Simply put, electronic commerce or eCommerce is the buying and selling of goods and services over the Internet. Some businesses are solely based on eCommerce (think Amazon!), while many others combine eCommerce with a traditional, face-to-face approach. The term “eCommerce” is primarily used to talk about online stores, but it includes any transfer of information, goods, and services over the Internet, whether through websites, email, or any other electronic network. Although eCommerce is usually associated with trading money for goods, it also includes free downloads such as images and music, free quotes, and the trade of mutually beneficial services between businesses.
Getting into eCommerce isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s certainly more flexible than starting a traditional business. Starting an online business can mean anything from creating a website to advertise your marketing or photography skills, opening an Etsy shop and filling it with your handmade creations, or buying inventory and building a vast retail empire online!
eCommerce has grown enormously in the past several years, and for good reason. Online buying and selling provides many benefits for consumers and retailers alike.
Benefits for the consumer:
- Items can be shipped, which is often more convenient than driving to the store
- Online shopping can be done at any time of the day or night
- No waiting in line– items can be bought with one click
- Far more variety/options than local businesses can offer (including but not limited to: brands, prices, colors and patterns, styles, quality, new or used, etc.)
- Easy research and comparison shopping
- Potentially lower prices
- The opportunity to buy in bulk
Benefits for the retailer:
- Ability to expand the customer base internationally
- Inventory can be sourced from anywhere in the world and shipped anywhere
- Online storefronts are less costly to start up than a brick-and-mortar store
- Increased flexibility– business owner/employees can often work anytime and from anywhere
- Easy to outsource tasks
- Automated functions– most eCommerce sites are set up to take care of many tasks for you!
Although there will always be brick-and-mortar stores, eCommerce has become a part of nearly every successful business. At Strong Estate, we work with many eCommerce businesses around the globe. It is a great opportunity to work with people who we never would have had a chance to interact with if it weren’t for the Internet. Use eCommerce to your advantage, as a consumer and as a business owner!