E-commerce and online shopping are two terms that many people use interchangeably. However, they are both different concepts. According to Candice V Cunningham, founder of the non-profit organization The Black Ecosystem in Chicago, e-commerce refers to all aspects of operating a business online, while online shopping refers to the online selling and purchasing of goods and services.
In today’s competitive online marketplace, it can be difficult for new entrepreneurs to carve out a niche for themselves. E-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart have taken over much of the marketplace, squeezing out smaller companies with rock-bottom prices and low shipping costs. However, it is possible for new entrepreneurs to make a stand in the online environment.
E-commerce has completely changed how the market operates, making it easier to discover and purchase products worldwide. In fact, e-commerce has created a worldwide market which wasn’t possible in the traditional retail market. E-commerce sales are rapidly increasing year over year and projected to reach 27 trillion dollars by the year 2020.
Types of E-Commerce
There are several models of e-commerce. The most common models are business to consumer (B2C), business to business (B2B), consumer to consumer (C2C), and consumer to business (C2B), explains Candice Cunningham. E-commerce also involves several types of transactions such as retail — or sale of a product by a business to a customer without an intermediary, wholesale (the sale of products in bulk), drop shipping (the sale of a product, which is shipped to a consumer via a third party), crowdfunding, subscription services, digital products and services as well as physical products.
Online shopping, on the other hand, is an e-commerce activity that involves purchasing items on a seller’s website via credit or debit card and having the item delivered to your home. Online shopping also involves searching for items online via web searches and by conducting online research. Online shopping is only one aspect of what we know as e-commerce.
With online shopping, customers purchase items worldwide via a digital platform. Access to a global marketplace is the best benefit of online shopping. Online shopping is also great for those who want to avoid stores and long line-ups and those who are too busy to shop in traditional brick and mortar retail stores. Once you order a product online, it then is shipped to your home in as little as 24 hours. Many retailers are beginning to move more of their stock to be online only. Amazon, one of the largest businesses in the world, is only online.
The Importance of E-Commerce
E-commerce allows retailers to expand their market and increase their overall profitability. It also requires minimal investment with maximum return — along with the possibility of endless growth. E-commerce simplifies business processes, making them more efficient, reducing paperwork, environmental waste, and increasing overall productivity.
E-commerce also has many advantages to customers as well, including 24/7 online support, more options and ease of delivery, readily available information, and access to other customer reviews in a quick and easy to access manner allowing consumers to make more informed decisions. It also has environmental benefits too, such as reducing air pollution, and increased access to products in rural and remote areas, among other things.
With the advent of e-commerce and online shopping, retailers and entrepreneurs have completely changed how they do business. They can reach a more diverse market with less effort, which makes it possible for almost anyone to become an online entrepreneur.
If you want to build your own web shop or have questions relating to e-commerce development platforms or apps, read our blog posts for Shopify and Shopware. Our dedicated outsourcing team can be your collaborator in e-commerce.