Introduction of E-Commerce
Electronic commerce or e-commerce is defined in Wikipedia as a process of buying and selling of products or services over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. E-commerce is categorized as:
- E-tailing or “virtual storefronts” on Web sites with online catalogues, sometimes gathered into a “virtual mall”
- The gathering and use of demographic data through Web contacts
- Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), the business-to-business exchange of data
- E-mail and fax and their use as media for reaching prospects and established customers (for example, with newsletters)
- Business-to-business buying and selling
- The security of business transactions
My writing here is focus about e-tailing or business of selling products or services over the Internet. But e-commerce isn’t just about selling a product or service to a customer. Besides direct sales to the consumer, online retailers (people who is selling online) can also showcase products, raise brand awareness and offer post-sales support to their customers.
The benefits of selling online
E-commerce is a good business choice for the entrepreneurs who want to start their own business because low investment required for setting up an online store to sell products or services online if compared with the cost required to set up a brick-and-mortar shop. I would claim e-commerce is the best choice for those who want to start own business on part-time basis and use it as an extra income source.
Refer to InternetWorldStats.com, total internet users of 2,267,233,742 reported. Setting up an online store enable you to target 2 billion internet users worldwide while a brick-and-mortar shop is limited to reach people who is staying near to the physical shop. The online store is open 24 hours every day. As long as the people have internet access to the online store, they can purchase products or services from the website anytime, anywhere.
What I shared above are the benefits of setting up an online business but why people prefer to buy goods online? Goods tend to be purchased online for three basic reasons:
- Unlimited choices. With the advance of Internet technology such as search engine like Google, Live and Yahoo!, just few simple steps then the users can find and reach thousands products at a short period.
- Time saving. Purchase online helps to save travel time and avoid stuck in traffic jam.
- Cost saving. Travel is avoided and thus cost of fuel is saved.
- Convenience. Just sitting on the chair, accessing internet via laptop, desktop or mobile internet devices to make an order from the online store with few mouse clicks.
by Terry Brown