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eCommerce (also known as Online Shopping or Internet Commerce), is the exchange of goods or services for money, done through the internet (instead of in person).
eCommerce is one of many ways a business can profit from sales, especially smaller-scale businesses that are not suited to a physical storefront.
Types of eCommerce Businesses
There are many ways to start an eCommerce Business, or adapt your current business to eCommerce, depending on what, and to whom your business sells. Here are the most common types of eCommerce business models:
Business to Consumer (B2C)
When a Business sells goods or services to a consumer, ie: Martha orders an iPhone online.
Business to Business (B2B)
When a business sells goods or services to another business, ie: Stan’s Printing orders more paper from Quality Paper Company.
Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
When a consumer sells goods or services to another consumer, Luisa buys a gently used harmonica from Olga on Facebook Marketplace.
Consumer to Business (C2B)
When a consumer sells their own products or services to another business, ie: Austin sells some napkins he does not plan to use to Beaver Bus Lines.
Building an eCommerce Site
What to keep in mind when developing an eCommerce website or platform. It should:
- Attract potential customers
- Showcase your products and services in an attractive and informative manner
- Build trust in your brand, and the security of the transaction
- Guide the purchaser seamlessly through the buying process
- Caters to your model of business
Distribution refers to the way your product or service is distributed after the sale Here are some examples:
Dropshipping is the sale of a product manufactured and shipped to the end consumer by another company (often located overseas), from your eCommerce channel.. Dropshipping is a good way to increase sales by adding more flexibility and variety to your product line.
A subscription eCommerce model provides service or goods repeat basis, such as: monthly, or yearly. .While a subscription model is useful for more predictable cash flow (over one-time purchases), if your product or service is discretionary (fancy underwear) rather than staple goods (dog food), be sure to keep it fresh (your underwear, ie) so customers stay interested.
Last, but not least; there’s Crowdfunding. This is an eCommerce or Crowdfunding (Kickstarter, Indiegogo) campaign, meant to raise funds to bring a product or service to life. If purchasers (called backers) consider your product or service attractive, they help finance the project, usually with the expectation they will receive a good or service in return when the project is complete. While Crowdfunding campaigns are exciting, and can be a great way to bring new and innovative offerings to life, there are many factors both in and out of the Creator (project sponsor)’s control, and aren’t always successful.
Some interesting facts about eCommerce:
- Over 90% of users in America have made at least one online purchase
- By the year 2040, it’s predicted that 95% of all purchases of goods and services will be through eCommerce Websites.
- 93.5% of internet users all around the world have purchased products online.
- Buyers who have had a negative experience in your mobile eCommerce store are 62% less likely to purchase from your store/company in the future.
- eCommerce started in 1979. When Michael Aldrich wired a computer and a television set with a phone line to create an experience similar to eCommerce. This piece of technology allowed customers to select what they wanted to buy through the computer system’s interface and then purchase the item. This system Michael developed took off in the 1980s and 1990s before the Internet took off.