What Is Ecommerce and How Does It Affect You?

What is ecommerce? Ecommerce which stands for electronic commerce, is a form of conducting business over the Internet by using online transactions to buy and sell either products or services. The creation and development of electronic commerce is directly a result of the evolution and spread of the Internet. Over the years e-commerce has seen explosive growth and an even brighter future.

Initially, the lack of central authority to define rules and sanctions left some fearing that the Internet is unsafe for the development of commercial activities. Using the Internet for commercial purposes has long been rejected on these grounds. The goal of the major players involved with the development of the Internet in the 80s and 90s was to have free and open sharing of information. Widespread access to the Internet has completely changed all of that.

Over the years, the Internet has turned into a major platform for businesses to reach customers from all over the world and build upon their brand. As online security slowly began to improve, more and more people feel comfortable shopping online. Now the trend is so widespread that it’s hard to imagine anyone with access to the Internet not visiting and buying from an ecommerce website.

For a business, what is ecommerce?

In the beginning, only major businesses with huge budgets were able to develop ecommerce websites, because hiring a web designer costs a lot of money. Currently all of the major offline retailers have a presence online. Fortunately in recent years more and more small businesses are starting online stores as well, because the barrier to entry decreased dramatically due to the development of all-in-one ecommerce solutions. Now retail businesses both big and small are able to expose their products to millions of people on the Internet, which if marketed properly could dramatically increase profits for the business.

For a consumer, what is ecommerce?

In this new age of the Internet, nothing beats the convenience that e-commerce has brought people all over the world. Not only are they able to find just about anything their hearts desire online, they can also compare online retailers to find the best deal on the same product. Consumers are no longer limited to what’s available outside their doorstep, they have access to things halfway across the world. There is also no need to make a trip to a store, ecommerce allows consumers to buy anything they want 24 hours a day no matter where they are.

The TV and Internet Regarding Ecommerce

Good marketing means the art of selling the goods/services via any medium worth exploiting. This is the rule for promoting one’s business and earning money. The modern man has achieved tremendous success regarding technological development and enhancements thereof. Radios, television, newspapers, Internet, Mobile phones are very popular for communication to establish social contacts or simply make money. The cheapest and the most cost-effective ways to do just that are through the Internet. Internet is, nowadays, gaining much popularity to the extent that it may soon beat the Television. This is because; the Market it covers is standardized all over the world. Generally, a person in the Australia gets to see the same thing on a particular web as on surfing the same web in the USA. Television has some boundaries and often the risk factor involved is way high compared to the Internet. The promotion on TV demands a lot of Investment, which may or may not return fruitful investment. But, the Internet demands a very lower level of Investment compared to the Television so it minimizes the risk factor to the maximum possible extent.

TV is very popular for promotion because mostly every potential consumer in the Local Market watches it. However, Internet has a slight disadvantage to it. Though many people are well aware of the Net and its potential, they lack the technical know-how of operating it. They don’t understand that using Internet for Ecommerce is way easier than going to a shop, loitering about in search of what you are looking for and finally end up tired and dissatisfied. The Internet saves time makes your selection easy and convenient. The ecommerce development is directly related to this fact as many are realizing its easiness.

There are many other reasons why the Internet is not still as much popular as TV including,

* People use TV more than the computers, as it gained popularity during the 60s and has the advantage of the time factor. The Internet was begun to be developed, during the late 60s and reached the masses in 1991. It gained popularity in 1994 and has been unstoppable since then. It lags behind due to its Invention at a later point in time than TV.

* The promotional services done for TV and other media have undergone an immense amount of research. The presentation of products/services is done much better on Television than the Internet. The research on using the Internet effectively for Ecommerce is still ongoing and in fact begun only a decade ago. This means that ads and shows on TV are designed better than ecommerce web site designs.

* Ecommerce requires a professional web design and the availability of good shopping cart software. There are many people out there who find using this software to be something very technical, which is not always true. A good ecommerce solution offering company gets you an easy to operate ecommerce software and a better web design.

