Humans have been trading goods since the beginning of civilization, but commerce really started when currency was introduced, and the global commerce as we know it began in the 16th century. From stalls, outdoor markets and small shops, trade has come a long way with supermarkets, retail shops, and even online stores.
Together with their consumers, merchants have adapted to technology by selling their goods through various platforms such as Shopify, Amazon, Etsy, and SquareSpace, to name a few. For business and trade to thrive, entrepreneurs have to be as fluid and adaptable as the market. eCommerce has become a way for sellers to reach more customers than ever before, with its many business models.
What is eCommerce?
According to Shopify, eCommerce refers to the buying and selling of goods or services using the internet, and is often used to refer to the sale of physical products online. It can also describe any kind of commercial transaction that is facilitated through the internet. Therefore, eCommerce is not just a simple transaction between consumer and seller through the internet.
There are many ways to sell to consumers over the internet, but the main advantage of eCommerce is its reach— you can sell to your customers anywhere, and complete the transaction any time. So if you’ve been considering expanding your brick and mortar business, or want to begin selling your products online, you should consider eCommerce.
Reasons to Start an eCommerce Business
Fast and Easy Setup
Setting up an online store can be as fast as a few clicks. Platforms like BigCommerce, Shopify, and SquareSpace have pre-made templates you may use for your store. Marketplaces such as Amazon, Etsy, and Alibaba will only require you to set up an account before you can start selling.
Websites and platforms that offer services for web hosting, compliance, and platform maintenance are called SaaS, or Software as a Service, and have helped many businesses and companies to create reliable websites and online stores with minimal effort. Every up-and-coming retail business has more chances of reaching customers globally now with how simple SaaS has made selling.
Unlike the traditional retail setup, eCommerce allows you to sell and expand your business without having to put out large amounts of money right away. There’s no need to rent a space for a physical storefront, no need to hire anyone to manage your inventory when you’re still starting out, and there are many ways to procure inventory without a large, upfront investment.
More Shoppers Online
In 2019, it’s estimated there were 1.92 billion digital shoppers, and eCommerce sales account for 14.1% of retail purchases worldwide.
Even when shoppers buy at a retail store, they start the search online for store hours, product reviews, or for vouchers and discounts. With good online presence, a potential customer or shopper will find you.
Niche Markets, New Customers
eCommerce opened up the market much wider than ever, and sellers find it easier to serve niche markets, and find new consumers nowadays. As a business, if you serve a niche market, shoppers and potential customers will find it easier to find your products. Marketplaces like Poshmark, Amazon Handmade, and StoreEnvy are just a few websites where you’re likely to find rare or handmade items that you won’t see in other online stores.
Thanks to the internet, your business has a better reach and greater depth of consumers.
Customer Data Insights
Depending on what information you need, it’s easier to track customer data in eCommerce. Online selling lets you collect first-hand data by tracking customer interactions. You can work on what needs to be improved in your business based on this information, and continue to innovate your customer experience.
Make sure that as you collect these insights, you consider ethical ways of doing so, and there are privacy laws to think about as well.
Thousands of businesses have been doing it— we see that trade is obviously going to adapt and I think you should too.
If this article convinced you to consider digitizing your business, talk to us! Sidekicks is an on-demand virtual company and we’re eager to help visionaries and entrepreneurs like you. Get a free ebook and learn more about how we can help you by signing up to our newsletter. If you prefer something more personal, we also offer a free 30-minute consultation.