Ecommerce, fully named as Electronic Commerce is a medium of buying and selling physical or digital products through electronic transactions. Customers have the option to access various products of any brand, any style, and at anytime with just a few simple clicks on any ecommerce website. Customers have to think a little different in changing their perspective to buying goods through an ecommerce website other than physically going to the market in search of product and making the purchase. With the growing web and advancements in web technology, ecommerce websites have changes in its interface to always offer a better and simple to explore design to visitors and become its potential customers.
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Ecommerce websites have grown quickly in terms of quantity and in quality with the main objective to sell items with much more ease so that more and more visitors become frequent customers and therefore grow web commerce.
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The ultimate trust of a user to rely on purchasing a product through ecommerce comes when he reads successful stories of friends and relatives doing successful transactions online. It guarantees the money has been transferred to the seller without any theft steal and no spam has been there. With reviews and testimonials playing the roles of building trust, the user learns about the commerce going well on the web. Cash on Delivery (COD) for even high valued purchases grab the attention of customers who were looking for expensive goods, but were in doubt.
Through ecommerce, you have no idea from where your product comes to your doorstep. A guy in London buys a product from a daily deals site setup in America, which sources its goods from China, but the goods were made in India. This long circulation would not have been possible without ecommerce websites in existence.
The first ecommerce was setup in 1970s when businesses were used to transfer commercial documents like purchase orders and invoices electronically. But it was not long, when with the world wide web in 1990 was introduced and with the advances of online banking in another four years come up, when an opening of an online Pizza shop by Pizza Hut in USA took place. During the time around 1994, Netscape introduced secure encryption of online data transfer which made the companies like Amazon and eBay to come up in 1995 and 1996 in the United States.
Initial Restrictions to Ecommerce
Initial problem faced by any ecommerce website is the availability of internet, though most have access to it but, still a major portion of many countries are lacking to access web and so are not having any knowledge about the online purchases.
Taking a vast country, it is not very easy to distribute physical goods to various regions of the country and be able to secure products from suppliers. It is the need of investing a significant amount of money in planning the logistics. For the success and good will of any ecommerce website, it is necessary to get the customers receive their goods in the promised time frame and in good condition without a bit of damage.
Payment problems also happen. Believing in cash transactions to be safer than online Paypal and credit cards payment, cash on delivery is widely used. The customers place the order but pays only when they receive the product at their doorsteps.
Types of Ecommerce Websites
Ecommerce websites connect varieties of brands and services with consumers. There are sites that offer auctions on branded items, sites that let you loan your second property, sites that have created an online marketplace with shopping cart solution and even sites that recommend you other online stores.
There are 8 business models for ecommerce website to set up.
1. The Aggregators
Before an important purchase, you would try exploring different websites to find lowest prices and deals on the internet. But even the most indulged shoppers cannot keep track of this, so there comes the aggregators which have the ability to search many ecommerce websites on web within a certain category all at the same time. They serve you the best product pricings or services or deals existing on the internet. Some examples are given below.
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2. The Deal Market
Market giving deals with special discounts from variety of businesses to consumers. It is a win-win condition for both businesses and consumers. Consumers get a great deal which can be discounts from 40% to 90% or can be limited time offers. Businesses get to have new consumers served with their products.
3. Community Buying
A community shopping model. A US site LittleBlackBag.com where Japanese department stores lucky bag sales. Shoppers receive a mystery bag with a selection of fashion and beauty products every month. They then get a week to trade with other users to make their perfect collection and the generosity increases further by the fact that select bags contain prizes worth 4 to 5 times the value of the bags. These e-commerce websites have features of mass collaboration and social networking plugged into one to make innovative decisions.
4. Facebook Commerce
Making stores on Facebook is another form of internet commerce. A newly hosted website for online store purpose may lack features of SEO and visitors and so creating product or brand page on Facebook links to external product site from Facebook. In this way, a merchant brings the power of 750 million users on Facebook to its product. There can also be facebook advertising banners to promote the merchant facebook page.
5. The Single Brand Promotion
This model is used mainly by individual retail brands to not only promote the brand and the products, but also drive sales. Many brands are using this to expand from physical stores to click stores and reach a wider audience. There are artists who sell their own music, authors who sell their own books and many brands with their own stores.
6. Vertical Marketplace
Ecommerce sites not only cater multiple products of multiple categories. There are sites which are offering shopping cart solution for a specific niche or category. If user wants to browse for varieties in a product, vertical marketplace is the solution other than horizontal player that consists of multiple categories and have no particular niche. Some ecommerce sites are Allschoolstuff.com (all educational products), Heavenandhome.com (home furnishing products) and Veev.com ( luxury leather products ).
7. Auction Place
Businesses sell items worth thousands of dollars for pennies. The site charges a low participation fee and as an auction attracts a large number of bidders, often the bids exceed the value of the item being sold. Some such ecommerce websites are sella.co.nz , trademe.co.nz and eBay.
Megamall is the most popular business model in which businesses bet on the products their consumers would most like to buy and stock those in a virtual store. Customers then go online and purchase the products they like through credit cards, cash on delivery or net banking. Some such online stores are Amazon, eBay, IndiaPlaza.
Here is a slideshare presentation from GBC by Jenifer Mitra on Ecommerce.
Ecommerce Industry has emerged so much since its existence, that it is the most penetrated consumer service on the web.