What is E-Commerce?
The world is changing fast. There was a time when buying brand new furniture meant having to travel to at least 3 different locations just to see the available designs. Nowadays, all you have to do is to open your laptop or smartphone to look for the best designs available.
This buying and selling of services or products online is oftentimes called “Online Shopping” by the ordinary folk but most experts use the term “E-Commerce.” In a nutshell, e-commerce is the term referring to the whole process that starts with a customer searching for a specific product on an online catalogue and then paying for it or “checking out” using a credit card or any form of encrypted payment method.
E-Commerce is taking the online community by storm because of its advantages. E-commerce is an actively evolving part of our online lives and people take advantage of its benefits including:
- A much more competitive pricing model due to being able to operate on a lesser margin than regular brick and mortar stores.
- The option of door-to-door delivery. People won’t have to carry their purchased products back to their own homes as they can be delivered by the seller right at their doorstep.
- When shopping online, you will no longer be limited to your general location to source for products. You can now contact a supplier from halfway around the world for an item you want delivered.
- Due to its business model, online shops can show a wider variety of items for its customers. More choices make happier customers.
- Visiting multiple online e-commerce stores lets you compare various products for price or quality in real time.
Types of e-commerce businesses
There are two popular types of e-commerce businesses depending on the identity of the buyer. In E-commerce lingo, they are often referred to as B2B and B2C or Business-to-Business and Business-to-Consumer E-commerce businesses. Let’s try to talk about each one.
B2B or Business-to-Business
In this type of E-commerce business, the sellers and buyers are both businesses. In this scenario, a business sells products or services to another business without having to deal with any customer. This type of Ecommerce business happens when businesses look for parts or materials for their own products. Oftentimes, this kind of relationship between businesses results in customer specific pricing and discounts.
B2C or Business-to-Consumer
This is the type of e-commerce we are more or less familiar with. It’s when a consumer or customer purchases an item or service from a business/provider. When you buy a dress from an online shop, it’s already a B2C transaction. In theory, this is the most common type of e-commerce business as people do it on a daily basis.
Aside from the 2 popular types of e-commerce business, there are still other types including Consumer-to-Consumer (like eBay) and Business-to-Admininstration that are not that prevalent but are still considered e-commerce transactions.
What are Advantages of e-commerce business?
A lot of businesses are still in the process of acknowledging that the world of buying and selling is changing and e-commerce is taking the helm. The ones who are a bit too late to the party failed to see the benefits of e-commerce back in its infancy. Here’s a short rundown of the benefits of e-commerce over traditional commerce.
- A wider audience
With ecommerce, your audience is the world. While it is true that you can customize your site to be more friendly towards local search, you can’t still deny the fact that being able to reach people from anywhere is a good quality.
Renovating a brick-and-mortar store will not only take so much time but will also cost you a lot of money. Having an e-commerce site allows sellers to easily customize their stores with minimal effort and budget. Thinking of a holiday themed re-design? A good web management team can have it designed and implemented in days.
- Lower costs
With an e-commerce site, a business owner can save a lot of money. For starters, they don’t have to pay for a brick-and-mortar store from construction to maintenance. Oftentimes, a smaller workforce is needed. For consumers, going to an e-commerce is not only a money saving endeavor but it also means you save time by not going from one shop to another.
- Information on demand
A well done e-commerce site has everything a buyer might need or want to know. Sizes? Availability? Type and make of products? All the answers are on the website so you make shopping much easier for your customers.
- Be open 24/7
An e-commerce site allows your business to be available to your customers any time of the day at any day of the year. No need to open or close shop. As long as you have stock available, you can sell said stock to your customers.
What products to Sell Online?
In theory, there is no limit as to what you can sell online. Various online stores sell items ranging from stickers to large machineries. This is a double edged sword though. On one side this means you can sell virtually anything but this might make choosing what to sell harder. Any good e-commerce expert will tell you that starting with a certain product or line of products is much better than going for a full item line up. To help you out, here are some things you can consider when choosing what products to sell.
- The best place to start when looking for an item to sell would be yourself. What do you like? What would you possibly buy online if given the chance? If you are passionate about certain products, it will be easier for you to sell them to other people.
- Check for the current trend. What’s the “cool” thing to own these days? Is it something you can sell to other people? If so, that might be a good item to start with. You will just be riding the trend and hope that people choose you and your products over the others. This may not be a good choice for starters as the competition will be a bit fierce and you might get eaten up.
- What are people looking for? A lot of successful e-commerce businesses did not start with popular items or items that are very common. As a matter of fact, they find the most obscure things that are hard to find for some people. The hard part about this is that this will take a lot of research and newbies might find that a bit daunting.
Where to sell products online?
While there are a good number of ways to sell items online. The best choice is always to set up your own website. Having your own website is the most logical and business sound choice for any owner. With your own website, you can easily “brand” your business and branding is something you should not trade off.
For starters, selling something all boils down to your “brand”. Are you trustworthy? Do you sell items that are of good quality? Do you have a good history of providing excellent service to customers? All these things are bundled up in your branding. You lose all of this when going for other options like eBay or other e-commerce platforms. This is aside the fact that having your own website gives you all the freedom you need to really make your website “your own”.