Ecommerce or electronic commerce is any type of business, or commercial transaction that involves the transfer of information across the Internet. In general, if a business buys or sells goods or services electronically, primarily over the internet, then it is engaging in ecommerce. The transmission of funds or data over an electronic network is also an aspect of electronic commerce.
The history of ecommerce is sometimes traced as far back as the 1960 but whatever its origins.
It has grown by leaps and bounds in both magnitude and popularity since its inception. Today, it is the most sought-after business venture in the world. What accounts for its rapid growth and popularity? Why has it become so indispensable in today’s world? Here are some reasons why businesses and individuals alike find it so fascinating and so valuable.
First, unlike brick and mortar businesses whose customers generally constitute those who live near or around the business, ecommerce businesses are borderless and global in range. One who lives in a remote village in India for example is as capable of conducting ecommerce related transactions (buying or selling online) as the person who lives in Rancho Cucamonga, California. In other words, virtually any customer with a computer and Internet connection is a potential customer. Ecommerce-based solutions therefore owe much to the Internet platform and its related components that made all this possible by expanding the reach of businesses to encompass the world.
Second, traditional businesses have to wrestle with many expenses. They need to pay rent for the space they occupy to conduct business; they may have to pay for utilities such as gas, water, and electricity; their employees need to be paid regularly; and a host of other expenditures including office cleaning, facility maintenance, and office equipment upkeep. In contrast, the expenses and overhead of ecommerce based businesses are very low. This puts traditional businesses at a great disadvantage compared to ecommerce based businesses and accord the latter a clear competitive edge.
Third, the low overhead that ecommerce based businesses incur enables them to sell goods and services at much lower prices than traditional businesses. Moreover, many ecommerce sites are now offering free shipping that is attracting even more customers to their sites.
Fourth, the variety of services and products available online is infinitely greater than that of an ordinary retail store. Due to the cost involved, the latter’s supply of goods and services are often limited to what is expected to sell well. Online stores on other hand have more flexibility and can show case a greater number of products with little or no real expenses.
Fifth is the on-demand 24/7 and seven days a week availability of online products. Understandably, customers love the convenience of not having to spend money for gas to get to the shop and not having to spend time driving to and from the shop and looking for an item of interest among a huge selection of products on display; and not having to wait in line to pay at the cash register. Online retailers offer categorized or keyword based search to enable finding and selecting an item in a matter of seconds. The selected item is then placed in a shopping cart, checked out, and paid for all in a few minutes! Cheaper and more efficient distribution of goods and services that ecommerce makes possible allows firms to establish a market presence or to enhance an existing market position as never before. The main challenge for such businesses is how to make themselves stand out among the millions of similar businesses. To meet this challenge, many businesses who offer ecommerce solutions are increasingly relying on tools such as SEO (search engine optimization) or conversion SEO techniques, marketing, social media, and other platforms to help the customer find them quickly and without effort.
The above are just a few examples of the advantages of ecommerce and why it has become popular.Online retail business is decidedly the wave of the future. Already, conducting business electronically (wholly or partially) has become an indispensable requirement to the overall success of all businesses. Ecommerce solutions are no longer a “nice to have” option for some businesses but are rapidly becoming “must have” tools for all businesses. Wisely used, Ecommerce marketing and business strategies will help any business succeed online and offline. That is one reason why many C-Level executives and small-to-mid-sized business managers are exploring this new venue to increase efficiency and to maximize profits. If you are thinking about doing internet-based business, you will find – not surprisingly – that the Internet is also the resource for everything you need to know about doing business on the Internet.
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