Nowadays, e-commerce is a term we stumble upon frequently. Its definition may seem self-transparent, as the Wikipedia page for it says e-commerce is “the activity of electronically buying or selling of products on online services or over the Internet.”
However, it has been coined long before many would anticipate, even before the emergence of mass shopping sites like Amazon or eBay. The word was used firstly in the 1960s to describe the process of interchanging electronic data on value-added networks.
With the advent of technology, what had been thought of as simple data has been evolved into actual products and services. We’re now able to buy a brand new laptop from our mobile devices, for instance.
The inclusion of new platforms to host e-commerce activities necessitates multi-faceted actors. Hence, it’s often used as an umbrella term with layers upon layers.
Indeed, e-commerce has begun to manifest itself as a whole new sector with many different organs contributing to its organization. Going beyond the mere act of shopping and trade, it has become an ecosystem on its own.
The partners may also differ; it is not always a business to consumer. It can be vice versa, or among the businesses or customers as well.
How Do You Start An E-Commerce Business?
It’s perfectly understandable to catch the hype and want to become a part of this booming business. As long as you take your steps with a good mapping beforehand, your chances of success will be considerably high.
Two crucial things should set the basis: Deciding the niche and business model. Since an e-commerce business can include a great variety of products and services, narrowing your focus down might take time. The availability of resources and the means for tracking and delivering your products are the determiners of the business.
Keeping a personally owned warehouse up or remotely engaging in dropshipping/print by demand from your boutique might work in the beginning. You should decide according to your production and personnel capacity.
If you are after a service, you can go with a subscription. If you are comfortable with third parties with a full stock, retail or wholesale might be your choice for the best.
In the case of a product or service in which you will see huge potential with the support of a creative ad campaign, your e-commerce business can turn into crowdfunding.
If you don’t have the means to join Shopify or Amazon as a retailer or you simply want to be your own boss in your e-commerce business, passion should give way to self-assessment at first. You should be on the lookout for a trending niche, at the same time avoiding an already dominated market.
Mastering in the commerce of your niche will also allow you to feed the composite giants who will need high-quality entries in a certain product range.
Once you clarify your model and niche for your e-commerce business, solidifying a target audience, finalizing your long-term plan, branding, and opening up your own digital store will be much quicker operations.
What Is An E-Commerce Website?
All sites that allow you to go shopping online are e-commerce websites. Amazon, alibaba.com, eBay, Steam, and Epic Games Store are all venues that offer a type of e-commerce activity.
What separates such sites from company websites are apparent: An e-commerce website has the feature of actually buying the product or service, whereas a company website has only the information regarding the targeted item, often with the address and history of the manufacturer.
In fact, a well-versed e-commerce website should combine those two. Since it occupies a virtual space without any hands-on experience, simply presenting the product with a price tag might seem slippery.
Another must-have in an e-commerce website is the safety of build-in paying features. If the site asks for keeping the credit card info for future auto-fills or requires a permanent account with the physical delivery address and other personal info, measures like 3D secure or two-step notification should be in place.
What Are The Advantages Of E-Commerce?
There are several reasons that always help e-commerce to become a desirable business:
- The process of buying will be faster,
- There are opportunities for a very functional save into your listing feature for customers,
- The e-commerce retailer might be able to significantly cut back on expenses since there will be a minimal need for a physical store mostly,
- Customers are able to buy and view the products 7/24 in their seats,
- Comparing the prices stops being a daunting activity since lots of different e-commerce stores are only a click away. Also, there are specific websites that pull up the price results for a selected product range.
- Digital ads take less effort and time, with a growing number of sophisticated digital marketing staff looking for jobs in the e-commerce business.
- If it’s well organized, an e-commerce website can respond the customer feedback quicker than a physical store. That will make any potential return of a bought product easier, encouraging customers to shop.
What Are The Stages Of E-Commerce?
Those stages can be generalized under the growth/start-up phase, the plateau period, and the regrowth or dissolution.
An e-commerce business will often emerge as a start-up. They try to catch a vein and keep it up with what the trend dictates.
Nevertheless, unless this honeymoon period becomes exceptional and turns the start-up into a goliath, a plateau state of standstill is inevitable when the trend loses its glamour.
To prevent this stage of e-commerce from shading off into a recession period, the business should improve means to diversify its range or consolidate its space on the market with true affiliations.
Finally, the aim is, of course, the regrowth of the e-commerce business. Otherwise, this stage will result in dissolution. Rebranding or re-platforming the business may be able to do the magic touch.
Merging into a giant at the right time might be a good return on investment if other measures stop responding.