Covid-19 has created a new normal in society today. Repeated lockdowns and the need for social distancing mean that people can no longer visit brick and mortar shops like they used to in pre-pandemic times. This situation has led to an increased dependence on ecommerce sites to cater to customer demands. Ecommerce encompasses business-to-consumer, business-to-business commerce as well as internal organizational transactions that support such activities. The history of ecommerce can be traced back to the concept of “sell and buy”. Electricity, cables, computers, and last but not least, the internet have helped promote ecommerce. The opening up of the internet to commercial use in 1991 made ecommerce workable. Since then, businesses have expanded and grown, thanks to ecommerce.
E-commerce or electronic commerce is a practical and effective method of electronically buying or selling products. E-commerce includes a wide variety of systems, data, and tools for online buyers and sellers including mobile shopping and online payment encryption. The introduction of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and teleshopping in the 1970s played a large role in paving the way for e-commerce. The history of e-commerce is linked to the history of the Internet. With the opening of the Internet to the public in 1991, online shopping became a real possibility. Amazon became one of the first E-Commerce sites in the U.S. to start selling products online. Ever since several other businesses have followed suit. E-commerce may involve different transactions like purchasing from an online seller or making an online bill payment. Whatever form it may take, e-commerce today is something in which people across the globe take part on a daily basis.
The outbreak of the pandemic has pushed consumers across the world online, to never before seen levels. Statistics put e-commerce transactions till May 20202 at $8.25 billion. This indicates a 77% rise from 2019, a figure which would traditionally have been reached in four to six years. Consumers have evinced a preference to move online and make purchases, which in normal circumstances, would have been made in brick-and-mortar stores. Many consumers, it is believed, will continue to use online stores for the purchase of food, apparel, and other household goods.
Moreover, with the worldwide spread of smartphones and the accessibility of fast broadband connections to the Internet, e-commerce has moved to mobile devices including laptops, tablets, and even wearable products such as watches. The effect of e-commerce on daily life and business is immense. Consumer-oriented marketplaces include large e-malls such as Amazon, consumer-to-consumer action platforms like eBay, and several thousand e-retailers. This kind of sharing economy facilitates more efficient use of resources as in the case of Airbnb and online rentals of private residences. Motivate Connection thus, feels that this is the best time to venture into the finest business of e-commerce marketing services.
Near instantaneous access to services such as medical and legal advice, transportation, computation, etc. is provided by on-demand platforms. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have entered the field as a means of payment. Thus, since its start, E-commerce has been changing the way we live, shop, and conduct business.
Need for Marketing Services
According to us at Motivate Connection, the importance of E-commerce lies in the fact that a business can make use of a wide array of opportunities ranging from marketing to increasing product range to generating increased sales. Adding to this, a well-developed website and a business can not only achieve its targets but also offer customers round the clock superlative service.
Today, society is convenience-oriented. Rather than venturing out to brick-and-mortar shops, people prefer to shop, sitting in the comfort of their own homes. This makes e-commerce a perfect solution for both businesses and buyers. Some of the reasons why e-commerce is important for business are as follows:
1) Convenience- Customers can visit your store at any time because an online store is available 24×7. Since many people don’t have the time or intent to shop, online shopping is booming. An increasing number of people are preferring to shop online for the products they want. If your business can fulfill this requirement, you can appeal to a wide range of customers.
2) Brand Building- When you offer great products round the clock in addition to customer service, social media, and blogs, your brand shifts from a traditional brick and mortar store to a popular and innovative brand. By going online, you gain the ability to expand your product range minus the hassle of moving locations.
3) Marketing opportunities- One of your best marketing tools can be your website. The use of SEO when building your site can lead to more chances of your business getting found in search engines. Moreover, many marketing techniques such as social media marketing and pay per click advertising can work alongside your website.
4) Wider Reach- Your website gets views by millions of people across the globe at any time. This means that you have more opportunities to expand your business and reach a wider customer base.
5) Scalability- Growth in a business is bound to lead to a desire for widening not product range but also the target audience. Unlike a brick-and-mortar store, an e-commerce site allows you to scale your business and add more payment options, without worrying about moving to larger premises or changing locations.
Thus, the e-commerce platform allows a company to expand and perform in a more agile way while at the same time bestowing customers with an essential primary touch-point with a business. This can be gauged from the fact that the number of people you can reach through a website is way more than the number of people you can access through local advertising or a brick-and-mortar store. Hence, whether it’s a small business, a start-up, or a huge brand, almost all companies can benefit from having their own e-commerce website where they can promote and sell their products and services. This is where Motivate Connection can help you.
A successful e-commerce venture requires certain things to factor in:
1) Warehouse Operations- This includes 3 key factors:
(a) Know at all times where the products are, the most efficient way to pick those products, who should be in charge of each package, etc.
(b) Tracking and monitoring- The key to handling a large volume of orders is security and accountability.
(c) Season- It’s important to think about the season since some such as the Holidays are more intensive as compared to others. Such situations might require the employment of a temporary workforce to fulfill orders.
