What is E-commerce?
Ecommerce(short form of electronic commerce) stands for the process where goods and services are bought and sold using the internet. To complete the transactions money is transferred online( using credit card, debit card, net banking etc.) or offline(COD).
In common parlance, ecommerce usually refers to the sale of physical goods. Off late a variety of commercial transactions done via the internet are also being termed as electronic commerce.
History Of E-Commerce
As early as the 1980s a form of non-secure online shopping was already being done in Europe with the help of terminal-based services. Pizza Hut is widely credited for the first ecommerce transaction for selling pizzas online in late August of 1994.
However, thefirst real ecommerce transaction happened on August 11, 1994, when Dan Kohn, sold a CD to his friend through his website NetMarket. A credit card was used to pay $12.48and the transaction was protected by encryption technology. (Source: New York Times)
E-commerce has come a long way since then. Shopping online has become one of the most most popular internet activities worldwide. Going online has benefitted every scale and model of business be it SMEs, large enterprises, B2B or B2C businesses. A variety of ecommerce setups like a simple online store, online marketplace, multilingual and multi-store ecommerce web sites have made it easier for business owners to sell their goods and services to customers in their domestic and global markets.
Global retail e-commerce sales are projected to grow to $4.88 trillion by 2021. (Source: Statista)
Drivers Of E-commerce
Ecommerce has shown hockey stick growth in the past decade. The factors contributing to this growth are;
- Increase in the internet and mobile phone penetration
- Increased customer adaptability to online buying
- Secure online transactions along with offline payment options
- Reliable and fast third-party logistics
- Consistent growth of the market for online goods and services
- Global political will and law reforms to aid and boost ecommerce
Types of E-commerce Set Up
Some of the most popular ecommerce models are:
- B2C (Business to Consumer)
In this model, a business or a brand sells goods or services directly to its individual customers. (e.g. A website selling t-shirts to its individual buyers).
- B2B (Business to Business)
In this model, the sale and purchase of goods or services are done between two businesses. (e.g. A supplier selling merchandise to other retailers.)
- C2C (Consumer To Consumer)
This e-commerce model consists of an individual consumer selling good or services to other consumers. (e.g. A person selling used treadmill to another through OLX site).
- C2B (Consumer to Business)
In this set up a consumer, sells his own products or services to a business or organization that uses it further(e.g. An artist selling his paintings to an art website to use further for sale).
The Omnipresent E-commerce
Ecommerce has pervaded every type of modern as well as a conventional business. Be it everyday use items, digital products, real estate, luxury goods or services like patient care, healthcare etc., anything and everything is being sold online.
Going online has benefitted retailers, wholesalers, dropshippers and every other type of business. Also, it has opened new avenues for solopreneurs, homemakers, students or full-time employed individuals who want to run a small business.
Choosing a flexible and comprehensive e-commerce solution(link to home page) designed for growing businesses greatly reduces the go-to-market time. It also makes it easier to manage online business.