During the epidemic, e-commerce is flourishing, offering huge opportunities for business owners to open up shop and begin selling. What you need know about this kind of company is as follows.
- During the epidemic, e-commerce has grown significantly, allowing companies to flourish and survive.
- When you operate an e-commerce firm instead of a physical and mortar shop, you don’t have to spend as much money on overhead and you have access to a global customer base.
- Operating an internet business has several inherent difficulties, including a higher risk of fraud and high rates of cart abandonment.
- This post is for those who wish to understand the fundamentals of starting an online store and are interested in doing so.
During the COVID-19 epidemic, online sales of goods and services gained significant significance as consumers and business owners were forced to adopt e-commerce. This change offers opportunity for small company owners to succeed online and is here to stay. However, you must first comprehend how everything functions before setting up an online store.
E-commerce is the practice of buying and selling products and services online. Customers use electronic payments to make purchases from the website or online store. The merchant sends the products or performs the service after receiving the payment.
Electronic commerce has been since the early 1990s, when Amazon just sold books, but it is now a multibillion-dollar sector that has grown even more as a result of the epidemic. E-commerce expenditure reached $347.26 billion in the first half of 2020, up 30% year over year, according to Digital Commerce 360’s analysis of U.S. Department of Commerce statistics. For contrast, during the first half of 2019, e-commerce sales only rose by 12.7%.
It is not unexpected. Customers become used to purchasing everything from food to furnishings from internet sites since they had few other alternatives.
According to research, people are likely to maintain their new behaviors, said Tory Brunker, director of product marketing at Adobe, in an interview with Business News Daily. I really believe that this is the new normal.
Several online shopping categories, including over-the-counter medications, groceries, home goods, and personal care items, are expected to expand by more than 35%, according to data by consulting company McKinsey & Company.
How does online shopping operate?
The same standards that govern physical stores apply to e-commerce. Customers enter your online shop, look through the merchandise, and then make a purchase. The key distinction is that they don’t need to leave their sofa to do so, and your consumer base is not limited to a certain location or region.
When establishing an e-commerce website, you go through the same procedure whether you’re selling home goods or running shoes:
- Accept the directive. The buyer makes a purchase using your website or online store. The placing of an order will be announced to you.
- Activate the order. After that, the order is declared as complete, the money is processed, and the sale is recorded. Think of a payment gateway, which is often used to handle payments, as the virtual version of your cash register. What Is a Merchant Account? is a related article.
- Deliver the goods. Shipment completes the e-commerce procedure. If you desire repeat business, you must assure fast delivery. Consumers are used to receiving their orders within two days thanks to Amazon.
Here’s an example of how it really works when a product is ordered online:
- A consumer looks over your items in your online store. She finally chooses a shirt. She selects the color and size before placing the item in her shopping basket.
- The availability of the product is verified using order management software or an order manager.
- When a consumer is ready to purchase a product and the item is in stock, she fills out your payment form or page with her mailing address and credit card information.
- The payment processor, usually a bank, verifies the consumer has sufficient funds in her account or credit available on her card to finish the transaction.
- The website notifies the consumer that the purchase was successful. All of this occurs quickly.
- The order is sent after being shipped from the warehouse. An email notifying the client that the product is ready for delivery will be sent.
- Once the order is delivered, the sale is over.
What attributes need to an online store have?
You need to have a thorough list of the goods and services you provide on your website or marketplace page if you want to succeed at internet commerce. The internet store should be simple to use, helpful to users, and visually attractive. Additionally, it must to be mobile-friendly. Mobile commerce revenues are anticipated to hit $2.91 trillion in 2020 and rise to $3.56 trillion in 2021, per statistics from e-commerce platform Oberlo. It’s crucial to optimize your online business for mobile users since so many customers shop on them.
The functionality of e-commerce also includes the checkout process. It is the procedure a consumer must follow in order to purchase your item or service. You risk losing the transaction if your checkout procedure is slow, complicated, or involves too many stages. The Baymard Institute found that the average abandonment rate is 69.57%, indicating that shopping cart abandonment is a genuine problem.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of running an online store?
benefits of operating an online store
Before the epidemic, there were many reasons to launch an internet retail firm, and now there are even more. The top seven are listed below.
- Compared to a physical shop, it is less expensive to operate. The actual storefront is a significant operating expenditure for a retail organization. That entails spending money on necessities like rent and utilities. All of that disappears when you run an online shop. Rent doesn’t need to be paid. You don’t have to worry about keeping the lights on, pay to have the grass cut, or pay to have the sidewalks cleared.
- Without any employees, you can run your business continuously. There are no shop hours on the website. It is operating round-the-clock, just like your online store. Your website may take orders whenever your clients are prepared to purchase, which can result in more sales than a physical shop with established hours. You won’t need to engage an ordering manager to perform the overnight shift if you utilize software to automate the majority of the procedure.
- Your company is able to grow quickly. When running a brick-and-mortar business, there are practical restrictions on the number of things you can carry since you only have so much shelf space. With e-commerce, there are no such restrictions; you may add and delete things as you see appropriate.
- You may connect with additional clients. Even if your company is located in New York, if you have an internet shop, you may sell to people in California. E-commerce, according to Ben Richmond, U.S. country manager at Xero, “changes the game for small businesses.” “E-commerce allows you the ability to live where you want and sell into numerous marketplaces,” the author says, “it doesn’t matter whether you’re in a metropolis or in a little regional town.”
