What is eCommerce?
Electronic commerce or internet commerce is the term used to describe the sale and purchase of services, goods, etc., on the internet, in virtual reality and this term is popularly known as eCommerce.
eCommerce is a collection of physical as well as commercial transactions made via the internet which includes buying of products, transfer of money and data.
Online shopping is of the biggest asset of eCommerce and it began only about a decade ago in 1994, in the United States of America when a budding online seller, through his website, sold a popular band’s compact drive or CD as it was known at that time to a friend.
Starting from such a small scale, the eCommerce industry evolved beyond imagination and with rapid technological support to enable ‘Shopping at your fingertips’ as we know it today.
Customers sitting at any corner of the world can now easily discover and purchase whatever they want through online retailers and marketplaces, without stepping out of their homes.
And this is a major factor that has given rise to the eCommerce industry and allows it to expand even further with upcoming and cutting edge technology being added to the industry every day to make the purchasing experience of customers better and smoother.
What are the Different Models of eCommerce Business?
The eCommerce industry operates in several modes and based on the audience and services provided by a business, there are various types of eCommerce models, categorised as:
Business to Consumer (B2C):
The B2C eCommerce model works around the model of businesses selling goods and services to consumers directly.
Businesses provide their customers with various services via their websites or marketplaces and the transaction of services take place directly between the two.
Example of this type of business model includes – ebay, Zalando, Amazon.in, Flipkart.com, Myntra.com, Snapdeal.com etc.
Business to Business (B2B):
The B2B eCommerce model is based on the services provided by one business to another or transactions between the two. This kind of model may work for businesses such as a retailer and wholesaler.
In this model, a business can provide supply chain solutions to other businesses and not to the consumers directly.
Companies can purchase products like raw materials for use in the manufacturing processes from another business.
Udaan, Alibaba,Trade Key, Quill.com, AmazonBusiness.in, Power2SME.com are some of the most known names of this model.
Consumer to Consumer (C2C):
The C2C eCommerce model is when a consumer sells goods to another consumer, without the involvement of an organization.
This mode of business is basically used to sell refurbished products or services and requires direct contact between two individuals. Consumers can go on multiple online websites to buy and sell items, grow their small to medium business or simply resale products that they own.
Quite popular among people, some of the best-known business models include Etsy, Craigslist, Quikr and OLX.
Consumer to Business (C2B):
The C2B eCommerce model is defined as a service provided by a consumer to a business. When a consumer expresses their views about a product or service that they have been using, they directly promote this model of selling. Selling refurbished goods is also a part of the C2B model.
This mode is quite popular these days as eCommerce businesses encourage consumers to share their experience with the product they bought and give it a rating to help other buyers make the right choice.
Businesses such as Trip Advisor, Cashify, Naukri.com, Fiverr, etc are the most common examples of this mode of business.
What are the Different Components of the eCommerce ecosystem?
While a business model defines who you want to sell to, business components define what you want to sell to.
Your services not only require your audience but also well defined and categorized services you want to sell in order to actually gain profits.
With tens of different choices, the eCommerce industry operates in several domains that define the services of each business and enables the categorization of systems.
The different components of the eCommerce ecosystem include:
- Demand Channels (Marketplaces, Website, social media etc.)
- Online Marketing
- Inventory Management
- Shipping/ Logistics
- Payment Gateway
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Channel Management Software
Your eCommerce business can work on all or some of these components, depending upon your company requirements and the services you offer.
Mainly for businesses, the biggest aim is to generate sales, acquire new customers, and maintain a smooth relationship with them by enabling faster, more efficient, and highly accurate services.
In order to enable this, your business needs to have a thorough understanding of what works best for the customers and what more can be done to increase overall profitability.
How to Start Your eCommerce Business?
Building up an eCommerce business requires more than just a product, it requires a complete grasp of the growing online market and what is in demand. To turn a business into a successful enterprise, follow these simple steps:
– Make Sure of Your eCommerce Business Model
Among the 4 major business models mentioned above, you need to first understand which model does your business fall into.
Your business can fall into one of the many categories and based on that you can move ahead to the next steps of facilitating the official steps involved.
– Decide whether to go for a marketplace or build an own website
A very important aspect to clear out before you kickstart your eCommerce journey is to choose between a marketplace or a website to sell from. This key decision helps you further plan your requirements.
If you decide to go for a marketplace directly, you will be taking on the services of a third party such as Amazon, Flipkart, Udaan, Noon, etc. A marketplace will ensure thousands of visitors but at the same time, you will find yourself competing with several other sellers as well.
If you wish to go for your own website, the first things to keep in mind is to focus on cataloguing insightful content that can be easily absorbed by the users along with quick step navigational features to place an order, as you will be building your own audience from scratch.
