What is Ecommerce?
Ecommerce, which is also referred to as electronic commerce or internet commerce, is defined as the buying and selling of goods or services using the internet, and the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions. Ecommerce is often used to refer to the sale of physical products online, but it can also describe any kind of commercial transaction that is facilitated through the internet.
Types of Ecommerce Models
Ecommerce models are divided into four main types:
- Business to Consumer (B2C):
Considered the most common business model, it is when a business sells a good or service to an individual consumer (e.g. You buy glasses from an online retailer).
- Business to Business (B2B): When a business sells a good or service to another business (e.g. A business sells software-as-a-service for other businesses to use)
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C): When a consumer sells a good or service to another consumer (e.g. You sell your phone online to another consumer).
- Consumer to Business (C2B):
When a consumer sells their own products or services to a business or organization (e.g. An influencer offers exposure to their online audience in exchange for a fee, or a photographer licenses their photo for a business to use).
Advantages of e-commerce
Aside from outages or scheduled maintenance, e-commerce sites are available 24/7, allowing visitors to browse and shop at any time.
- Speed of access
Shopping in a physical store can be slowed by crowds, e-commerce sites run quickly, and transactions can take no more than a few minutes online.
- Wide availability
Ecommerce enables brands to make a wide selection of products available, which are then shipped from a warehouse after a purchase is made. Customers will likely have more success finding what they want.
- Lower cost
E-commerce businesses avoid the cost associated with physical stores, such as rent, inventory and cashiers, although they may incur shipping and warehouse costs.
- Personalization and product recommendations.
E-commerce sites can use browsers’, search and purchase history to present useful and personalized product recommendations.
Disadvantages of e-commerce
- Limited customer service.
In an e-commerce store, customer service may be limited: The site may only provide support during certain hours of the day, or certain days a week.
- Not being able to touch or see the products.
Images on a webpage can provide a pretty good sense about a product, it’s different from experiencing it “directly.
- Wait time.
In a physical store, the customer can immediately buy their desired product and take it home with it. With e-commerce, there is a wait time for the product to be shipped to the customer’s address. Although shipping windows are decreasing as next day delivery is now quite common, it’s not immediate.