What is eCommerce?
eCommerce, which is also called electronic/internet commerce simply means any kind of business transaction that is carried out via the internet. Some people refer to it as the buying and selling of goods and services online. Both definitions are precisely apt but the most precise definition is the fact that eCommerce, refers to any aspect of online business.
Just like the evolution of man, eCommerce has a history. Therefore, it is very important to identify with that history first in a bid to understand the business. eCommerce first came into limelight on 11th of August, 1994 when a man sold a CD by the band ‘Sting’ to his friend via his website: NetMarket, which was an American retail platform. Since then, eCommerce has grown into a solid money making platform that makes it easy for online sellers to be discovered by buyers. It has given business people, freelancers and even large organizations the opportunity to grow their businesses at a faster and more convenient pace.
As convenient as the business is, some people still find it difficult to succeed using the internet. In this century, it is out rightly assumed that anyone who has something to sell should market it online because the internet is the nearest neighbor to your potential customer. What this implies is this; if you have got something to sell and you are not online, quit selling. eCommerce is a simple model of transaction and we intend to make it simpler for those who are having a tough time excelling on this platform. So, if you are not sure which category you fall into, i.e., the successful eCommerce user or the unsuccessful one, just read through this article carefully and you will find answers to your puzzles.
There are four major models in eCommerce under which every form of internet transaction can be categorized.
Business 2 Consumer (B2C): This simply means any business transaction which takes place between a single business and a single individual. (E.g. you buy a satin dress from an online retailer).
Business 2 Business (B2B): This is when a business sells a good or service to another. (E.g. A business sells its newly developed application to another business to use).
Consumer 2 Consumer (C2C): When a consumer sells a good or service to another consumer through an online platform. For example, you sell your old gas cooker on eBay to another consumer.
Consumer 2 Business (C2B): This refers to when a consumer sells their own personal goods or services to an organization or business. A good example is when a blogger sells his blog to an organization to use for business.
eCommerce has various forms depending on the type of transaction between organizations and consumers and the kind of goods and services that are being exchanged.
Retail: This is the sale of a product by an organization to a direct consumer without using any middlemen.
Wholesale: This involves selling products in bulk to a retailer who in turn sells to direct consumers.
Crowd-funding: This type of eCommerce deals with payment before service can be rendered. This helps the seller to raise capital to start the business.
Drop-shipping: This is the sale of products which would be shipped to the consumer by the middleman.
Subscription: This involves the purchase of a product regularly until the subscriber chooses to end the transaction.
Digital products: This deals with downloadable digital goods, courses, media that has to be bought or licensed for use.
Physical products: This entails any goods that have to be ordered and shipped physically to customers as sales are made.
Services: This refers to skills which are offered in exchange for remuneration.
The cause of failure in any business can be attributed to a particular reason(s). This theory applies to eCommerce as well. There are some common errors people make which make them unsuccessful in this line of business. These reasons include:
Selling wrong products: The very straightforward way to say this is; if you are selling products that are not customer friendly, there is no way in the universe that you would be able to sell. As such, to avoid such a mistake, do market surveys of products that people really want and sell them.
Zero Market Plan: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Some people do not map out a workable strategy for their business. This results in failure even before the business begins. To avoid such, you need to careful have a plan, set it and work with it.
Bad Design: There is no two ways to say this. Consumers search for your website and there is nothing attractive or eye-catchy about it. The site has a pretty bad design. The design looks sneaky like the site is set up for fraudulent acts. This will chase people away. In a bid to build a good name and brand, you need a gorgeous design.
Outrageous Shipping Prices: There is nobody who wants to buy a $15 item which costs $20 dollars to ship. So, if your business reads things like that, it’s bound to scare people. If you can consider FREE shipping, you will make way more sales than you can imagine.
Poor Content: Good content is life. Creative articles, pictures, videos will speak for your business. If you don’t have that already, then, that is probably the reason why you aren’t getting those customers.
No Google Ranking: A very crucial part of eCommerce is search engine optimization. If your website seems too difficult to find on Google simply by typing the first few letters, many customers who are internet geeks would not buy your goods.
What we are trying to stress in essence is that; eCommerce is not rocket science. It only yields bountifully for you when you follow its basic principles. These principles are similar to those of the regular physical businesses. The only difference is the terms of qualification.
If you fall into the category of those making these slight errors in your eCommerce business, then read further for some very helpful tips which will help you ace the game.
Avoid rushing into the business: This is a very common mistake which people make as soon as they get new ideas. Do not allow your ideas drive you, drive them. Make sure you get the necessary things such as SEO content marketing, social media, advertising, and other very useful things ready before launching your business.
Pre-Testing: You should simply do a market survey to figure how what is needed by consumers. Test anything and everything before selecting the one true thing which will become your own thing.
Social media: Working with the social media should be your best bet to succeed online. You can get people to help manage and advertise on your social media accounts. All these will help increase your customers.
Be Users Focused: Let everything you do be about your customers. This can be achieved by giving them reasonable price options, shipping and making it easy for them to connect with your brand. If you can do this, you will have dedicated customers in no time.
Keep Renovating: As your business grows, do not be stagnant with ideas. You need to keep bringing new things to your platform. Stay in the know by keeping up with the trend. By doing this, your business will keep the old customers interested and catch the attention of new customers.
At this point, I do not need to ask which category of eCommerce user you fall into. From the above pros and cons, you can decide on which type of eCommerce user you are at the moment, and the type of eCommerce user you intend to become after reading this article. Inasmuch as I would love for you to be successful with eCommerce, the choice is solely yours. So, successful or otherwise, which are you?