What does e-commerce mean?
If you are reading this, chances are that you are a business owner who is interested in learning more about the world of e-commerce, either because you are about to create an e-commerce site or have already launched a draft.
The truth is you don’t have to be an IT expert to understand the ins and outs of e-commerce platforms. In this article, we discuss the different types of e-commerce businesses, the benefits of e-commerce as well as share insights regarding the best e-commerce platforms.
What is E-commerce?
E-commerce is the set of communication and management of commercial activities through electronic methods, where commerce is facilitated thanks to a virtual infrastructure and dedicated interfaces. E-commerce stands for electronic commerce.
Essentially, an e-commerce site is a website that can receive transactions for the commercialization of goods and services between the producer (supply) and the consumer (demand), carried out through the Internet.
How did e-commerce come to be?
If we look back in history, the sale of products on the Internet began in the mid-nineties, when a user of NetMarket, which was one of the first platforms for online retailing, sold a music CD to a friend through an exchange that was the first to be fully digital. This is how e-commerce came to be.
Only a few months later, the famous chain Pizza Hut sold its first pizza online and a few years later, Amazon and eBay were founded. In 1999, the Asian giant Alibaba started operating, and despite having completely different business models, it continues to be among the main electronic commerce services.
Benefits of E-commerce
The benefits of an online e-commerce business can generally be divided into three main categories:
- Benefits for companies
- Benefits for consumers
- Benefits for society
1. Benefits for Companies
- Thanks to e-commerce activities, companies can expand into national and international markets with minimal capital investment.
- A business can easily identify more customers, better suppliers, and business partners around the world.
- Due to the digitization of information, companies can reduce costs to create processes as well as distribute, retrieve and manage information.
- E-commerce helps improve a company’s brand image and inspires trust.
- E-commerce makes it easier for companies to provide better customer service.
- Electronic commerce makes business processes simpler, faster, and more efficient.
- Paperwork is greatly reduced.
2. Benefits for Consumers
- E-commerce customers can request any product or service at any time and place.
- An e-commerce site offers users the convenience of buying from wherever they want and provides fast delivery.
- An e-commerce site provides users with comparative tools to select the cheapest and most convenient option.
- Customers can write reviews on a product, see what others are buying, and read reviews from other customers before making their final purchase.
- A customer can see detailed and relevant information in seconds instead of going to the physical store.
- Electronic commerce makes competition between companies fiercer, resulting in significant discounts to customers.
3. Benefits for Society
- Customers do not have to leave their home to buy a product, resulting in less traffic and environmental pollution.
- E-commerce helps reduce production costs as a result of the competition it creates.
- Electronic commerce has allowed rural areas to have access to services and products that would not otherwise be available to them.
Example of E-commerce Businesses
The Edible Arrangement website had a marketing proposal that consisted of offering customers same-day delivery. However, they were not very successful because visitors were unaware of this option. To inform customers about this option, they significantly increased the visibility of the delivery option by adding a large banner in an attention-grabbing position on the home page, just below the navigation bar.
This generated an 8% increase in orders in a single day, creating urgency around the offer by including a countdown timer for the deadline for same-day delivery. This website can probably only work in an e-commerce environment.
Yeppon is an e-commerce site that specializes in technology articles and computer products. On the home page, visitors can find the day’s promotions and deals showing the most discounted products in each category. Its intuitive design also allows users to quickly and easily view top brand products at unbeatable prices. This e-commerce business model offers an outstanding and convenient user experience.
Yeppon also gives the option that the bulkiest appliances and objects that are bought online can be delivered at home, with a free installation. In addition, deliveries are very fast and the return process in case there are problems with the products purchased, is safe and simple. For shipping, customers can choose the most convenient day and time-based on their schedules and needs.
This e-commerce platform allows you to practically sell any item to people from all over the world. It has very diverse categories such as electronics, home furniture, garden products, musical instruments, clothing, cars, and the list goes on.
Buying on eBay or creating your own sale announcement is very simple, and there is also a wizard that simplifies everything. Most purchases can benefit from eBay’s Customer Guarantee, which makes online shopping safe and risk-free for both sellers and buyers. eBay’s online support is also very efficient and active, offering 24/7 service.