Ecommerce Myths Exposed

The internet is full of advice on how to build successful ecommerce websites, some of it bad and some of it useful. Whilst it is easy to disregard the bad advice, unfortunately the sheer amount available only encourages bad practice during ecommerce development. We are going to dispel some of the myths that surround ecommerce to ensure that you or your website developer only build ecommerce websites that are full of the good stuff!

Myth Number 1 – You can never provide too much information

One of the most common ecommerce myths is that you can never provide your buyers with too much information. Buying decisions hinge on information gathering, in theory the more information you provide potential customers the more you enable buying decisions. In reality however too much information is overwhelming and can prevent buying decisions from being made. Filling up your product pages with countless choices and unnecessary information only causes confusion and choice paralysis. Encourage users of your site to become customers by providing them with simple product information, and if you really want to provide technical specifications for your products present them as separate downloadable documents.

Myth Number 2 – Security badges inspire confidence

Make no bones about it, online security is paramount. Thanks to a surge in media interest, the security of online shopping has taken a bashing of late and many would-be customers are still wary of engaging with ecommerce. As an owner of an ecommerce site you need to inspire confidence in your users, but simply adding a McAfee or VeriSign badge to your checkout pages does nothing to allay the fear of internet shopping! You need to convince potential customers that your site is trustworthy and secure through effective written content; a feeble badge just won’t cut it!

Myth Number 3 – Cross-sell at every opportunity

Walk into any supermarket and it’s a guarantee that you will be exposed to cross-selling at every aisle and checkout. Even something as simple as purchasing a newspaper from a supermarket subjects you to a range of other products to purchase…chocolates, magazines and supermarket brand credit cards! Cross-selling works in shops, but it doesn’t translate very well online. In a bid to follow the Amazon template many online retailers attempt to introduce cross-selling at every stage of a user interaction including checkout processes. Some website owners even try to cross-sell products which are completely unrelated. This is just wrong wrong wrong! Online buying processes are user driven and checkout procedures need to be fast, focused and efficient. Bombarding your customers with extra choices and additional products when they are in the process of buying from you is off-putting and will simply encourage them to visit your competitors’ websites. Keep all cross-selling and promotional techniques away from the checkout, don’t give in to temptation!

Myth Number 4 – Successful ecommerce depends solely on the website

Your ecommerce website development agency has probably only concentrated their advice and attention on building you the ecommerce site of your dreams, after all “if we build it, they will come”! That’s a nice sentiment but sadly the success of your ebusiness doesn’t rely on the website alone. The real success of your ebusiness is in the service that you provide to your users and customers. User experience is improved by appealing and well design websites, but there are other important components which make up the full experience such as: open communication channels, returns policies, order fulfilment and dispatch, email notifications and complaints handling. Providing excellent customer service online is as important as providing it offline.

Myth Number 5 – Ecommerce is easy, anyone can do it!

The final ecommerce myth is that setting up and running an ecommerce business is easy. And it’s not just the internet that conveys this message; it’s even on our television screens. Take the current crop of “junior” apprentices vying to be Lord Sugar’s dogsbody for example, at least two of these adolescents claim to be CEOs of ebusinesses. Proof then surely that ecommerce so easy that 16 year old children can do it? Unfortunately it’s not as simple as that! Yes setting up an ecommerce website can be easy, but as we have discovered successful ecommerce relies on so much more. Successful ecommerce is a long term process which incorporates all the elements which are found in bricks and mortar businesses – product, functions, customer service, communication and effective marketing strategies. Now how many 16 year-olds can get their heads round that?!

Ecommerce Trends To Watch For In 2017

Many studies have shown a double-digit rise in worldwide ecommerce sales in 2016. Many analysts even predict that the worldwide ecommerce sales will increase consistently till 2020. However, the number of people accessing ecommerce websites on their mobile devices has been increasing rapidly. Likewise, a number of studies have shown a steady increase in mobile commerce sales driven by customers’ mobile engagement behavior.

