What is Ecommerce?
The term ecommerce, which stands for electronic commerce, refers to the action of buying and selling online. Consumers and businesses use the internet to exchange money for goods and services during an ecommerce transaction. It may sound like quite a simple concept on the outside, but there are a lot of sides to the world of ecommerce. Let’s delve into more detail about every side of ecommerce you should know about.
Where and How?
Any transaction that is conducted using an electronic method such as a telephone, barcode reader, Apply Pay or online credit card payment can be referred to as ecommerce. These transactions widely take place on the internet. As of now there are between twelve and twenty four million ecommerce stores online, which goes to show that this type of buying platform is hugely popular. Here are some of the most common forms of ecommerce you will probably have come across before.
Amazon and eBay are a couple of well recognized ecommerce platforms that could be considered online marketplaces. This is essentially where consumers can buy first hand or second hand goods at a reasonable price. Platforms such as Fiverr also allow freelancers to sell their knowledge and services via an online marketplace. Ecommerce doesn’t just refer to physical products; services also fall under this umbrella too.
When a business creates a website in order to sell their services or products, this is considered an online or digital storefront. Shopify is one of the most popular platforms that supports ecommerce for small and large businesses.
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Social Media Platforms
There are ways to purchase goods on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, with their ‘shop’ feature. This isn’t available to all merchants, but this is definitely increasing in popularity, as you don’t actually need to buy a domain name in order to sell your goods.
Now that it is clear where you can find various forms of ecommerce it is important to discuss the types of products and services that are being sold. Here is an overview of the various types of goods that merchants can sell via ecommerce platforms.
In the world of online retail, you may think that physical products are the be all and end all when it comes to shopping. However, there are a number of services that can be sold and bought online. Online coaches, consultants and freelancers from all industries are usually engaging in ecommerce in order to sell their knowledge and services. The process completely depends on the merchant as an individual. Some offer payment plans and others require a full payment in order to receive their services. For example, a web designer would probably speak with their client and offer a consultation before any financial transaction takes place. The payment would probably follow in a couple of installments, which would then be exchanged for their web design services.
Selling Digital Products
The nature of ecommerce is digital, so it makes sense that online retailers are using these platforms to sell digital goods. From online courses to software, there are a number of different virtual goods to buy online.
Selling Physical Products
We are all familiar with the idea of online retailers from clothing stores to home goods, there are millions of ecommerce platforms that offer physical products. Usually online stories show pictures and descriptions of their goods which then enable consumers to add them to their basket and check out in their own time. The physical product is then shipped straight to the buyer; there are often options to pick up in store too.
This outlines the different ecommerce platforms and what type of products merchants can sell. There is no doubt that the world of online retail is growing constantly and ecommerce will continue to skyrocket as long as the internet exists.