What is eCommerce? : Definition & Tutorial for Beginners
All the people who have never heard the term eCommerce, the first thought strikes to your mind may be “what is eCommerce?”. And before we move further lets first acknowledge this fundamental question here. Put simply, eCommerce or electronic commerce refers to the buying and the selling of the goods and services over the internet including the monetary transactions that take place in exchange for these services and goods.
eCommerce is an umbrella term that covers every aspect of the business that takes place over the internet. Today eCommerce has become one of the most popular means of business. Since people like the easy availability of goods and services delivered at their doorsteps. Ecommerce has made it easy and the Ecommerce website builder like TemplateToaster made it even simpler to achieve one workable ecommerce website in no time. That being said let’s now delve into the detailed explanation of eCommerce and understand its meaning and definition thoroughly with this tutorial for beginners.
What is eCommerce?
E-commerce is an abbreviation for electronic commerce. Okay tell me, have you ever purchased or sell anything online? If so, then you’re already engaged in eCommerce. When you either buy or sell any goods or services using an electronic medium (the internet) you are doing eCommerce business.
Gone are the days, when you had to go to the market to buy a single item. Nowadays you can simply place an order online and it will be door-shipped in a while. Due to convenience and simplicity, online businesses are growing rapidly. Today maximum business revenue is generated via eCommerce. And eCommerce platforms are making it achievable for everyone. Having the ability to conduct business through the internet has become the fundamental requirement of every business to stay in the competition. Everything from clothes to food, entertainment, medical help, household amenities, you name any, is easily available online.
eCommerce has made shopping so comfortable that you can purchase anything, anytime, anywhere just with a few clicks. Nonetheless, the advancement in technology specifically smartphones has pushed the eCommerce business to a new level altogether.
Smartphones have provided the privilege to shop online without having to sit in the home connected with wired devices. You just need an active internet connection in your smartphone or any other wireless device like tabs etc. you’re using, and shop painlessly.
A simple and convenient form of business.
Definition of eCommerce
“E-commerce is the activity of buying or selling of products on online services or over the internet.” This is the standard definition of eCommerce given by Wikipedia .
eCommerce, Ecommerce, E-Commerce or ECommerce. All four terms are a valid representation of electronic commerce used interchangeably. So, never get confused if you see any of the terms used because they all mean the same.
By the end of this post, you will have a great understanding of the various aspects of Ecommerce, its usage, and importance. And will be equipped enough to create eCommerce website without any hassle.
Meaning of eCommerce
eCommerce simply means the way of doing business over the internet. Or we can simply state that having the facility to sell and purchase things without having to visit any physical store. Apparently, it eliminates the time and geographical limitations and streamlines operations.
Difference between e-Commerce and e-Business
There is another term e-Business which you might have heard of if you are into the online business. And if not then you need to know the difference between these two. Because e-Business is often confused with eCommerce. As discussed above eCommerce is about the exchange of goods and services between a seller and a consumer. However, e-Business is a complete process from start till the end. Having said that, it incorporates the entire process, how you set up your e-commerce store online to sell the products or services and how the selling and purchasing of goods take place. To have higher sales and conversion you should know the eCommerce SEO tips to empower your eCommerce store.
Types of eCommerce
1. Business to Business (B2B)
This type of eCommerce involves transactions between two businesses. When an ecommerce company’s client is another company or an organization such as traders, manufacturers, retailers, etc. is called a business to business eCommerce. Generally, this type of sales is relatively larger than the one you would find in the B2C realm.
2. Business to Consumer (B2C)
Quite self-explanatory. When a business sells goods and services directly to consumers. It is the most fundamental type of eCommerce. Like how retailers sell products to consumers. From last decade B2C eCommerce has almost eliminated the need of physical stores.
3. Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
This type of model happens to be the one in which good or services are sold and purchased between two consumers i.e. when one consumer sells something directly to another consumer. This is basically a form of bartering. And eBay dominates all other such platforms in this particular niche.
4. Consumer to Business (C2B)
As the name states, this type of eCommerce is the one in which consumer make their products and services available online for companies and organizations to bid on and purchase. It is a slightly less common model.
5. Business to Administration (B2A)
This type of eCommerce includes online transactions between companies and any government bodies. Many government sectors are nowadays reliant on e-services like registrations, social security, etc. B2A services have mushroomed in recent years because of the fact that the government has started many e-services to simplify the tedious processes.
6. Consumer to Administration (C2A)
All the online transactions carried out between an individual consumer and government is referred to as a consumer to administration eCommerce. This comes in action when people pay for their car registration, renewal or when they have to pay for their traffic tickets, etc. All such transactions fall under this category of C2A.