Each enterprise needs to ensure that its ecommerce website keep users engaged by functioning like a mobile app. It must optimize its ecommerce website for mobile devices and allow users make payment through popular mobile wallets. At the same time, the business also needs to keep track of the emerging ecommerce trends to accomplish higher conversion rate and increase digital commerce revenue. There is a series of trends that will impact and shape ecommerce sales in 2017.

7 Trends that will Impact and Shape Ecommerce Business in 2017

1) Personalized Shopping Experience

Unlike mobile apps, websites lack the capability to personalize user experience by taking advantage of the features of underlying device and operating system. But many enterprises nowadays use analytics tools to gather a wide variety of customer data. The data collected through analytics tools help businesses to identify the preferences and understand the behavior of individual customers. Also, an ecommerce business can leverage the information to engage customers by showing the right product, content, ads, and deals to each customer. It can further personalize the shopping experience of each customer and boost ecommerce sales by delivering app-like user experience.

2) Social Selling

The data posted on various websites depict that people spend more time on social networking platforms than other websites. Many businesses promote their products or services on popular social networks to divert visitors to their ecommerce websites regularly. There are a number of social networking websites that allow users to buy products or services directly without visiting an ecommerce website. Many social networks are even planning to roll out new features to generate more revenue by facilitating social selling. The ecommerce business owners can take advantage of these social selling options to promote their products more effectively and boost sales.

3) Chat Bots

Many high-traffic websites nowadays interact with customers through chat bots. In addition to working as customer service executives, the chat bots also help users to perform commercial activities like shopping and booking. Many ecommerce website developers and owners will soon explore ways to keep visitors engaged by interacting with the machines efficiently. However, an enterprise has to deploy a variety of chat bots to meet the varying needs and preferences of customers. Some ecommerce companies have already used chat bots to provide personal shopping service and send messages. Many enterprises will soon use chat bots to make their ecommerce website more interactive and make shopping experience personalized.

4) Artificial Intelligence

The popular mobile platforms make people use artificial intelligence on a daily basis. A large number of people nowadays perform common tasks by talking to their machines through Google’s Assistant, Apple’s Siri, or Microsoft’s Cortana. Large ecommerce companies like Amazon have already started using artificial intelligence to chat with customer. But the ecommerce websites will need a variety of personal assistant to optimize the end-to-end shopping experience. More and more ecommerce businesses will take advantage of artificial intelligence to interact with customers in a smarter way and without deploying additional staff.

5) Contactless Payment

The mobile commerce apps enable users to choose from many payment modes – debit/credit card, internet banking and mobile wallets. A large number of buyers nowadays prefer making payment through their mobile wallets to debit or credit cards. In USA, some companies like Starbucks are using contactless payment options successfully to generate more revenue. Hence, the customers will love to buy product from an ecommerce website that allows them to use contactless payment options. Hence, many enterprises have to redesign their ecommerce websites in 2017 to accommodate the emerging mobile and contactless payment options.

6) Same Day Delivery and Return

There are many people who still prefer brick-and-mortar stores to web stores due to instant delivery. The web store owners must focus on reducing the delivery time of online orders to make more people buy products online. A number of studies have also shown that many customers do not hesitate to pay extra for same-day delivery. Hence, the ecommerce businesses have to explore ways to reduce delivery time of orders. Some companies will even provide flexible delivery option to customers and set up local drop-off points to ensure faster delivery. Likewise, they also need to ensure that each customer has option to return orders without putting extra time, effort and money.

7) User Generated Content

Many people nowadays read the product review and comments posted by other buyers before buying a product. Likewise, many people even choose a web store based on the shopping experience posted by other customers. Hence, enterprises can easily boost ecommerce sales by providing additional information about the products through pictures, description, specifications, and user reviews. Many ecommerce businesses will encourage customers to write reviews and share their shopping experience. They will even explore ways to promote the product more effectively through the user generated content.

However, the ecommerce trends keep changing at regular intervals. Hence, an enterprise has to keep track of the emerging trends to generate more ecommerce revenue. At the same time, it must explore ways to attract and retain customers by improving discovery, logistics and delivery through latest technologies.