In 1969, an insurance company owner was looking for a computer. He was Harry Gard. Harry was looking for something that can store a lot of data. Unfortunately, the available computer has too much data storage. So, his son-in-law, Jeffrey M. Wilkins, suggested that they buy it out and have the extra capacity rented. Jeffrey resigned from the burglar alarm company where he was working. He joined Harry in running a new company. This became CompuServe in 1979, the first American online service provided. On the other side of the globe, an English inventor, Michael Aldrich, connected a modified TV to a transacting computer via telephone lines. Alas, there was online shopping! Michael became known as the father of eCommerce.
Three years later, the Boston Computer Exchange was launched. This is the first eCommerce company. It was followed by the first online marketplace for books in 1982 – Book Stacks Unlimited. Then, there was Amazon which also began as an online bookstore in 1995. In 1998, PayPal appeared as a money transfer tool for eCommerce. Then came Alibaba as an online marketplace for different products. The year 2000 witnessed the launch of Google Ad Words. This became a way for eCommerce businesses to advertise using Google search. They began using the pay-per-click (PPC) context, which was then separated from search engine optimization (SEO). Shopify, the first eCommerce platform with a point-of-sales system, rose in 2004. Until 2011, Facebook rolled out Stories ads to join the eCommerce bandwagon.
Today, eCommerce has gone a long, long way. Since the beginning of CompuServe in 1969, technological innovations have driven its growth. To meet the consumer’s convenience and safety, eCommerce changes at a fast pace. Let us try to lay down everything you need to know about eCommerce in 2021!
WHAT IS ECOMMERCE?
A digital marketing speaker Hong Kong defines eCommerce as the buying and selling of goods and services over the Internet. It also involves the transfer of data and money to complete the sales. The name eCommerce began as the Internet was served using computers and electronics. The “e” stands for electronics, while “commerce” was referred to as the exchange of goods and services. This year, the global eCommerce market is expected to have annual revenue of $4.8 trillion. As 76% of consumers shop online, people realized the convenience of eCommerce. Like what a social media agency Hong Kong always says, with eCommerce, people do the following:
- Don’t have to leave their bed while shopping.
- They can opt for next-day delivery of their online orders.
- They have a more personalized shopping experience by having more access to products and services information.
THE DIFFERENT ECOMMERCE MODELS
There are 5 different traditional eCommerce models, but there are more other niche models sprouting today. Among the traditional ones are the following:
- B2B (Business to Business) where a business sells to another business like a manufacturer selling goods and services to a wholesaler and a wholesaler selling goods and services to a retailer. This eCommerce model does not involve consumer interaction. They commonly involve the sale of products that are combined, raw materials, software, etc.
- B2C (Business to Consumer) where the sale is directly taking place between the business and the consumer. This is the most popular type of eCommerce and the one adopted by Amazon and Shopify.
- C2B (Consumer to Business) where an individual sells products and services online to a business. Typically, it involves selling freelance services like consultancy, digital marketing, photography, writing, etc. A popular C2B platform today is Fiverr.
- C2C (Consumer To Consumer) where an individual sells products and services online to another individual. Again, it typically involves the selling of freelance services like consultancy, digital marketing, photography, writing, etc. The most popular C2C platforms today are eBay and Etsy.
- D2C (Direct to Consumer) is the newest eCommerce model. It means that a brand directly sells goods and services to its end customer without passing through a distributor, retailer, or wholesaler. Its most popular item is paid subscription features from varied social media networks.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ECOMMERCE PLATFORM AND A WEBSITE
eCommerce is powered by online platforms and websites.
An eCommerce platform is a software that allows the buying of goods and services online. It has all the components you need to run an online business. Instead of creating a website from scratch, an eCommerce platform allows online businesses to upload their product catalog using an interface. They can also consolidate data, design, manage, and promote their digital shops according to their preferences. An eCommerce platform is also equipped with an integrated payment system, security, and support. Some popular eCommerce platforms today are the following:
- Big Cartel
- Salesforce Commerce Cloud
- Shopify (and Shopify Plus)
An eCommerce website is a site that facilitates the buying and selling of goods and services online. It adheres to the different eCommerce models. Retailers with brick-and-mortar stores can sell their products and services online by creating an eCommerce website. This website also serves as a link between freelancers and potential clients or service providers. It also allows product or software downloads. A recent trend on the eCommerce website has risen to the spotlight. Dropshipping allows the selling of goods without holding any inventory. Under this eCommerce niche, third-party sellers wait for an order before getting a supplier to fulfill the sales. Among the most popular eCommerce website today are the following:
THE BOTTOM LINE
Running an eCommerce store is not easy, but overcoming the challenge is worth it. You have to focus on earning the consumers’ trust to buy your products and services. The best way to do this is through mobile optimization as 6.4 billion people use smartphones today. According to a video marketing agency Hong Kong, brand storytelling has made eCommerce highly successful. This is by creating short clips about a brand, product, or service.