For this, you can easily utilize the plug and play feature of brands such as Shopify, Magento, etc that not only help you build your online store with the best outlook but also puts your name out with many useful features.
– Get your business registered, facilitated and ready to roll
Once you have determined the model, domain and from which platform you would be selling, the next step is to get the nod of official rules and regulations from your government to be able to successfully run
Based on the government norms being followed, get your business an official name and register it with a logo that will represent your brand. Once the registration is done, make sure to get all the additional documents required for you to run your business legally in the country as well as overseas.
In addition to registration, you may be required to get a Business License, Employer Identification Number, Permit Rights, etc
– Create an Attractive Product Line
Your products are your sales so make sure to showcase each and every product in the most attractive way possible.
You may require to hunt for product lines and what exactly your brand speaks out about as it will help you with narrowing down what areas to work on to connect your product to the customers.
– Educate your Customers First
You may know your target audience but the same audience needs to know all about your business from all means possible. Social media, especially Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp have become the new marketplace for budding businesses as the margin of reach is very high and the cost to do so is very low.
Promote your brand on all social platforms, connect with your customers and allow them the chance to advertise your business by encouraging them with more sales and sharing their valuable testimonials on a regular basis.
– Ensure a Hassle-Free Checkout Processes
Making sure that the buying process is as easy as possible and restricting the clicks to a minimum is what will ensure you make more sales and leave your customers fairly satisfied.
Nothing spoils an experience more than interrupted or unsmooth checkout processes so focus on consumer experience first, right from Checkout to payments.
You will have to make sure your prices are competitive, the entire process of making a purchase is less time taking and your payments gateway is a trusted partner as it is a highly crucial aspect of eCommerce sales.
Collaborate with a partner that allows payments from all methods including credit, debit cards, net banking, UPI, COD, etc.
– Figure out the Perfect Logistics Partner
Logistics is the backbone of any eCommerce business, and so it requires to be the strongest facet.
Once your customer has made a purchase, you need to keep a close check on the delivery process and the quality of the goods to be delivered.
Onboard a partner for complete management of order processing to shipping and delivery, while giving you as well as your customer, real-time updates on all developments.
How to Start, Maintain, and Scale Up Your eCommerce Business?
Starting off a store may have been the first choice, but as we adjust to the new normal of things post the Coronavirus outbreak, not only offline businesses, but many online businesses have understood the need to focus majorly on eCommerce more than ever.
To turn sales into profits you need to follow specific guidelines and gradually onboard highly technological solutions to help you handle your business better. These 3 key methods can help you run a successful eCommerce business.
– Capture the interests of your Consumers
To make sure your customers get the most out of your services, track their interests and purchases. This will help in suggesting relevant products that the consumer may want.
Saving login details and keeping a log of purchase history to provide quick ideas for purchases can prove beneficial.
– Provide Seamless Customer Support
No matter how quick or easy your interface is, or how closely you capture the interest of a shopper, if the customer support is not easy to access, you may end up losing more clients than you gain.
So, as soon as you have data that suggests the interests of your consumers and maintains the history of purchases made, you need to strengthen your customer support team with tools and technologies to enable quick and effective resolutions to any of your customer troubles.
You also need to create a detailed guide to your customers that helps them navigate through the process to contact support and get their issues taken care of as soon as possible.
Chatbots and live chat tools have made the process much easier and customers are able to find resolutions to their issues faster even if they contact your business with inquiries outside of regular business hours.
– Emphasize on Marketing Your Products
Paid Marketing is a big part of enlightening your customers and ensures that a buzz is created around your business which continues to grow from various sources.
With the presence of tons of competition, your business needs support to stand out among others. To be able to achieve that, you need to focus on your marketing strategies that help customers pay attention to your services.
By utilizing Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Advertising, Influencer and Affiliate Marketing, you can drive traffic to your online store, convert that traffic into paying customers by building brand awareness, retain those customers post-purchase, drive customer loyalty, and ultimately increase online sales.
– Find the right software for your business
For an eCommerce business to provide the best possible services, it is important to ensure all operations run smoothly.
Building the right strategic partnerships is one of the biggest factors of running a profitable and productive eCommerce business
Right from Inventory management to order processing warehouse management, customer support, logistics and much more, the key to growth is by having a swift and efficient supply chain management.
In this day and age, the most suitable way to achieve highly productive operations is by onboarding a technologically driven solution that can provide complete support to your eCommerce business needs.
The best way to kick start your eCommerce business is to integrate with a platform with 360-degree solutions to cater to all their requirements to launch the business and ensure growth.
Unicommerce is one such leading middleware solutions provider that ensures the best possible solutions for your business right from maintaining multichannel order and inventory management to providing best warehouse management solutions, handling returns, providing collective integrations with 100+ global marketplaces, carts, logistics providers, ERP & POS and much more.
Looking for the best solutions for your business? Want to scale up to the next level?