The history of eCommerce dates back to 1991 when the internet was opened up for commercial use.
E-commerce involves the buying and selling of goods over the internet and the sale is facilitated through the online transfer of money and data.
The e-commerce sector has become popular due to the increase in internet connectivity across the world making the process of transacting business online easier and faster.
As the world advances technologically, the eCommerce trend is also increasing with more businesses shifting to incorporate the eCommerce business model alongside the traditional brick and mortar type business.
Why are businesses shifting to eCommerce?
The growth of the eCommerce sector is accelerating rapidly all over the world, with the increased online purchases the demand for businesses to shift to the online platforms is increasing.
The rise of the e-commerce platform can be attributed to the number of people who have access to the internet and since the millennial culture is one that is fast-paced the majority of the working class prefers the efficiency of shopping online as opposed to going to a physical store.
The increase in technology means that the e-commerce sector has no chance of slowing down any time soon.
This year alone, the number of transactions that have been conducted online has increased tremendously making e-commerce the most efficient way to conduct business.
This shift though having been witnessed before has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic which caused a huge change in routine operations.
The pandemic resulted in lockdowns across many nations, which meant that people were not allowed to go out to the stores for supplies and goods. This automatically meant that most of the purchases would be made online.
Setting up online stores is relatively cheaper than having a physical store. This makes it a convenient way to set up and manage a business as opposed to having to manage a store with all the workers needed.
The cost of doing business is also much cheaper than running a store as you will have to pay for space and also pay your workers.
The eCommerce platforms facilitate a wider market reach.
Since the internet connects the whole world, your business can be easily visible over a wide geographical area, this means that your business will have a higher chance for growth and expansion making it easier for you to make more profits.
Unlike a physical store, the online platform allows a business to sell a large number of products as the business does not necessarily need a physical store that has limited space.
The pandemic has exposed the good and bad aspects of various business models, but e-commerce has stood the test.
More people have opted to do business online as buyers become increasingly digitally inclined.
The online platforms are efficient in making sure your business is visible and more customers will be inclined to buy products for a business that provides an efficient online shopping experience.
The boom of the eCommerce business
According to a report by Statista 2020, the eCommerce market is expected to rise to over 2 trillion USD, which is a huge increase from 2019 which saw the market at 662.2 billion in sales.
China is one of the largest contributors to the eCommerce platform and is predicted to stay in the lead position for some years to come.
The Chinese market alone contributed 862.2 billion USD in 2019 alone and these figures have risen tremendously in 2020 especially due to the increased need to buy goods online.
Since the e-commerce business depends mostly on technology, the change in technological trends enhances how online businesses are conducted.
Some of the trends that are expected to be witnessed include:
Enhanced payment options
The payment services will be more improved to facilitate ease of conducting business.
Chatbox and AI
They will be used more to improve customer experiences and enhance the ease of shopping online.
It will be a huge conversation in most businesses, the ability of a business to respond to various social and environmental issues will be highly considered.
Introductions of subscriptions
To ensure that the customers are updated on the current goods that are being provided.
It will still be the leading tool that customers will use for shopping therefore more businesses will ensure that they provide the customers will apps for their business to facilitate an easy shopping experience.
Since the world is becoming more fast-paced, more people will prefer time-saving mechanisms to shop online and hence voice searches will become common.
Personalized shopping experiences
Businesses will move to create personalized shopping experiences for their customers based on what they are looking for at a given time.
The delivery services
It will be more automated, it is expected that the eCommerce platform will most likely incorporate the use of drones for delivery.
Product fulfillment options
It will expand to cater to the customer and ensure that they have an easy shopping experience from the product search to delivery.
Virtual reality will be used as a shopping strategy to give the buyers a unique shopping experience without having to go to the physical stores.
Benefits of starting an e-commerce business at home
The pandemic has greatly affected how businesses are run and generally, it has caused a huge number of job losses.
With most countries putting lockdowns in place, most people have been forced to stay indoors for long periods.
This has caused more people to think of ways to either supplement their incomes or get new sources of income due to job losses.
Since all businesses are shifting online, the best way to get into business is to, therefore, find ways of entering the market and make profits.
The online business has its advantages and some of these include:
- Ecommerce allows you to reach a wider market since the business relies heavily on internet connectivity, you can have access to any market as long as they are connected to the internet.
- Ecommerce allows businesses to respond to trends and the demands of the consumer faster. Since you have real-time data on what the customer needs, it is easy to attract customers by providing current goods.
- Ecommerce offers an easy and cost-efficient way to set up and run a business, this is because the overhead expenses to run a business are greatly reduced as you do not need a lot of people to operate the business and you do not have to rent out a space for the business or hold any inventory in some instances.
- Ecommerce allows for a personalized shopping experience for your customers, which enables you to curate the website to fit their needs.
- Ecommerce works on the model of instant gratification and quick feedback, if the customer is happy, you will be able to know instantly and if not you will be the first to find out and find ways to address the customers’ complaints.
- Due to the visibility of the search engine, it is easy for you to know your target market and find ways to reach them. Due to the increased SEO practices, customers can easily be redirected to your landing page after using keywords to search for products.
- The e-commerce market runs 24/7 and hence businesses are conducted around the clock, therefore, the amount of effort you put in your business is not limited to time and geographical locations.
- Since there are multiple online stores, the market is highly competitive; this gives the customer an advantage as they can search for a business that offers the best price for products.
- E-commerce eliminates the cost and time required to travel. since the e-commerce market is flexible, you can shop at any place and at any time without having to think about travel costs, you are also assured that your goods will reach you on time.
- For customers who do not like invasive and unnecessary interactions, the eCommerce platform is the way to go. E-commerce reduces the interactions that are otherwise prevalent in the traditional brick and mortar type business model.
- Ecommerce allows you to process large orders easily. Most of the time the business does not need to stock products and the customer can shop directly from the manufacturer but through your business through aspects such as drop shipping making it easier to start and run a business.
Ecommerce is and will continue to be the fastest-growing business model in the world.
As technology increases, the platform gets better and more people are moving towards the more efficient and reliable model.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further increased the pace at which the platform was expected to rise and more people have been forced to shift their businesses online to be able to survive.
The benefits of conducting businesses online are numerous and so you need to consider how you choose to do business so that you may succeed.
Since e-commerce is showing no signs of slowing down yet, it can be the safest way to start and run your business without having to worry so much.