2) Suppliers and Supply Chain Management- Some key takeaways are:
(a) Financial and operational safety
(b) Have enough and right merchandise supplier
(c) Ability to deliver purchased products fast
(d) Ability to provide real-time stock inventory
3) Client Relationship Management (CRM) Software and Policies– CRM is all about handling interactions between customer and seller.
4) Shipping and Returns- Points to consider are:
(a) Pay attention to Systems Integrations
(b) Hire a shipping provider
(c) Handle returns as gracefully as possible
Benefits of E-commerce
Undoubtedly the online marketplace is an excellent platform for business expansion. There are myriad advantages of taking your business online, some of them are as follows:
(1) Cost Reduction- Maintaining a physical store is an expensive proposition. Sellers have to pay for overheads including rent, inventory, repairs, etc. Despite investing in the workforce, stock, and maintenance, it has been observed that sellers don’t receive the desired profits.
An e-commerce store, on the other hand, helps reduce the expenditure on store upkeep. It also requires less investment and is more affordable vis-a-vis a physical store. Moreover, it is a great option for small players or individuals who are earning an income but lack the necessary start-up capital.
(2) Faster Buying Process- When a customer shops online, he/she saves a lot of time. Online shopping allows one to browse through several items at the same time. Customers can also avail the opportunity to buy things that are not available in their locality or are only available in physical stores far away from them.
E-commerce helps a customer not only to choose from a wide range of products but also to get the order delivered. All the steps included in the process- searching for an item, reading the description, adding to cart- o take place in a jiffy.
The end result is tremendous customer satisfaction since the product could be bought without having to travel far.
(3) Store and Product Listing Creation- When the customer searches for an item, what he sees is a product listing. This is helpful for the seller because he/she can personalize his/her product listing after creating it. The cherry on the cake is that it takes very little time to create a list. All that is required is the product name or codes like ASIN, UPC, IBN, etc.
A single step can suffice in conveying to the customer the details of the item if the seller adds images, product category, a description, price, shipping fee, and delivery date. So, in a nutshell, creating a listing shows buyers what the seller has.
(4) Flexibility for Customers- Sellers are able to provide flexibility to the customers because the product and services are available 24×7, thus the seller is in a position to offer his product irrespective of time or place.
Customers are always present on online shopping platforms because of the convenience they afford. These include free shipping deals and discounts, express order delivery, and subscription advantages. Customers also share reviews on the products they buy. Good reviews have two main advantages: First, buyers gain trust in your store on the basis of the number of positive feedback and second, sellers can identify their best-selling items. Sellers can also make use of customer flexibility to build revenue and sell their products on an online platform confident in the knowledge that they have a wide consumer base.
(5) Affordable Marketing and Advertising- E-commerce affords several convenient cost-effective and quick ways to market online. Sellers can present their products in a visually appealing manner by using infographics, videos, and good quality resolution images. DIY features can be used to improve the text and create content, coupons, and customized deals. Insight tools are also used by several e-commerce sites to analyze customer behavior and trends.
(6) Limitless Reach- Physical stores have outreach constraints. A brick-and-mortar store can only reach a limited number of buyers whereas e-commerce marketplaces have their own logistics and delivery system. Online sellers can be certain of getting customers while at the same time saving on the cost of logistics.
(7) Product and Price Comparison- Sellers can get a good idea of alternate products that are available using tools or on their own. This helps them form an idea of the standard rates, availability of alternate products, and if a product need is unfulfilled. Since all the details are available online, it helps save time when making comparisons.
The options of sellers in physical stores are limited in this regard since they may not be in a position to access so many details. Also, an added benefit for customers is the confidence they experience when they see so many items ready for purchase.
(8) Multiple Payment Modes- Online marketplaces offer multiple payment modes such as net-banking, credit/debit card, EMIs, cash/card on delivery, PayPal payments, etc. This helps both sellers as well as buyers. A customer can make use of discount coupons or promo codes on the check-out page. As for sellers, they no longer have to lose potential customers due to a lack of available payment modes.
(9) Quicker Response to Market/ Buyer Demands- Selling online involves faster interaction, thanks to a streamlined logistics or delivery system. An added plus is product returns management which can be handled quickly – either a replacement is given or the payment is refunded. Also, if a buyer wants an item that is currently out of stock, he can click on the ‘Notify Me’ option. This informs him when the item will be available again. Moreover, Sellers are also notified about items they need to re-stock.
Keeping all of the above in mind, it is evident that e-commerce is the future of business. At Motivate Connection, our team of experienced professionals can help you create one-of-a-kind tools to reach your target audience. Be it live media, digital, print, or video, we can cater to all the requirements needed, to help you carve a niche in the world of e-commerce. Needless to say, our team of ecommerce marketing experts experts is always at hand to guide you in your entrepreneurial ventures.
So why worry? Give us a call and enjoy a rich and rewarding experience. If your target audience needs to hear from you, we can find the best possible way to put it across!