E-commerce is getting more and more popular. You are starting to hear it everywhere you go. What exactly does that mean? What is an e-commerce business?
To start off, e-commerce stands for electronic commerce which refers to a having everything digital and a business plan where you buy or sell products online. Every purchase made online adds to the ecommerce economy.
Now e-commerce doesn’t only include Amazon or eBay. It also includes things like online banking, software services, online course platforms and pretty much any transaction that is made online. Now usually when someone says “I have and e-commerce business” we automatically go to things like the typical online store that sells shirts to end customers.
Difference Between Ecommerce & E-Business
With its definition one might think that e-commerce involves every transaction made online but that is not totally true. E-business is what involves every transaction.
Ecommerce is a subset of e-business that covers the sales and purchases made on the internet. E-business includes any business activity that is conducted online. This includes things like sales calls, procurement of materials, and signing contracts.
Really the only platform that an ecommerce business needs is a website to run. On the other hand, e-businesses might need Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), a digital workplace, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for things to work.
Now your ecommerce business refers to a store that is online that sells physical products to the internet users. There is very little communication between you and your customers. Along with that, the entire wholesale process happens online as well.
In contrast, an e-business refers to more of the B2B consultancy agency. They would oversee receiving inquiries from potential clients and such. There are so much more to an e-business than just the transaction. This is including things like their sales process which is more complex and includes instructions, sales calls, a proposal, and the onboarding process. The “transactions” of the business is just one part of the bigger operation.
Why Is Ecommerce Important
Throughout the pandemic and what has followed, online shopping has changed quite a bit and it has changed our lives forever. Although ecommerce’s definition is a little unclear and complex, it is here to stay.
In a study Google conducted, they found that more than 80% of customers conduct their research online before deciding to make a purchase. This means most of Google searches are made thinking about a purchase they are deciding if they want to make or not.
Ecommerce can reach almost every person with access to the internet. There are now more people with smartphones than there are people living in urban areas. In 2021, $3.56 trillion of the retail sales were made on a mobile device. This has created a bigger push to optimize ecommerce businesses for mobile commerce, which they have been doing for years.
Types of Ecommerce Businesses
There are many types of ecommerce businesses. They can be categorized according to what exactly they are selling, who is selling those products, or even where and what platforms they are selling the items on.
Based off who is selling you must consider who the transaction is between. There are always two parties.
There is the usual business to consumer (B2C) business. The B2C business is where a business sells directly to an individual consumer.
There is also the direct to consumer (D2C) business that both sells to customers and manufactures it. The D2C businesses cut out the intermediaries within the brand and the end consumer. This gives the opportunity to get to know the customers better to the manufactures. They can then use the customers feedback and update the product as needed.
You can also take it more to the business side of things with the business to business (B2B) ecommerce. This one they are both businesses and one is providing the other with a product or service. B2B companies are usually service-based or software companies. Here at Launch Fulfillment, we are a B2B company. We provide the service of taking care of other businesses logistics to benefit both businesses.
An interesting model is the consumer to business (C2B) model. This represents a transaction that individuals provide products of services to businesses. They could be anything from photography to freelance graphic design and so on. The C2B model is not very common but it can benefit both parties an extraordinary amount.
The last one is the consumer to consumer (C2C) model. This is when the two parties are consumers willing to trade with one another. Its most likely in a marketplace platform, such as eBay and Craigslist. This means both parties are individuals, one with something to sell and the other will something to trade for it.
Now based off what people are selling you need to also look at how they are selling the items.
With that, there are retailers who sell physical goods. These are companies that sell things like clothing, tools, furniture, and accessories that customers can order online. They just go to the retailer’s website add the items to their shopping cart, and checkout. The items will then be shipped to the customer.
There are also service-based businesses. Those businesses include people who offer services to businesses like freelancers, agencies, and consultants. Some of these you can purchase and use their services straightaway. While others you might need to meet with them before to understand your needs in the whole process. These are mostly B2B businesses that specialize in one thing that other businesses will need to successfully run their business.
Now there are also companies that sell digital products. Things like eBooks, online courses, graphics, and other virtual goods are sold as digital products. These kinds of businesses offer products that don’t require shipping. They are able to scale without stock limitations.
There are other businesses like wholesale vendors who sell products in bulk. These often go to retailers who ultimately sell the products to the end customer. These companies would probably be categorized as B2B ecommerce because they are selling products to other businesses.
Dropshipping is another kind of business to pay attention to. This method is where the business sells a product online and the supplier takes care of the shipping of the product. The only thing you need to take care of is the online sales. The logistics and inventory are all taken care of by the supplier.
There is also crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is where you collect money from potential consumers to help get your product out there. Having that upfront money from the customers helps the business owners develop the products not only how they want to but also how the customers would like it to be. It creates a relationship between the business and the customers before making the first transaction.
Knowing the who and the what is important but, the platform where your ecommerce takes place is necessary to know as well.
You have online store websites that are used on the company’s website. Instead of having to build out a shopping cart on your website. You can use ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, and Carrd to run through the websites for the ecommerce to have a shopping cart.
There are also product marketplaces. These are places that facilitate transactions between the customers and sellers. This helps the sellers showcase their products. It also helps reach a larger audience to help get more sales. These platforms get a lot of customers because there is a wide range of products all on one site. So, the customer is no longer making the purchases on the business’s website but buying it from a retailer. These platforms include marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Alibaba.
Another platform that can be used is social media marketplaces. Social media platforms, like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, have been making it easier for brands to get customers. On Instagram you have the Instagram checkout option as well as the Shoppable Stories. Then with Facebook there is the Facebook Marketplace and Shop.
Ecommerce is growing more and more, especially after the pandemic. There is so much that goes into running an ecommerce business. Understanding the different aspects of ecommerce will help your business thrive and utilize every part of it. Keeping everything in mind, you can hire different third-party companies to help you be as successful as possible. Here at Launch Fulfillment, we take care of the entire logistics side of the business. If you are interested in getting some third-party logistics help, please feel free to contact us.