One of the many benefits that the Internet introduces is the ability to conduct online business from any place. The Internet is the driving force behind e-commerce as it links firms to potential buyers, while individuals can order anything from the comfort of their homes. Gone are the days when you had to physically visit the store looking for an item, only to miss it and wait for a couple of weeks before they restock. With the Internet, you can simultaneously search for a product on various online stores like Amazon and eBay. There is more to this.
Here is a look at everything you need to know about e-commerce and the opportunities it holds for communities and businesses.
What is e-commerce?
Internet commerce or electronic commerce is referred to as e-commerce. It involves purchasing and selling goods via the Internet, while payment for the same is made through the many online payment processors available such as PayPal.
Conversations around e-commerce are often confined to buying physical products through the Internet. Later on, you receive these products after they are delivered to your doorstep. However, e-commerce also encompasses any other commercial transaction provided it is executed through the Internet.
Do not confuse e-business and e-commerce. The former is more of a general term that describes the operations of the online business while e-commerce is all about transacting goods and services.
The concept of e-commerce dates back to 1994, when the website NetMarket was introduced. Through this platform, the first sale of a CD was made, setting the precedence of how future businesses would operate. Barely two decades later, Internet commerce is so widely developed that it is almost a norm to buy your next big purchase from online retail platforms.
Types of e-commerce
e-commerce is divided into various categories based on the kind of transaction entered.
- Consumer to Consumer – Takes place when a consumer sells to another consumer. This mainly happens with used items like old furniture. eBay is one of the platforms that foster this kind of transaction.
- Business to Consumer – Happens when a store sells its products to an individual consumer. For instance, you may visit online retail to buy a laptop. B2C is the most common type of e-commerce.
- Business to Business – Involves one business selling to another company. A good example is software as a service.
- Consumer to Business – Entails consumers selling their products or services to the organization. For instance, social media influencers may be contracted by an organization to revamp its social media presence.
Benefits of e-commerce
There is no doubt that we have more to gain from e-commerce than initially thought. Some of the benefits realized so far include:
- Businesses have access to a broader market as more people are connected to the Internet and join social media platforms.
- Businesses keep tabs of consumer trends and instantly respond to them.
- Customers can compare products sold by various vendors in terms of prices and features before making the final decision.
- Consumers can get any legally viable products that they want without leaving the comfort of their homes.