What is an E-Commerce Website?
E-Commerce stands for Electronic Commerce, where goods and services are sold through electronic means, primarily the internet.
Since the early 1990's it has become widely accepted worldwide, becoming a popular operational modern business mode. It is also known to one and all as online shopping.
The first online purchase in the history of the internet was made in 1994 by NetMarket. These pioneering endeavours took off, what started as a promising platform for new businesses became a phenomenon in its own right. Even before the global Covid-19 pandemic lockdown boosted online sales beyond anyone's wildest dreams, global e-commerce growth rate for 2020 was already expected to top 19%, bringing total e-commerce sales worldwide in 2020 to $4.206 trillion (Oberlo).
New technologies have made online shopping more convenient and more enjoyable than ever before. Customers can now purchase virtually anything online from items to services to training courses to digital downloads from the comfort of their own homes, using their favourite device, without ever having to go to a physical location. Smart devices and wi-fi connectivity have taken it up to a whole new level by enabling shoppers to make purchases from any location, at any time of the night or day.
How do E-Commerce Websites Work?
E-Commerce websites automate online transactions by simplifying the exchange of goods, data and funds necessary for online vendors to secure, sell, and deliver their goods and services via the internet.
Shoppers and vendors are no longer weighed down by unnecessary formalities and complicated interfaces. Making a purchase over the internet really simple, and in many cases much faster, easier, and cheaper than purchases made in high street stores. Shoppers can view a store’s entire selection, choose items, and make their purchases immediately. Also, vendors can now manage their business and fulfil sales remotely without the need for a physical location. They can advertise, display, promote, and complete transactions from any internet-accessible location of their choice.
With all the benefits for both you and your customers, here are a few reasons to make the jump to an e-commerce platform:
An International Marketplace
An e-commerce website isn’t tied down to one location. A single website can be accessed by the entire world, broadening your scope of potential customers and making international business a viable option.
Open All Hours
E-Commerce websites never close. Customers get the pleasure of placing orders or making purchases exactly when they want to. You can now be open all day, every day, without costly operational expenses.
Without the pressure of limited inventory and an often quite costly physical shopfront rent and rates, you can now offer a much wider range of products. If you already have a shop or boutique you can amplify your revenue potential by adding E-commerce to reach a wider audience. You may also consider diversifying into digital products, eBooks, apps, media, online workshops and more.
Take Your Marketing Campaign Online
A major bonus of the online environment is that potential new customers can find your businesses website by searching for your products, deliberately. If your website has good search engine optimisation these internet users will find your website and purchase from you. Successful vendors engage with their customers by encouraging and acting on their valuable feedback and product reviews. This helps to build customer loyalty and gives your business a competitive advantage.
Making it easy
Internet shoppers enjoy instant gratification, often buying on impulse. In our fast-paced world, many jump at the opportunity to make shopping even more convenient. For example, not everyone has the time to visit a high street store or shopping mall during working hours. The desired item might even only be found in a specialised store which is located too far away to conveniently travel to. There are countless personal reasons to consider. Most people would rather make their purchase as quickly and painlessly as possible. People no longer view shopping centres as a major source of entertainment, and for many they may even be a hassle. Nowadays physical stores insist on social distancing, setting restrictions on accessibility. E-Commerce options alleviate much of these pressures.
The costs associated with physical stores are endless: staff recruitment and training, rent and business rates, utilities, post lockdown safe shopping requirements an so on. A well-designed e-commerce website can bypass many of these expenses. The money saved here can be in sales and marketing to help you grow your businesses and brand.
There is no concern for theft, natural disasters, display product damages, customer injury, etc.
An E-commerce website allows your customers to engage more closely with your brand by providing personalised shopping experiences for them. For example, tracking viewing or ordering history in their account dashboard, bookmarking (or favouriting) items for future purchases can really make a huge difference to your bottom line.
More Visibility Online
Even if you own a brick and mortar store, a solid online presence through an e-commerce website can help customers learn more about your brand and products. This gives you the opportunity to convince them of your relevance and stay in their mind as they shop around.
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