What is E-commerce ?

E-commerce or electronic commerce is the process of buying and selling goods, products or services over the Internet. It can also refer to other online activities such as auctions, tickets and banking services. E-commerce is often used to sell physical products online, but it can also describe any type of business transaction facilitated by the Internet. These services are provided online on the Internet network. Transactions of money, funds and data are also considered as e-commerce. E-commerce is a way for people to buy and sell retail. Some companies only sell products online, but for many, e-commerce is a distribution channel that is part of a broader strategy that includes physical stores and other revenue streams. Either way, e-commerce allows startups, small businesses and large companies to sell their products in large quantities and reach customers worldwide.

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E-commerce operates in four major market segments and can be worked on computers, tablets, smartphones and other smart devices. Almost every fictional product and service is available through e-commerce transactions, including financial services such as books, music, air tickets and stock investing and online banking. As such, it is considered a highly disruptive technology. The terms e-commerce and e-business are often used interchangeably. The term e-tail is sometimes used to refer to the process of online retail shopping transactions. E-business refers to all aspects of running an online business, while e-commerce refers specifically to the transaction of goods and services. The term e-commerce is broad and flexible, as it includes not only Amazon or other shopping portals but also online banking, software services, remote service providers or online course platforms (basically, any transactions made online). Business to Business (B2B), Business to Customer (B2C), Customer to Customer (C2C), Customer to Business (C2B) those business transactions can be done in four ways.

E-commerce History

The history of e-commerce began 41 years ago, when the introduction of early technologies such as electronic data interchange (EDI) and teleshopping in the 1970 paved the way for modern e-commerce stores, as we know them today. E-commerce history is closely linked to the history of the Internet. Online shopping became possible in 1991 when the Internet was opened to the public. Amazon was the first E-commerce website in the US to start selling products online, followed by thousands of businesses.

The foundation of E-commerce was laid in 1979 by Michael Aldrich. He connected his television to the computer using his telephone line. As far as we know today it was the opposite of E-commerce, but his idea created the idea of ​​shopping without visiting a physical store. At that time, most people did not have a computer. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs popularized computers for the average person. Bill Gates said his goal is to “keep a computer on every desk and in every home.” Without computers, E-commerce would be significantly different.

When cable television began to celebrate the wonders of the early 1980’s, some technology savvy users founded the Boston Computer Exchange, a bulletin board system-based marketplace set up to facilitate the sale or trade of used goods. The computer company was a trailblazer in creating a market for fully automated, on-line auctions and general trading. During this time, the development of the Internet gained momentum, from the ability to display basic style sheets to the launch of Amazon and eBay in just a few years. Needless to say, both of them have evolved into massive e-commerce platforms, enabling consumers to sell their own products globally.

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What is E-commerce website?

An E-commerce website is your digital storefront on the Internet. This facilitates transactions between buyers and sellers. It is a virtual space where you display your products and your online customers choose them. Your website serves as the product shelf, sales staff and cash register of your online business channel. A website that allows people to buy and sell real goods, services and digital products over the Internet. Through e-commerce websites, businesses can process orders, accept payments, manage shipping and logistics, and provide customer service.

Similar to traditional physical retail stores, e-commerce websites allow consumers and businesses to buy and sell each other on a designated platform. The main difference between e-commerce and physical commerce is that e-commerce transactions take place entirely on the Internet, not in one place. Businesses can create branded store experiences on stores like Amazon, create their own commercial sites on dedicated domains, or do it all for a multi-channel approach.

Types of E-commerce Websites

  • Physical Goods E-commerce Website.

  • Service based E-commerce Website

  • Digital Products E-commerce Website

  • Drop shipping E-commerce Website

Types of E-Commerce

In general, when we think of e-commerce, online business transactions between suppliers and customers. However, and even if this idea is correct, we can be more specific and actually divide e-commerce into 6 major types those are as follows

1.Businessto-Business (B2B)

Business to business, or B2B, is a method of selling online from one business to another, in other words, wholesale. Business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce covers all electronic transactions of goods or services between companies. Manufacturers and traditional commercial wholesalers typically work with this type of electronic commerce.

2.Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

B2C is easier for businesses to target specific customers online. Businesses are able to keep their products online, allowing customers to purchase products in the comfort of their own home, saving them valuable time. The business to customer type of e-commerce is characterized by the establishment of an electronic business relationship between the business and the end customer. This relates to the retail segment of e-commerce, where traditional retail trade is common.

3.Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C)

Customer to customer (C2C) type e-commerce includes all electronic transactions of goods or services between customers. Typically, these transactions are done by a third party, which provides an online platform where transactions are actually done.

4.Consumer-to-Business (C2B)

C2B is the complete opposite of the traditional meaning of exchanging goods. This type of e-commerce is very common in crowd sourcing based projects. A large number of individuals make their services or products available for purchase for companies looking for these types of services or products.

