Ecommerce: The Basics And Everything You Need To Know
In today’s generation of smartphones and millennials, shopping, purchasing different products, and even paying bills are made easier and time savvy by the continuous convenience brought by the Internet. This type of trading is widely known as “ecommerce,” which was first introduced 40 years ago and continues to grow as we embrace new technology and innovations.
What is ecommerce?
E-commerce, which is short for electronic commerce, is the facilitation of trading services or products through the use of computer nexus, like the Internet and many other social networks found online. In simpler terms, e-commerce is the art of buying and selling products through the use of electronic devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and the like.
How does ecommerce work?
E-commerce is technically a type of trading that exists online. Therefore, it operates digitally. That said, ecommerce works differently compared to the physical commerce and contains unique marketing elements.
Below is how ecommerce works:
There should be a product or service that needs to be sold
Like any other businesses, there has to be something that needs to be sold – may it be a product or a service. That is just the heart of commerce and trading; there has to be an equal exchange of value.
A mechanism to take orders exists
Ecommerce is a website powered by a software for it to work. So after a customer browsed the site and decided to make a purchase, there must be a mechanism that will process their orders. This mechanism software is known as the “shopping cart.” This software performs the following tasks for the ecommerce website to work:
- calculation of taxes and other levies
- obtaining the billing and delivery address of the customer
- processing of invoice, order, and tracking numbers
- processing of coupon and discount codes, if applicable
- diverting the customer into the payment gateway
A payment mechanism is present
After an order was placed through a website, a payment for the purchase must be made. Many ecommerce sites accept credit for purchases, but in most cases, ecommerce transactions involve carrying out money.This part of ecommerce is operated by a software called “payment gateway.” This software works by:
- presenting different payment methods for the customer
- accepting of identification and payment details, such as credit card numbers and the like
- customer authentication through passwords and CVV codes
Once all the above marketing elements are met, the products purchased will be delivered to the customer in excellent condition within the agreed period of time.
Monetizing your ecommerce website
Making profit out of your ecommerce website doesn’t have to come solely from the products sold on your website. You can find another way of monetizing your ecommerce website through advertisements. These advertisements will pay you depending on the volume traffic coming from your site.
The pros and cons of ecommerce
Just like any other businesses, ecommerce comes with pros and cons. Some factors may be advantageous for consumers, but not for ecommerce businesses, and vice versa. Below is a list of pros and cons of setting up an ecommerce website:
For the consumers:
- No more waiting in long queues to purchase and pay for an item
- Can be easily accessed anywhere
- Deals and coupons are commonly available
- Wider array of choices
- The store doesn’t close and orders can be placed anytime
- Communication is made easier
- Inability to test and try on the products before purchase
- Constant need for an internet connection
- Constant need for an internet accessible device, such as computers and smartphones
- Risk of identity and credit card fraud
- Risk of scams
- Possible shipment delays
For the businesses:
- Does not require a physical store
- Lesser overhead expenses
- Site can be accessed by anyone, anywhere in the world
- Shelf space has no limits
- Electronic payments cuts the need to handle currency notes
- Competitors can be easily tracked and comparing prices is easier
- Fewer employees are needed
- High reliance on the website
- Expertise needed to maintain ecommerce website
- Expenses that come with website maintenance
- Setting up reverse logistic functions
- Lack of personal contact with the customers
- Online fraud
What is an ecommerce platform?
An ecommerce platform is a series of technologies that allow an online merchant to build up a virtual storefront where he can list and sell his products and services.
Top major ecommerce platforms
There is a number of ecommerce platforms available out in the ecommerce market that you can choose from to host your website. These platforms offer some of the most amazing and complex features to further amp up your ecommerce website. Below are among the most popular major ecommerce platforms of 2016:
A Canadian-headquartered ecommerce company, Shopify has been developing both softwares for online stores and retail POS (point-of-sale) systems. First launched in 2006, Shopify has been among the top biggest and most popular ecommerce platform. Ten years later and the platform still continues to evolve and innovate along with the persistent expanding demands and expectations in the field of ecommerce.
Shopify features an easy setup, secured payment gateways and a loading speed that is fairly quick. Additionally, this ecommerce platform provides with hundreds of different templates you can choose from to give your online store the personal touch that represents your brand. On top of that, Shopify enables customized title tags, canonical tags, meta descriptions, and automatically generates XML sitemaps for your online store, making it SEO friendly.
For the pricing, they have a variety of plans that range from as low as $9 up to $179 a month, depending on the features that you want to have in your online store.
BigCommerce is a company that develops ecommerce platforms that is currently headquartered in Austin, Texas. First founded in 2009, BigCommerce is also among the biggest and most popular ecommerce platform. BigCommerce is pretty much similar to Shopify, except that it comes with more built-in features.
BigCommerce allows its users to add as many products as they want, and gives them access to a fully functional website plus unlimited bandwidth and storage. Essential ecommerce features like reviews and ratings, gift cards, and other marketing tools are also built-in along with this ecommerce platform.
Another reason that landed BigCommerce among the most popular ecommerce platforms is the simplicity and easy set up that this software provides. This makes it very convenient and easy to use for people who has no knowledge or expertise in web designing skills. And for those who are HTML and CSS-inclined, they have the advantage to elevate and personalize their sites to give their stores their own personal and unique touches.
For the pricing, BigCommerce offers their service from $30 to $80 a month, or more. Their plans are a little more costly compared to Shopify and the rest, but they claim to offer more features compared to their competitors.
An open ecommerce platform, Magento is a software developed by Varien Inc., which is headquartered in Culver City in California. This ecommerce platform written in PHP was first released in 2008.
Predominantly, Magento best works for large-scale retailers and building up top-notch ecommerce sites. This platform offers a high level of security, and full customization and scalarization. Magento also offers a number of features that other platforms don’t provide like multi-currency and multilanguage support.
Magento stays above their game by featuring very important criterions like search engine optimization (SEO), mobile friendliness, instinctive navigation, and a very user-friendly admin area. There’s also a surprising twist when it comes to their pricing. The community plan is obtainable, free of charge, while the enterprise plan is tiered based on the client’s current ecommerce business.
Have a question ?
Let us help you !