E-commerce has become one of the most popular terms used when talking about business over the past decade, and even before that in some countries. The term is mainly used to refer to the process of shopping or selling online, using different technological means.
This popularity is not without a reason, as the advantages e-commerce has brought to the business world are numerous. Here are some of them:
- Location is no longer a limitation: This has benefited both customers and sellers. As a customer, you are no longer limited to buying from shops and stores existing within your neighborhood or city, which might fail to meet your taste or quality standards; and as a seller, you have access to many more customers without having to incur all the financial and legal costs associated with opening a new store.
- Higher ability to collect and analyze data: The online presence allows business owners to keep a much better track of all the orders that have been made; and later on, this data can be analyzed, providing very valuable information that can help the business grow. Information like this includes orders per country, most viewed products, most viewed products per gender, and the exact time at which the site gets most visits. With traditional retail, collecting data is a much harder process, as employees will have to ask customers to be surveyed after they are done shopping; and many people might not want to cooperate or give information about themselves.
- Access to reviews: This is a major advantage to customers. Instead of buying products with uncertainty about their real quality, only to find out a few days later that it’s no good. With e-commerce, you can easily read previous reviews written by other customers on the website. For the sake of their integrity, most e-commerce sellers will have to include a review section on their websites, as it can also be a great marketing tool when the reviews are great.
- Ability to receive a higher number of orders: E-commerce allows businesses to accept a much higher level of orders as opposed to traditional retail. All they need to do is to set up a website and that’s it — anybody can access and anybody can make an order. In traditional retail, the number of accepted orders can be limited by the size of the place and the number of the store’s available employees who can attend to those visiting customers.
- Lower cost for everyone: Another major advantage of e-commerce is the resulting reduction in costs. Businesses can now operate and make a profit while avoiding costs such as rent, construction, legal permits, and all the extra salaries that go with that. These benefits are reaped by the customers. Since the decreased costs allow sellers to offer lower and more competitive prices without harming their ability to make profits.