5.Business-to-Administration (B2A)

This part of e-commerce covers all online transactions between companies and public administrations. This is an area that covers a wide range of and various services, especially financial, social security, employment, legal documents and registration etc.

6.Consumer-to-Administration (C2A)

The customer to administration model covers all electronic transactions between individuals and public administration. Both models, involving public administration (B2A and C2A), are strongly linked to the idea of efficiency and ease of use of services provided by the government to citizens through information and communication technology.

How E-commerce work?

E-commerce is supported by the Internet. Customers access online stores to browse through their own devices and place orders for products or services. As ordered, the client’s web browser interacts with the server hosting the e-commerce website. Data related to the order will be relayed to a central computer known as the Order Manager. It will then be sent to the database that manages the inventory level; A merchant system that manages payment information using applications like PayPal; And bank computers. Eventually, it will return to the order manager. This is to ensure that the store inventory and customer funds are sufficient to process the order.

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Bellow is the E-commerce working process.

  • Using the computer customer tries to order & book online. Web browser interacts back and forth on the internet with the web server that manages the store’s website.

  • The web server sends its order to the order manager. It is a central computer that looks at the order at every stage of the process from submission to dispatch.

  • The order manager searches the database to find out if the customer has what they want in stock.

  • If the item is not in stock, the stock database system may order new supplies from wholesalers or manufacturers. This may involve interacting with the order system at the manufacturer’s headquarters to find the approximate supply time while the customer is still sitting at her computer real time.

  • The stock database confirms whether the item is in stock or indicates the approximate delivery date of when the supply will be received from the manufacturer.

  • Assuming the item is in stock, the order manager continues to process it. Then the merchant system communicates the payment using the customer’s credit or debit card number.

  • The merchant system can perform additional checks with the customer’s own bank computer. The bank’s computer verifies whether the customer has sufficient funds.

  • The merchant system authorizes the transaction to proceed, although the funds will not be fully transferred after a few days. The Order Manager confirms that the transaction has been successfully processed and notifies the web server.

  • The order manager sends a request to the warehouse to dispatch the goods to the customer.

  • A truck from the dispatch firm collects and delivers goods from the warehouse. After shipment, the warehouse computer e-mails the customer to confirm that the goods are on their way.

  • The goods are delivered to the customer in preferred time.

E-commerce Development

E-commerce Website Development is the process of developing the technical aspects of your e-commerce website – how it works, accepts payments, responds to user actions, and looks aesthetically pleasing. The web development services industry opens the door for business owners to launch user-friendly websites and address their most important e-commerce challenges, which may include:

  • Determining the right features and functionality for your e-commerce project.

  • Understand which e-commerce framework might work best for you.

  • Integrating e-commerce into the current website site or website template.

The importance of online marketing is increasing day by day and all businesses are looking for e-commerce solutions to increase their revenue. With a clear increase in the use of smart phones, online retail has gained widespread consumer acceptance and is seeing a huge growth trend. The time has come when companies can no longer ignore the growing demand from consumers for online sales. The development of e-commerce websites by commercial companies is one of the most popular options for businesses, providing huge scope for online transactions and sales. Regardless of the general website commonly used to find and retrieve information, e-commerce development services enable the user to purchase goods and services without actually going to the market. Therefore, finding the right e-commerce website development company is an important step for customers. The e-commerce development company is the sole representative of the entire business for customers; So any shortcomings and destructive attitude can affect the business.

Benefits of E-commerce

While there are many reasons to start an e-commerce business, there are some amazing benefits that you can expect once you get your business off the ground. There are many benefits to running your business online. Here are some benefits to look forward to when you launch your online store:

  • E-commerce offers the best in convenience and accessibility. Customers can find what they need, anytime, from their desktop or mobile device. More convenience for the customer translates into more business for your company.

  • A physical store limits business operations to a specific geographic area. An e-commerce website, on the other hand, lets your business reach more customers globally – increasing your sales potential.

  • Cost reduction is another important benefit associated with e-commerce in general. The more trivial a business process is, the more likely it is to succeed, resulting in a significant reduction in transaction costs and, of course, the costs charged to customers.

  • Offers global marketing reach & Provides the ease of ordering products online.

  • Consumers can easily comparison shop across different brands

  • Shopping from home is more convenient for the consumer

  • Instead of relying on traditional marketing methods like print advertising to drive traffic to the actual store, you will have a range of affordable marketing channels to get customers to your e-commerce business.

Disadvantages of E-commerce

While e-commerce has many advantages, it also has some potential disadvantages. Below are some common disadvantages:

  • No direct interaction with sales clerks leads to less personalized service

  • Shipping charges and waiting for product to arrive

  • Strongly dependence on information and communication technologies (ICT).

  • Inconvenience of returning products

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Kedar Palashikar

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