A Comprehensive Guide To eCommerce
- eCommerce

A Comprehensive Guide To eCommerce

Introduction to eCommerce: What is eCommerce?

eCommerce has been around for a long time. To be specific, its been around since 1994. We’ve come a long way since then, but the fundamentals remain the same.

What is eCommerce?

eCommerce still is just a transaction of goods and services that is carried out over the internet.

Over the years, technology has changed. With this change, there has been a sense of enablement that has come about. Our handheld devices like phones and tablets, and in some cases, laptops and desktops too, have become the go-to tools for searching for any product that we desire. Consumers rarely rely on any other sources of information for their purchases.

All these technological and behavioral changes have given rise to many trends that are governing and driving the eCommerce space right now. Some of the most common trends that we can see right now are the implementation of AI and AR in eCommerce. Many such trends are discussed in detail below.

Now there is somewhat of a clear idea about what eCommerce is and what is driving this industry right now, we also need to understand the importance of eCommerce.

Importance of eCommerce

Presently there are more than 20 million eCommerce websites on the internet.

Crazy, right?

All of this has been made possible because of the numerous eCommerce development services available in the market. While there are many services out there, it is important to choose the best eCommerce development company.

Because so many businesses are dedicating their resources to eCommerce, there has to be some merit. But, just because everyone is involved in eCommerce doesn’t mean that it is the best strategy for you. If the criteria and the importance of eCommerce below match your priorities, then this is undoubtedly the best way to go for your business.

  • No Geographical restrictions

This is by far the biggest advantage that eCommerce offers. It doesn’t matter where your business is and where your customers are, they will be able to purchase from you, and you will deliver to them with seamless ease.

Geographical restrictions hardly matter when you have an eCommerce store. In fact, many eCommerce stores derive most of their revenue from cross-border orders. Having an eCommerce store provides a convenient and cost-effective strategy to enter foreign markets.

  • Can be used 24×7

An eCommerce store is essentially just a website. That means it stays up 24×7 throughout the year. With no downtime, you have the ability to target potential customers throughout the world, no matter in which time zone they live.

There are multiple benefits that this functionality has. If you have a functioning website throughout the year, you will be able to manage customer queries, and recommendations can be provided easily.

  • Improved Customer Experience

Personalization is the need of the day. When customers find services that offer high amounts of personalization, they tend to stay with that service longer. This is one of the benefits of having an eCommerce store.

Unlike a physical brick and mortar store, an online store is easier to customize. The level of customization is extremely high. eCommerce stores can be customized for every individual customer, and that boosts the conversion rate.

  • Reduced Costs

Normally, a business has to spend a fortune on advertising and attracting the right customers. Along with that, various fixed and operational costs come into the picture, like rent and utility costs.

With an eCommerce store, these costs are considerably reduced. You don’t have to worry about a lot of fixed costs, and the operations become smoother.

  • Focused Marketing

Understanding customer behavior is essential in any business but what eCommerce offers is scalability. Each customer’s data can be analyzed, and behaviors can be mapped accurately, be it hundreds or millions.

This does because it provides the opportunity to find the right time to market to a customer based on their usage and purchasing behavior. The product recommendations that we see is an example of focused marketing.

  • Convenience for customers

Convenience is the name of the game. If we look at any service out there, if they don’t make their customers’ lives convenient, customers will choose another alternative. It has become imperative to provide convenience to the customers.

eCommerce provides almost every convenience imaginable. Customers can shop from the comfort of their homes, they have various payment options, almost every product is available, and the support is unparalleled.

  • Improved trust factor

While eCommerce provides lots of benefits, customers’ trust factor in a physical store is not there in an online store. This surely is a setback, but there is a workaround for this.

eCommerce stores have reviews by customers that have purchased that product. Along with the written reviews, some ratings show the quality and trust in the products. While the physical stores seem to be more reliable, the eCommerce stores also showcase trust.

Current State of the eCommerce Market

  • By the end of 2020, eCommerce will account for 16% of total retail sales

eCommerce has seen great rates of adoption. With the high rates of adoption, the customers are purchasing more and more from these online stores. India is predicted to be at the top in terms of growth in sales.

Talking about the global scenario, global eCommerce sales are predicted to reach $4.2 trillion by the end of 2020, which accounts for almost 16% of the total retail sales. The pandemic has not hindered this growth; rather, it has accelerated this growth.

  • Augmented Reality will enhance the experience of online shopping.

One of the major drawbacks of having an eCommerce store is that the customers cannot see how the item will look at them. This is a particularly big concern for the apparel industry.

