Consumers as a whole are spending increasingly larger amounts of time online paying bills, researching products and making purchases.
Businesses that are clinging to the old forms of marketing and commerce are being left behind because consumers are looking elsewhere (and online) to meet their needs. These business owners may want to get into the eCommerce pool, but there’s just so much to know that it feels like diving into the deep end instead of wading in slowly.
Understanding eCommerce. When it comes to Internet Marketing 101, one of the most basic concepts you need to understand is eCommerce. It’s the foundation of a number of different online business concepts like eCommerce order management or eCommerce fulfillment.
Business done electronically. eCommerce refers to any type of business done electronically — but it’s commonly used to refer to businesses with an Internet presence. In fact, the term eCommerce can apply to stores, banks, service companies and anyone else who transacts online. Having an informational website is a good start, but it doesn’t mean your business is involved in eCommerce — that takes a little more.
Understanding eCommerce models. The eCommerce models that most people will recognize instantly are the product catalogs that are tied to eCommerce order management systems. No matter who your favorite online retailers are, the process is pretty much the same across the board: You browse their website (their catalog), choose the products you want to purchase by placing them into a digital shopping cart (their ordering system) and pay when you’ve found everything you need. Simple!
Different eCommerce models. You can use these same models for any type of business that is involved in moving a product from Site A to Site B. eCommerce fulfillment works just like traditional fulfillment — you pack your items and ship them to the customer. You just transact online instead of over the phone or through the postal service. There’s also a customer-to-customer ecommerce business model. If you’ve ever been shopping on eBay or Etsy, you’ve been involved in an C2C eCommerce experience.
An important business tool. eCommerce is a great tool for you and your customers. Not only can they find the products they’re looking to purchase on your website, you have the power to allow them to customize their items or request more information through the same site. You’ll still need stellar customer service representatives for the bigger stuff, but basic customer requests can often be filtered through your site.
Although the Internet can be an intimidating place to start doing business, following your customers to their favorite medium will pay dividends in the long run. Whether you sell furniture or fruit pies, having as much information available to customers via an eCommerce platform can expand your business in ways you’ve never imagined in your brick-and-mortar shop.