Today, e-commerce has become a $1 trillion global industry. In 2017 alone, e-commerce sales grew at a rate of nearly 20 percent. In fact, according to Forrester Research, the total value of retail transactions conducted through mobile devices will exceed $2 trillion by 2020. This doesn’t stop from there–these numbers are expected to rise even further.
As the number of consumers shopping online continues to rise, retailers are finding ways to reach them wherever they are. This means that brick-and-mortar stores are being forced to adapt their businesses to compete with online retailers–and to innovate along with modernization.
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What is e-Commerce?
So, what exactly is an e-commerce business? An e-commerce business is a company that sells its products or services online. There are two types of e-commerce businesses: B2C (business-to-consumer) and B2B (business-to-business). Although it isn’t as famous as the two mentioned, C2B also exists (consumer to business). The internet has revolutionised this buying experience by making it easier than ever before to connect buyers and sellers. This means that businesses don’t need to rely on physical stores anymore–and that makes e-commerce so popular.
What is the history of e-Commerce?
E-commerce was started in the 1960s. Companies use EDI to transfer data electronically. In 1994, the very first transaction occurred. It involved the sale of a compact disc between friends via an online retail website named NetMarket.
Over time, the industry has gone through so many changes, resulting in a lot of evolution Brick-and-mortar stores were forced to adapt to changing technology when online retailers like Alibaba, Amazon, eBay, and Etsy became household brands. They offer an online platform where people can buy products from different sellers in one place. As new technologies continue to emerge, consumers increasingly use them to shop online, communicate with companies via smartphone and other mobile devices, and purchase goods using digital applications. With free shipping, which saves shoppers money, online shopping has become increasingly popular.
What are the three types of e-Commerce business?
E-commerce businesses fall into three categories: B2C, B2B, and C2C. B2C stands for Business to Consumer, which means that you sell directly to consumers. B2B stands for Business to Business, meaning that you sell to other businesses. Finally, C2C stands for Consumer to Consumer, where you sell directly to consumers, and do not sell to other businesses.
To be specific:
1. B2C – Business to consumer
B2C businesses sell directly to consumers, such as retail stores, restaurants, and hotels. B2C businesses focus on selling to individuals, while B2B focuses on selling to other businesses.
2. B2B – Business to business
As said, B2B businesses sell to other businesses–some examples include manufacturers, service providers, and distributors.
3. C2B – Consumer to business
C2B stands for Customer to Business. This means that you sell directly to businesses instead of consumers. The main advantage of selling to businesses is that they usually have a lot of money to spend. They also tend to be more loyal customers than individuals.
What are the pros of e-commerce business?
Ecommerce business has become one of the best ways for small businesses to sell their goods and services. The advantages of ecommerce include:
Ecommerce business is easy to start
Unlike the traditional way of founding a business, starting a business online is relatively easy to start. It won’t require too much capital or space–including a place to rent, numerous stocks, or a fancy physical store.
You can sell your products online
Unlike manual business distributions, selling products online is easy. With a stable internet and pleasing photos, selling product online can sell like hotcakes.
You don’t have to worry about inventory or shipping costs
Doing manual inventory is never someone’s favorite–finally, e-commerce business takes this out of the picture. Shipping costs from manufacturers are also lessened since e-commerce business provides a budget-friendly delivery fee included in the service.
What are the cons of e-commerce business?
Like a one-man show, the main disadvantage of ecommerce business is that you need to be able to handle all aspects of the business yourself. This includes accounting, inventory management, shipping, customer service, etc. If you don’t know how to do these things, then you’ll want to hire someone who does. Other disadvantages are the following:
It’s hard to make money with an e-commerce business
ROI can be fast–but it can be slow, too. Making money in e-commerce can take time, especially if the business is only starting.
The competition is fierce
As e-commerce business continue to gain fame, so its number of growth. With the increasing number of people who get into e-commerce business, the industry now becomes more crowded than ever. With a hectic online competition, customers can have tons of options to choose from, more deals to consider.
How to be successful in your e-Commerce business?
Truly, eCommerce has become one of the fastest growing industries in recent times. The growth of eCommerce has been fueled by the increase in internet usage and mobile devices. To be successful in eCommerce, consider the following tips:
Trust is the heart of your online business. Without it, it’s crucial to establish your brand in the long-term. To do so, you need to focus on building trust with customers through quality products and excellent customer service. This includes posting reliable reviews about your product, providing real-life advantages of your service, and responsive assistance. Since trust is stitched to every service that you do, it’s important to make sure you’re on top of the game in meeting your clients' needs.
Use the right tools
Your e-Commerce business won’t succeed without the right tools—and doing so can help your business scale in all aspects. To know which tools you should use, research the tools based on the type of industry you are in, and what kind of manual processes you want to automate. For example, since invoicing and organizing payments are common for e-Commerce businesses, make sure to choose a reliable software that can fasten your invoicing tasks.
Aside from invoice, using web forms are order forms are also one of the most important parts of online business. Since you will be creating order forms for your customers, you will be needing a tool that allows you to create web forms easily. With PlatoForms, you can’t just create web forms from scratch—you can also turn your PDFs into fillable forms. This way, your current business PDFs can be converted to web forms.
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Boost your SEO
With online shopping becoming an ever-increasing part of our lives, more and more companies will enter the marketplace. It means it will be even more important than before for you to keep up with SEO so that you can stand out from the rest. You can consider hiring an experienced SEO company that will keep you ahead of the competition for years to come. To boost your organic SEO, you can follow some tips, including:
- Take your content marketing seriously
- Build social media authority
- Give importance to email marketing
- Boosting your SEO will help you to build your online authority and eventually, increase return of investment.
Make social media the heartbeat of your business
Your social media presence is the heart of your online marketing strategy because it allows you to see what people think about your brand without having them come directly to your site. It doesn’t matter if you’re having someone else manage your social media for you; you need to be involved with it yourself. Make sure to stay on top of social media by creating effective planning and strategy.
Provide an A-list user experience
There isn’t any doubt that one of the biggest shortcomings of online stores is the lack of physical contact between consumers and merchandise. There isn’t any current way to solve this issue but you can compensate for it by focusing on other aspects of your business. Here are some good ideas for increasing sales: offer appropriate prices, give free shipping, simplify the shopping cart process by removing unnecessary options, etc.
Pro tip: Help your customers save time by sending out easy-to-use online forms for them to fill out. Learn how to create web form and PDF online form with PlatoForms here.
Keep in touch with your customers
Since e-Commerce business will only involve online interaction between you and your customers, it’s important to keep engagement with them. Doing this will involve sending out monthly newsletters about your new services or updates, or even asking your customers to participate on surveys. Getting feedback from your clients will allow you to know not just their needs, but also the things you need to improve.
Convert your e-Commerce PDFs to web forms with PlatoForms
PlatoForms turns your business PDFs to web forms for convenient form-filling experience. Additionally, you can also turn your PDFs into fillable forms so that your clients won’t have to deal with complicated PDFs. Sign up and complete your PDF forms online with PlatoForms today!