All the businesses fall under one of these categories. You are not limited to these categories. In fact, you can be in more than one category of serving consumers in one or the other way. You need to have an understanding of which category you fall in. Because this will help you serve them better. Likewise, it will help you take your business decisions regarding their marketing, availability, shipping, etc.
Different type of eCommerce Models
Exclusive eCommerce Store Or Pure Play
The store where you sell exclusively one product is known as an exclusive e-commerce store. It is often referred to as Pure play. Here the company focuses only on one product. In pure play eCommerce, it is really easy to follow the cash flow. These are highly popular among investors who want to target one single type of product. You can easily create an independent and exclusive store with TemplateToaster Ecommerce website builder.
Ecommerce marketplace is a common place where you will find distinct brands of products from multiple third-party vendors, retailers, owners displayed on the same platform. The role of the eCommerce website marketplace owner is to provide a common platform for the prospect sellers to display their products and build their business. The massive eCommerce marketplace giants are Amazon and eBay. This is more like how you see in a mall, where you can find various products at one single place.
Online Store Only
This refers to stores which are present online only, they don’t have any physical store. You can buy the products from their website only. There is no physical store where you can go and purchase stuff. Such stores often have warehouses to manage the stock and for fulfillment.
In this model, you just need to have an eCommerce website and contacts with suppliers. When anybody visits your website and places an order for something, then you have to pass the order to the said supplier. And ship the order to the customer directly. This entire process is known as Dropshipping.
For all the entrepreneurs who have just started out, or doesn’t have much budget and space to stock the inventory, it is the best option to start with. This Dropshipping is comparatively less risky. Since you don’t have to pay unless your customer pays you so there is no risk of squandering capital. It is somewhat like you are working as an intermediator between customer and supplier.
It’s not always about providing products to your customers, you can offer them services as well. By services here I mean you can offer training, counseling, mentoring, or any other benefit that involves your time for exchange of money. This is also one of many famous eCommerce businesses nowadays.
So, these are some of the models that people use for various purposes and run their Ecommerce website businesses. Perhaps we need to figure out every facet of E-commerce before we get into this business.
Since we’re discussing the prospects associated with e-commerce, let’s now go through the pros and cons as well.
Pros and Cons of Having Your Own eCommerce Website
Whenever you’re to start anything new in your life, it’s always a good practice to analyze all the pros and cons of it so you can be prepared in advance. And if you’re just in the starting phase of eCommerce business, then it’s helpful useful to know about the pros and cons ahead of time so you can decide if it’s a good fit for you or not.
Pros of eCommerce website
1. Global Reach
A physical store will always have the limitation of the geographical area it can serve. Those who live in nearby areas will come and shop from the store. Whereas, it might not suitable to shop for people who live far across from the store. However, an online store is available for everyone regardless of their location. Any eCommerce business for that matter has the entire world as its market. This is certainly one of the major benefits of an eCommerce business that you can have from local to global customer-base that too with no additional charges. And what other methods can be as effective as multi-channel selling to increase your global reach.
Another bigger factor of E-Commerce business is scalability. You can serve as many people as comes to your website at a time, unlike a physical store which bounds your services because of the limited number of customers allowed at once inside the store. Of course, the scalability depends on your server but you know you can increase it accordingly as per the usage.
3. Round the clock Availability
Quite self-explanatory. Well, you can run your ecommerce business regardless of the weather conditions or any location-specific difficulties. An online store remains open 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week, and 365 days of the year. In fact, during the bad weather conditions such as heavy rainfall, midnight (although midnight is not a bad weather condition but not an appropriate time to go out to shop), extreme hot or cold climate people prefer to shop online instead, of going out of the house to malls or any physical store to shop.
4. Cost Effective
An online store has considerably lower set up and running cost. Since you don’t need any sales staff, unlike a physical store, thus, you save a lot of money. And the saved money can be deployed to services or perhaps to maintain your warehouse and product storage. Thus, a huge advantage for your business.
5. Liberty to Work from Anywhere
You are absolutely free to sell from any place in the world. You’re not at all confined to remain in the office for those defined 9 or 10 hours and work. In fact, you only need a laptop and an active internet connection and you’re all set to do your job from any part of the world.
Cons of eCommerce website
I feel we should call them challenges instead. As these are the challenges which you might have to deal with while establishing your online store.
