The ecommerce landscape is changing and navigating it successfully will depend on choosing the right paths to your customers, or rather how you manage different paths which your potential customers may take to find your products.
While there are multiple ways to get your products found, not every option may fit into your ecommerce strategy.
Disclaimer: the following is from What is Ecommerce in 2020? Ecommerce Definition Explained with Examples (ecommerceguide.com)
What is eCommerce?
Ecommerce, or electronic commerce, refers to transactions conducted via the internet. Every time individuals and companies are buying or selling products and services online they’re engaging in eCommerce. The term e-commerce also encompasses other activities including online auctions, internet banking, payment gateways, and online ticketing.
The most important eCommerce statistics for 2020
- It is expected that by 2040, 95% of all purchases will be via eCommerce.
- The world’s fastest-growing eCommerce market is China with an estimated e-commerce value of $672 billion in 2017.
- The US has the highest eCommerce penetration rates, with around 80% of all internet users making at least one purchase.
- The top reason why people make online purchases is that they can shop whenever they want, 24/7.
- Around 43% of eCommerce traffic comes from Google search (organic).
- Slow-loading websites see an abandonment of 75%.
Types of eCommerce businesses
Let’s start with the products and services typically sold online. Below is a list of eCommerce merchants according to what they sell.
1. Stores that sell physical goods
These are your typical online retailers. Clothing, furniture, tools, and accessories are all examples of physical goods. Shoppers can buy physical goods through online stores by visiting the stores’ websites, adding items in their shopping cart, and making a purchase.
Once the shopper has made a purchase, the store delivers the item(s) right at their doorstep. There are also online stores where customers can make an online purchase but go to the store themselves to pick up the products.
Some examples of these eCommerce stores include eyewear retailer Warby Parker, menswear store Bonobos, and shoe retailer Zappos.
2. Service-based e-tailers
Aside from products, services can also be purchased online. Every time you hire educators, freelancers, and consultants through online platforms, you’re doing business with service-based e-tailers.
The buying process for services depends on the merchant. Some may allow you to purchase their services straightaway from their website or platform. An example of this comes from Fiverr.com, a freelance marketplace. People who want to buy services from Fiverr must place an order on the website before the seller delivers their services.
Some service providers, on the other hand, require you to get in touch with them first (i.e. book a consultation) to determine your needs. For example, Blue Fountain Media, a company that creates digital strategies for large businesses, asks clients to contact them by filling in an online form first where they should describe their business needs.
3. Digital products
Ecommerce transactions are conducted via the internet which is why, in the eCommerce realm, products are usually referred to as “e-goods”. The term "digital products" refers to all items that are in a digital format including ebooks, online courses, software, graphics, and virtual goods.
Examples of retailers that sell digital products are Coursera (a platform for online learning) and Audiobooks (a website where you can buy audiobooks).
Classifying eCommerce according to the parties involved
Looking at the parties participating in the transaction is another way in which eCommerce sites can be classified. These typically include:
1. Business to consumer (B2C)
As the name suggests, the B2C eCommerce model represents a transaction between businesses and individuals. B2C eCommerce is the most common business model among both physical and online retailers.
Nike, Macy’s, IKEA, and Netflix are all examples of companies that engage in B2C eCommerce.
2. Business to business (B2B)
In the B2B eCommerce model, both parties involved are businesses. In this type of transaction, one business provides the other with products and/or services.
3. Consumer to business (C2B)
The C2B business model represents a transaction in which individuals create value for businesses, unlike the traditional business-to-consumer model where companies are the ones that deliver value. Consumers provide companies with products and/or services, co-operate on projects, and ultimately help businesses increase their profits.
Freelancer, a freelance platform that connects remote workers and companies, is an example of a company that brings two parties to engage in C2B transactions.
4. Consumer to consumer (C2C)
C2C eCommerce happens when the two parties involved are consumers that trade with one another. eBay and Craigslist are examples of online marketplaces where individuals buy and sell products to each other.
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