E-commerce continues to grow year after year.
Did you know? The number of online transactions increased further by 19%, which still represents 50 Internet purchases made every second!
Over the past decade, shopping habits have changed considerably. Many people today buy products or services on the Web, using an Internet payment, from their computer or other mobile devices.
Electronic commerce is, therefore, a particularly promising market. However, launching your own e-commerce activity is not to be taken lightly. I invite you to read this guide to acquire some basics and get started.
What is electronic commerce?
Electronic commerce refers to the sale of a good or service by the electronic medium, via an Internet network. It is a business model that can be used between several companies, but also between a company and an individual.
E-commerce simply means buying and selling, via a computer or a smartphone. If the choice of object or service ordered is made remotely, payment is also made online, by electronic transactions.
How does electronic commerce work?
E-commerce is available online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In practice, the cyber consumer follows almost the same purchasing process as when he visits a physical store. He searches for information on a product and compares its price via a search engine.
In parallel, he can also be attracted by an additional product or service, and thus make a compulsive purchase. As soon as he places his order, the online store's e-traders take care of the logistics and delivers the freshly purchased product to him at his address.
E-commerce is a distribution channel that is currently booming. Simple and quick to use, it allows you to shop at any time, without even having to travel.
Many customers are thus attracted by the possibility of finding any product, at any time, from any place.
What are the different types of electronic commerce?
Frequently, when we talk about electronic commerce, most people instantly think of business between individuals (B2C).
However, distance selling can take many other forms.
It can be commercial exchanges between two companies (B2B), online auctions, Internet banking services, or online reservations (like for the purchase of concert tickets, plane tickets or hotels, etc.).
Similarly, e-commerce includes both purchases made from a computer and those made from another mobile device, a more recent process and also known as "m-commerce".
What are the pros and cons of e-commerce?
If e-commerce has taken off so much, it is simply because e-commerce provides many advantages, not only to the buyer but also to the merchant.
Creating & promoting your own business on the Internet was not easier. But now it only takes a few minutes to create your own store, and no special IT knowledge is needed to get started.
The Benefits of E-Commerce
- A great opening on the world: Unlike a physical store which only reaches local customers, electronic commerce can extend the marketing of its products far beyond the borders of your country, which represents many more potential customers for the merchants.
- A constantly open store: While physical stores have limited hours, e-commerce remains open all the time. Again, this is a great opportunity to increase your turnover.
- A much lower financial investment: Electronic stores have operating costs much lower than those of physical stores. To function, they do not necessarily need staff or premises. This is what allows them to offer particularly competitive prices while showing very good profitability.
- Simplified logistics: It is also much simpler to manage stocks from an online business than in a physical business. Stock management is much less tedious, which again reduces operating costs and inventory costs for e-merchants.
- A better customer file: Gathering information about your customers through electronic commerce is also easier than in-store. Buyers are better able to provide their address, telephone number and contact details in general; only when they find themselves in front of a saleswoman in a physical business. This information then makes it possible to set up much more targeted and therefore more effective marketing actions.
- The possibility of working everywhere: Finally, the manager of electronic commerce can work from any place in the world, provided that he has an Internet connection.
The disadvantages of electronic commerce
However, like any lucrative activity, electronic commerce also has some disadvantages:
- The obligation to be very competitive: On the Internet, and via the "shopping" tab of search engines, it is particularly simple to compare the prices of the same product between different brands. Consumers are very well informed and do not hesitate to put competition. This tends to reduce the margin of e-commerce, which can sometimes reduce their profitability.
- Lack of human exchanges: Even if most electronic businesses can be reached by email or telephone, many consumers regret a lack of contact when shopping on the Internet. It is much more complicated to get personalized information online than in stores.
- The need to face technical problems: To run your online business, you will necessarily need good technical infrastructure. Bugs will be your worst enemies. These must remain exceptional, at the risk of jeopardizing your activity.
- Fear of computer hacking: Computer security is crucial when running electronic commerce. The fear of being prey to hackers is one of the major disadvantages of e-commerce.
- Shipping time: E-commerce can also hold back customers in a hurry. While they have the opportunity to have the object they want immediately when going to the store, they are subject to delivery times when they order on the web.
How to get started effectively in electronic commerce?
If e-commerce is particularly buoyant today, it is better to properly prepare the launch of your business to ensure its success. I can only advise you too much to follow the following steps:
- Ask yourself the right questions before you start: Do not think that opening an Internet business is an easy solution. If the investment is less, the competition, on the other hand, is much greater. Take the time to have the necessary perspective to find the growth market. Make sure you find the right idea while having enough motivation and time to devote to your new activity.
- Find an original concept: To stand out, I also advise you to find an original and differentiating concept. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers for a moment... What would be the reasons that would encourage users to buy on your own commercial site rather than from other e-commerce? Offer them quality products at attractive price offers. Make it a point of honor to secure their data and their shipments. Be responsive and attentive. Find the right balance to be competitive, but profitable.
- Do a market study: It is not because it is not a traditional or physical trade that you are exempt from doing a full market study. Before you start, find out about your potential customers, competitors, and suppliers. Try to identify the niches in which you could position yourself to specialize. Finally, define precisely the profile of your customers and their consumption habits.
- Create your domain name, logo and site: Once the concept is clearly in place, find a compelling and easy-to-remember domain name for your site. It must be available and original, without being too long. Really take the time to think about it, as this is a very important point for the success of your e-commerce. Your logo must also be well thought out, while at the same time revealing your sector of activity. From then on, you just have to create your site.
- Take care of administrative procedures: In parallel, do not forget to manage the administrative and legal procedures inherent in the creation of an electronic commerce, such as the choice of your status, the opening of your professional account, the drafting of your articles of association or the implementation of your business plan, to convince potential investors.
To guarantee the success of e-commerce and generate sales, many entrepreneurs are committed to the famous "5P rule": the product, the price, the promotion, the place, and the plan. In other words, to get started, take a step back from these different elements.
Find an attractive product and offer it at a competitive price and promote it well with an effective marketing and web marketing strategy.
Make room for yourself on the net so that your e-commerce is noticed before your main competitors.
Name- Raunak Pandey
Bio- Raunak is a Mechanical Engineer by qualification & Marketer by passion. He is the founder of Maiden Stride, a leading digital marketing company that provides world-class search engine marketing services and website & application development.