-to-consumer.
Consumer-to-Business is a form of e-commerce in which consumers make their products and services available to companies that can offer them. This is the opposite of the traditional B2C business model. A popular example of a C2B platform is iStock. Photos, images, media and design elements that are royalty-free are sold here.
Business-to-Administration refers to online transactions between businesses and government agencies or the public sector. Many government agencies rely in one way or another on e-services or products, particularly for legal documents, registers, social security, taxpayers and employment. These can be provided electronically by companies. In recent years, B2A services have grown significantly as investment in e-government capabilities has increased.
Consumer-to-Administration includes all electronic transactions between individuals and the public administration. areas of application are: Dissemination of education and information, distance learning, tax returns and payments.
Advantages of E-Commerce
Fast establishment of an online shop
Most e-commerce software comes with easy-to-use online store builder and pre-built templates that help you quickly create your store. Using drag-and-drop functions, shop articles can be inserted, product images can be added, descriptions and prices can be entered, or the shopping cart can be set up.
Permanent availability of the shop
One of the biggest business benefits of using e-commerce software is being able to operate an online store 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Working hours are not limited by employees, physical location or working hours. Due to largely automated processes, there is no need for round-the-clock monitoring of the online shop.
Distribution to everyone and from everywhere
The market for products is global, free of time, geography and borders. The connectivity of the Internet is used to sell to everyone wherever they are.
Save time, money and resources
When calculating expenditure, it will be noticeable that operating an online shop costs less than operating a physical shop where, among other things, expensive space has to be rented in the best location, sales staff has to be hired and utility services have to be paid for. Paying for an affordable e-commerce platform reduces costs and maximizes profits. In contrast to a traditional retail store, which has only limited exhibition space for products, there is no physical limitation for the products offered in the shop. This gives the seller the opportunity to sell more.
Easy online shipping and payment processes
E-commerce software has either already integrated an online payment gateway service or it can be integrated. This service also ensures secure online transactions and provides various payment methods. The software can also be linked to order fulfillment service providers who offer the customer their preferred delivery and shipping options.
Built-in marketing tools
Standard e-commerce software is equipped with powerful marketing tools and SEO functions to achieve higher search engine results for the business and attract potential customers. There are also built-in analysis and statistics tools that provide real-time analytical data, helping you develop targeted marketing campaigns, special offers, and improve your product mix or promotion.
High quality online customer service
E-commerce software provides the opportunity to provide customers with an optimal online shopping experience. From simple product selection, ordering, convenient online payment, to shipping and delivery, everything is designed to make it easy for customers to buy in your store and get the best service possible.
There are many reasons for expanding the business to an e-commerce platform. The fact is that a well thought-out e-commerce platform greatly increases the likelihood of being able to offer products or services to a larger target group and maximize operational efficiency.