- Tracking your sales and shipments is simple. For businesses engaged in e-commerce, logistics are crucial. It is simple to monitor sales and shipments in e-commerce because of its digital nature. The advantage of having this data available in real time is that it enables you to rapidly see and fix any hiccups.
- It gathers client information. You collect a lot of consumer information when you sell things online, including addresses and emails. Additionally, you may learn more about their preferred methods of shopping. This information may be used to target devoted clients with special offers and deals.
- It is eradicator-proof. Online companies were able to continue operating while brick and mortar firms were forced to shut their doors due to the epidemic. As a consequence, customer purchasing patterns have changed, necessitating the operation of an online store by every business. With COVID-19, “I firmly think that the benefits of operating an e-commerce company exceed the drawbacks,” stated Richmond. Businesses must adapt as more customers switch their spending from traditional brick-and-mortar shops to online retailers.
Cons of operating an online store
E-commerce provides a lot of advantages, but it also has some drawbacks. Here are six things to think about before deciding whether or not to start an online store.
- Not everyone is reachable. There are still some customers who just dislike online buying because they prefer to touch and examine items in person and because they are wary of online fraud, even in the midst of the epidemic. Oberlo estimates that 2.05 billion people will buy online in 2020, which is around 26% of the 7.8 billion people on the planet.
- Credit card and data fraud are widespread. The potential of fraud is one of the main issues with e-commerce. Numerous people are victimized by credit card fraud and identity theft each year. Hackers might inflict irreparable harm if they infiltrate your network and steal private client data. A hack costs a company $200,000 on average, and 60% of them close down within six months of the occurrence.
- Customers leave their shopping carts unattended. With the advent of e-commerce, consumers may more easily browse without necessarily intending to purchase. Online sales are significantly impacted by shopping cart abandonment.
- When doing business online, there are expenses. There are still expenses to take into account, such as website hosting and/or e-commerce platform fees, internet access charges, social media marketing, inventory management, storage and shipping costs, even if you don’t have the overhead that traditional stores have. You must take into account all necessary taxes, business licenses, and laws just like any other company owner.
- E-commerce is a competitive industry. You aren’t the first to offer a product or service online; depending on your niche, you can have a lot of rivals selling very similar or identical goods. You can find yourself in a pricing war since many customers base their purchasing decisions on price and anticipate finding fantastic bargains online.
- Customers want free, quick shipment. Physical merchants are not concerned with product packing or shipment. A store online does. Customers now anticipate not just two-day delivery, but also free shipping, which you may not be able to afford to provide. This is because to Amazon.
E-commerce business model types
Depending on what is being sold and to whom, there are many e-commerce businesses models. The three most typical kinds are as follows.
- Business to consumer: In this industry, goods and services are sold directly to customers. The most typical sort of internet company is B2C e-commerce, which sells a wide range of goods from entertainment to apparel. B2C e-commerce sites like Amazon, Netflix, and Overstock are examples. The majority of well-known merchants run this kind of online store, like Tommy Bahama and Nike.
- Business-to-business (B2B): e-commerce is the practice of a company selling goods or services to another company online. These companies could market products including furniture, office supplies, and equipment. Additionally, they provide online business solutions including software for document signing and other cloud-based services.
- Marketplaces: E-commerce marketplaces, which were invented by eBay but were surpassed by Amazon, are online stores where independent vendors may offer their goods or services to customers. Additional examples of online markets are Walmart.com and Etsy. You may list your items on these platforms and get access to their consumer bases in exchange for a percentage of your sales. For a cost, a lot of online markets will manage your logistics, social media promotion, and payment processing.
Examples of online retailers
- Online retail: Although Amazon is the undisputed leader in this industry, you don’t have to be the next Amazon to be successful. To launch an online business, you might make use of tools like the agreements between Amazon and eBay.
- Wholesale: Alibaba is one of the most well-known websites for wholesale shopping. Alibaba conducts B2C sales as well, but they have made a name for themselves as a worldwide powerhouse in the B2B sector. Alibaba serves as a source of supply for businesses throughout the globe.
- Drop shipping: is the practice of having another business manage your merchandise on your behalf. You design the online storefront where clients may explore and make purchases, but the drop shipping business handles the logistics of getting the products to the client. Amazon does enter this market; however, Shopify is now the leading drop shipping business. On Shopify, you can set up a functional shop in only a few hours.
- subscription: Companies that provide subscription services come in a variety of forms and sizes. Like the Dollar Shave Club, the membership may be for automatic replenishment of merchandise. They may serve a curatorial purpose, such as in a wine of the month club. Access to a service may also be provided through the subscription. The finest example of this kind of subscription strategy is unquestionably Netflix.
- Digital Products: Stores that sell digital things don’t stock real, tangible objects. They provide digital goods, which are distinct from services. Software is the digital item that is used the most. One of the most successful manufacturers of digital goods is Microsoft. Even though they only exist on a computer, digital items might include artwork, online courses, and other “things” that can be bought.
- Physical goods: On Etsy, individuals create tangible items that they then sell and deliver themselves. You can notice the difference between this and drop shipping or retail. An online store with tangible goods will manufacture the items it sells.
- Services: Selling services online is among the simplest products to do. Tax and accounting, healthcare, legal services, and just about any other service you can think of are all available via e-commerce.