1. Learning Curve
Having your own eCommerce website, knowledge to manage it, operate it and establishing customer-base definitely takes time and efforts. And this gets even tougher if you’re not familiar with the technology. So, to conquer your first obstacle in the eCommerce business is to learn the technology at least sufficient enough so that you can handle your site.
2. Growing Competition
Differentiating your ecommerce business from the other can a little challenging for you because there’s a huge competition online. In order to stand out of the crowd, you need to offer something unique or extraordinary that no other is offering. Be unique to attract more customers.
3. Time, Money, & Patience
It’s comparatively easy and requires less budget to start an eCommerce business, but eventually, every business needs time and money to grow and expand. We know it gets easy for a physical store owner to market the products to its potential customers right away. Whereas, attracting customers to a newly launched eCommerce business can ask you to be a little patient. You will have to work to make your website visible or noticeable to people. Lack of marketing can lead to devastating results. So, you might have to invest time and money to market your site to make it visible for users. And stay patient!
4. Lack of Trust
Trust is the basis of any relationship and here your customers need to have trust in your services and offerings. Since you cannot communicate with every customer in person and make them believe in your services. So you will have to find a way to prove that you’re trustworthy and they can rely on you. And especially when making any payment. They should have a sense of security while using services.
5. Require Active Internet Connection
Apparently, the key ingredient to run your business. To buy or to sell, you need an active internet connection. However, in today’s time when it’s not a big deal to have an internet device such as smartphones and tabs etc. But the problem arises if your target audience is not so tech-savvy.
Nevertheless, every business has its own pros and cons and in the case of eCommerce business, all the cons or say challenges are somewhat achievable. Let’s now move one step ahead and see what potential options are there to build an eCommerce website with. Well, I’m talking about ecommerce CMSs. But what is a CMS?
What is a CMS?
A CMS stands for a content management system. A CMS is a software designed to aid users to create and manage their websites. You can easily add, edit, and delete content or products that is to be published on a website. The main aim or benefit of a Content Management System is to provide an intuitive interface for creating and managing web content. There are many ecommerce CMSs available and you can use any one of them according to your requirements. Some of the most popular ones are WordPress+WooCommerce, Magento, PrestaShop, OpenCart etc. WordPress+WooCommerce is the easiest CMS to use. Adding WooCommerce a free WordPress plugin turns your simple website into an eCommerce website with ease. You can easily create your WooCommerce website with a software like TemplateToaster.
Apart from WooCommerce, there are many other plugins that make WordPress eCommerce easy . Not only WordPress, but all other CMSs also have a massive repository of plugins that enhance the eCommerce website’s functionality to a great level. Hence, you will never be out of features, no matter which CMS you use. With these assets in hand, you will be able to offer a seamless shopping experience to your users.
Now that you know about CMSs, it’s time to introduce you to website builders. This may all sound overwhelming, especially for those who have no website experience. But I assure you by the time you end up reading this post, you will have insights to set up your own online store, regardless of the digital skills you have. I will provide you with the best in the industry.
What is the best eCommerce Website Builder?
I would quickly brief you about website builder. A website builder is a platform that lets you swiftly and easily create your website without having the need to write even a single line of code. They do everything for you right from helping you choose a strong domain name to maintain the content on the web page.
Put simply, eCommerce website builders are drag and drop software that lets you customize your site with just a few clicks. They are available in both online and offline format to choose from. Nonetheless, they are taking the web industry by storm. And it certainly makes sense to choose the best fit for your website. Making it easy to pick for you, I have reviewed some of the industry’s top website builders which can serve both the newbies as well as seasoned professionals.
TemplateToaster website maker has always been at the forefront in making eCommerce website accessible to everyone be it a beginner or a professional. The ease of use and beautiful available templates matching your brand will give a massive start to your online store. You can take the trial and explore it for as long as you want because they offer unlimited trials. You will get the best in the industry since it offers you endless scalability. The backend is highly intuitive that even entrants can access it without failing. The 24*7 customer support is a cherry on the top.
If you’re ambitious and wish to skyrocket your business in no time, then pick TemplateToaster web design software without any further delay.
So, ready to start your own digital store?
I hope this post gave you some insights about what is eCommerce, eCommerce definition, eCommerce meaning, and eCommerce strategies to start your own online store. And the easiest platform to build your site is TemplateToaster website builder that comes with easy to use features that gives you a beautiful eCommerce website in no time. And I believe there’s always room for trial and error when you’re starting out. So feel free and try every feasible option that you think is the best fit for you. And if there anything you want to ask or wish was included in this tutorial for beginners, do let me know in the comment below.
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