Augmented Reality is a step forward in the direction of solving this concern. Using AR, customers have a close to a real experience of how that product will look and feel in their possession.

  • Voice search is on the rise.

Almost 20% of the searches on the internet are being made using the voice. This number is expected to grow and go up exponentially. Many eCommerce stores are providing this facility where customers can search for their preferred products by voice.

  • Creating personalized experiences using on-site personalization

Data is the new oil. Having the right customer data is not enough anymore; you need to derive insights and predict customer behavior. This helps with 2 things, customer retention and personalized experience. Also, research shows that there is a strong correlation between the two.

Understanding buying behavior and customer journeys are instrumental in creating a personalized experience for each customer.

  • Mobile shopping is still on the move.

Almost half the traffic to a website comes from mobile devices. Mobile optimization is a feature that is extremely crucial to any business’s success. As attention spans get shorter, if an eCommerce store is not optimized for mobile, there are high chances that customers are not coming back.

Types of eCommerce

8 major eCommerce business models exist.

  • Business-to-Business (B2B)

This eCommerce model is the one where the exchange of goods and services takes place between two corporations.

  • Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

This business model has become a synonym for eCommerce. It involves transactions where a business provides its services and goods to an individual customer.

  • Consumer-to-Business (C2B)

This eCommerce model is the opposite of the B2C model. In this model, consumers are the ones that are offering their services to the businesses.

  • Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C)

A business model where customers can directly sell their goods and services to other customers is called the C2C eCommerce business model.

  • Business-to-Government (B2G)

A business selling its services to the Government is involved in the Business to Government business.

  • Consumer-to-Government (C2G)

In the C2G eCommerce model, the end consumer gives their services to the Government through a public portal.

  • Government-to-Business (G2B)

In this eCommerce business model, the Government makes its services available to businesses and corporations. These portals make it easier for businesses to get in touch with businesses.

  • Government-to-Citizen (G2C)

The G2C model makes the Government’s services accessible to the end consumer. The primary focus of this model is on providing convenience to the consumers.

How to start an eCommerce business

While it is important to understand that eCommerce is necessary and the need of the hour, it is also important to understand how an eCommerce business should be started.

  • Understand and evaluate your target customer
  • Decide your product
  • Research about your competition
  • Prepare a Business plan
  • Name your store and create a logo.
  • Strategize about SEO
  • Build Your Store

While you’re building your store, keep these things in mind.

    • Themes and customization abilities
    • Domain name customization
    • Expert, 24/7 support
    • Flexible payment options
    • Multiple language abilities
    • Include Backlink here
  • Launching Your Store
  • Take care of your post-launch activities

eCommerce Marketing Best Practices

Now that you have created your launched your store and everything is functional, you need to keep a couple of things in mind. There are certain things that customers have come to expect out of an eCommerce store. There are points of parity and the best eCommerce practices.

  • Mobile Friendly

No matter how many times this is mentioned, it can’t be stressed enough. Essentially half of the eCommerce traffic comes from mobile devices. If you don’t have your store optimized for mobile, you’re losing out on precious customers and revenue.

  • Optimizing for the web

The store needs to be optimized for the web as well. If you have a site that takes time to load, customers are not going to stay. There are literally millions of websites selling their products online; if you take time to cater to your customer, they will go somewhere else.

  • UI

Ensuring that there are no glitches in the site in terms of how customers can navigate your store is particularly important. This improves the experience that customers have on the website and almost guarantees a repeat visitor.

  • Prioritizing SEO

In the online domain, SEO is one of the most genuine and long term ways of building your presence. When you are starting your own eCommerce store, SEO is something that you should pay special attention to. Targeting the right keywords could be the difference in making your number one.

  • Retargeting

Many times customers leave the website without buying anything. In this situation, it is important to make sure that you are targeting that customer and approaching them to complete their purchase.

  • Simpler Checkout

Most of the customers drop out of a purchasing session because they face issues regarding the checkout process. Having a smooth checkout helps not only in improving customer experience but also in increasing the frequency of transactions.

  • Easily Accessible Customer Service

When customers face an issue on your website, you want to solve it there and then. You do not want to make yourself seem unapproachable to the customer. That is why it is advised that it be easy for the customer to get in touch with your company. Some of the best practices include having a live chat option.

  • Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Always feature customer reviews to your store. This adds immense credibility and trustworthiness to your store. It makes people feel safe and expects a good experience from your business.

Author Bio

Ronak Meghani is a serial entrepreneur & Co-Founder of Magneto IT Solutions, a full-service eCommerce Development and Digital Marketing service in the USA, India & Bahrain. He has been closely working with eCommerce ventures since 2009

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