Unlike most of its e-commerce platform competitors, eBay is known because, in addition to allowing customers to buy products, it also gives them the option to bid and participate in auctions. These auctions are often an opportunity to get items and products at very affordable prices.
How do you start an e-commerce business?
If you want to start an e-commerce business from scratch, this list of fundamental steps will be very useful:
- Define the segment of the product or service
- Define the market segment
- Choose a global e-commerce sales strategy
- Define the main KPIs for your business
- Write a good marketing plan
- Define the supply chain and operating procedures
- Design an intuitive and effective user experience
- Choose and implement the most appropriate technological platform
- Design the user interface according to your goals
- Review the entire legal issue and write the related documents
- Check if you need an interface with internal and external IT systems
- Create all site content
- Manage customer service procedures
- Define and implement the plan to drive traffic to your website
What is the difference between e-commerce and e-business?
E-commerce refers only to the transaction of products and services between a seller and a consumer whereas e-business involves the entire process necessary to run an e-commerce online business.
Types of e-commerce businesses
These four main types of e-commerce business represent and describe almost any transaction that takes place between consumers and electronic commerce:
B2B commerce is when a business sells a product or service to another business (for example, a business sells software as a service so it can be used by other businesses).
In this case, a business sells a product or service to a single consumer (for example, you buy a pair of pants at an e-commerce retailer).
C2C is when a consumer sells a product or service to another consumer. For example, you sell a vintage camera on eBay to another consumer.
Consumer to Business (C2B)
Finally, C2B is when a consumer sells his products to a company or organization. For example, when a photographer sells his rights to a photo or when an influencer shows a product from a particular brand to his/her followers in exchange for money.
What are the best e-commerce platforms?
The best e-commerce platforms include:
Shopify is a platform specialized in the creation of e-commerce sites. It is highly recommended for companies that prefer a complete hosting solution, website builder, and integrated payment system, plus a wide range of additional features to design and customize the online store. The Shopify editor is easy to use and allows the integration of third-party services.
Drupal includes many features such as advanced menu management, survey management, graph editing tools, user management, and much more. These features allow you to create simple or advanced websites, blogs, discussion boards, social networking pages, and much more.
Once properly configured, Drupal makes it easy for accredited people to change the content of their website. This tool, which is widely known for professional websites, was originally developed by Dries Buytaert and now has more than 35,000 active collaborators worldwide.
This all-in-one platform is perhaps best suited for beginners who don’t have a lot of experience or time to spend learning site building tools. One of its most striking features is the visual editor, thanks to which it is much easier to make graphic customization and changes to a page. Wix’s visual builder also allows users to edit web pages by moving elements with their mouse.
Regarding the subscription plans, they include all the e-commerce functions available in Wix, with the most advanced plan being the least limiting. In addition, within the first 14 days of subscription, users can request a full refund if they are not satisfied with the service for any particular reason.
Prestashop is a high-performance e-commerce solution that combines digital growth with business intelligence. This is one of the reasons why PrestaShop is one of the most used e-commerce platforms in the world. PWM can develop for you the perfect e-commerce store that will include all the necessary features:
- Graphic Themes. We can develop a design that best reflects your brand and that fits your industry.
- Shop Creators. Let us create your store as you have imagined. Everything is customizable.
- Mobile Responsive. PrestaShop stores display beautifully across all screens and devices.
- Payments. Choose from over 50 world-class payment solutions and gateways.
- Shipping. Give your customers reliable, local shipping options around the world.
- Go International. Grow your business with a store that’s localized for multiple markets.
WooCommerce offers users an extensive and user-friendly experience, making it ideal for e-commerce startups looking to probe the market without spending a fortune.
If you are a startup and you are limited financially, WooCommerce can be the perfect e-commerce platform for you because it is completely free, easy to manage, and offers extensive and flexible functionality through extensions. Looking for e-commerce website development services? We can design the e-commerce platform that best reflects your brand.