E-commerce is currently a widely used term. But whenever it is said, people immediately think of sites like Amazon, Flipkart, eBay, and the like. But e-commerce is much broader than that. Services provided online also fall under the spectrum of e-commerce. But, broadly speaking, e-commerce also includes e-retail and, shipping & logistics.
The terms e-commerce and e-retail are frequently confused. It’s partially accurate. A subset of e-commerce is e-retail. E-commerce encompasses:
- B2B: Business to business; classically known as wholesalers
- B2C: Business to customers; classically known as retailers
- C2C: Customer to customer; auctions and classified advertisements
- D2C: Direct to consumers; selling directly from the brand website without third-party operators is a classic example of D2C.
- C2B: Consumer to business; this is a reverse business model where consumers add value to the businesses by writing reviews or giving innovative ideas for a product.
On the other hand, e-retail focuses only on B2C businesses. While shipping and logistics would be covered individually, e-retail and e-commerce would be merged.
Reasons for a boom in the e-commerce industry
The rise in e-commerce transactions comes as no surprise. Before the pandemic, e-commerce was still struggling to become the main competitor as a channel for sales. The e-commerce sector grew due to countries being locked down and requiring minimal contact. This sector would continue to grow even though the world has returned to its new normal. What caused the first wave of expansion for the e-commerce industry would more or less lead to the other wave. The reasons behind this are:
The main reason for a boom in e-commerce is accessibility. With the advent of the internet and the use of smartphones, accessing information has become very easy. The buying power of customers has increased because everyone has smartphones now. Contrary to traditional business operations, online stores do not close. They are accessible every hour of every day. Top eCommerce Website Design And Development Agencies In The United States, like SPINX Digital, WebDesk Solution LLC, etc., are hired by companies to ensure that their websites are mobile-adaptive and the design of the website gives optimum customer satisfaction.
2. Minimum barriers to entering the industry
Advancement in technologies and the availability of marketplaces has increased sellers tenfold. In e-commerce, there are no or minimum barriers to enter into the market; all one has to do is create an account or get affiliated with an e-commerce giant. This increases the selling power of sellers and the competition in the market. Another advantage of this is the price factor. The minimum barriers to entering the market have reduced the cost of operations as one does not have to own shops or offices to operate. Anyone can start a business from their bedroom.
3. Personalized and tailored experience
Have your ever experienced where you see an ad for a product you were talking about with your friend? This happens with everyone and is possible because of tailored experiences. Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram keep track of your preferences and then show ads based on that data. Hence it is common to see multiple ads for a product you would have googled about. Personalization is of utmost importance now to retain customers. Customers value advice and reminders that are personalized. Personalization also means having recommendations based on your location, prices in that country’s denomination, and product recommendations that could be styled with a previously purchased product.
4. Greater range of products
As more and more people are starting to sell online, there is a rise in the range of products available. Everything can be customized now, from t-shirts to your pen. It is possible because sellers have to distinguish their products from other sellers. And this is not limited to everyday use products, industries of electronics and vehicles are also getting a greater range of products. Traditional stores cannot offer as many possibilities for a single product as online retailers can. Before making a purchase, consumers can browse tens of thousands of products thanks to e-commerce.
5. Social media
Facebook Marketplace, Instagram shop, TikTok tagging, and other social media have integrated e-commerce on their sites. Social media shopping is a powerful tool as most people spend their time on these channels. Social media also gives leverage to companies. They can now communicate with their customers in a way that was before impossible. The steady flow of brand content would develop brand loyalty and familiarity. Social media’s influence will only grow in the future. If used thoughtfully and honestly, businesses can profit the most from it.
6. Government policies
The latest government policies are in favor of the e-commerce industry. The governments do not levy heavy taxes and are more cooperative in attracting the e-commerce giants. The government is aware that the future is digital markets. They offer various alluring policies to entice the e-commerce giants to register in their country since they want to have a head start on other nations in this race. With the increase of e-commerce, there would be an increase in other job opportunities that come as a by-product of any business.
E-commerce earlier was limited to big cities and towns. Companies could not penetrate smaller regions of a country because they lacked shipping and logistics handling. However, now companies are heavily investing in logistics. The growth in e-commerce is having a direct impact on logistics also.
1. Investment and automation
Companies are now investing heavily in logistics. There were a lot of logistics issues faced by companies during the pandemic because of poor planning and investment. Companies that have realized the importance of logistics are now strengthening their logistics and shipping sector. During the pandemic, there was an increased demand from tier 2 and 3 cities. The logistics company was stressed since they lacked the infrastructure to handle the traffic volume.
Technology is infused in all parts of our lives. Logistics and shipping are no strangers to this. Automating all operations to provide an early and error-free delivery would be the driving force to develop this segment in the future. Automation would reduce the costs of delivery and also control inventory. The investment would help companies to automate the logistics sector.
2. Consumer preferences:
Consumers want to buy products from an e-commerce site no matter where they reside. Some are even ready to pay a little extra for the logistics. This demand for online shopping created an urgency for logistics to meet the needs. In addition, strong logistics and shipping would allow companies to reach remote locations and increase their customer base.
Diversification of products has pushed logistics to develop. Today, e-commerce is not limited to just imperishable goods. Perishable goods are also sold online. There is a need to deliver such products within a day to avoid them getting spoilt. This gave rise to the phenomenon of one-day delivery. One-day delivery is now being used for all products, increasing the competition in the industry.
4. Conscious delivery:
With the increased awareness of global warming and climate change, customers want a more conscious and sustainable way of shopping. Many companies are now offering deliveries that could cut the carbon footprint. For example, when you order multiple products from Amazon, it has the option to receive those products in fewer parcels, making deliveries more sustainable. In addition, Zomato has started deliveries on cycles or using electric vehicles.
E-commerce has opened a plethora of possibilities with its availability and many options. This wave of e-commerce will not die down anytime soon. Every day some new technology is being tested to bring more changes in the industry. One such cutting-edge technology that is recently incorporated is headless e-commerce systems. The possibilities are endless and indicate an exciting future.