What Is Ecommerce? Types of Online Stores and Platforms
When I first started online shopping, I was confused about what eCommerce was and how it actually worked. But once I figured it out, there was no going back! This post tells you what is e-commerce and how it’s important.
Nowadays, there are so many different types of online stores and platforms available that it can be hard to keep track! Whether you’re looking for a traditional online store website like Alibaba or something more unique like a decentralized commerce platform, there’s definitely an option out there for you.
Read on to and explore the different types of eCommerce models as we take a look at the future of this growing industry.
What is Ecommerce?
What is Ecommerce? Ecommerce is the buying or selling of goods and services over the internet. This form of business is done through websites, which facilitate the exchange of money, and transfer of information. It’s convenient to shop from the comfort of your home, and you can do it at any time of the day.
It can include anything from buying a pizza to purchasing a new car.
The first known instance of an eCommerce website was when a man named Michael Aldrich put a copy of a music CD by a band called “Sting” up for sale on his website, “Net Market”, in 1994.
This marks the first instance of a consumer purchasing something online.
Ecommerce has become easier to use over time, with more retailers and marketplaces offering products online.
Ecommerce has enabled businesses of all sizes to sell their wares online, and this has resulted in increased sales for all of them.
Benefits of E-Commerce
E-commerce provides many benefits for both shoppers and businesses. For shoppers, e-commerce offers convenience, personalization, and a global marketplace. For businesses, e-commerce minimizes expenses and allows for easy entry into the market.
Types of eCommerce Business Models
There are four types of e-commerce business models:
1 Business to business (B2B)- When a business is selling goods or services to another business.
2 Business to consumer (B2C)-When a business is selling a product or a service directly to the consumer.
3 Consumer to consumer (C2C)- When a consumer is selling a product or service to another consumer.
4 Consumer to business (C2B)- When a consumer is selling their own products or services to a business or organization.
Now that we’ve looked at the types of e-commerce businesses out there, let’s examine the platform they’re using.
1. Online Store Websites
The first place you should show your products and services is on your own site. Using online shopping carts and ecommerce websites, you can build online stores that make it easy for customers to find and buy your products.
You don’t need to hire a developer or be a techie to build a website. There are lots of website builders out there that make it easy.
This text lists the available e-commerce solutions.
Over 3,766,071 eCommerce websites use Shopify to power their online stores. This accounts for over 32% of the e-commerce market, making the company a clear leader in the industry.
This eCommerce solution is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms for beginners and small business owners since it allows them to set up their online store in just a few days.
As of today, over 772,000 businesses worldwide use Magento to power their websites.
This popular open-source e-commerce platform is used by medium to large companies looking to scale up. It offers a number of customizable options, such as the ability to design your own template, install extensions, and create automated workflows.
There are over 5,900 different plugins and modules available to extend the functionality of your magento store. With that many options to choose from, you should be able to find exactly what you need.
This content management system (CMS) is powering over 5,102,506 active websites and over 1,773 WordPress plugins designed to integrate seamlessly with it can be purchased on CodeCanyon.
Woocommerce is an open-source platform that’s designed to work seamlessly with the blogging software, WordPress.
With plenty of free and premium themes, WordPress’ eCommerce plugin, Woocommerce, can help you create a unique online storefront.
While it’s not built for eCommerce, Carrd is a platform that allows you to create simple, single-page websites.
This e-commerce platform is for freelancers or artisans who want to run their own businesses. It only takes a few minutes to set up, and it’s easy to use.
And the reason why it’s relevant to you is that it covers a segment of the digital market, which is over 800,000 sites strong.
2. Product Marketplaces
Online marketplaces provide a convenient platform for buyers and sellers to connect with each other. Sellers can showcase their products to a wider audience, while buyers can enjoy greater convenience and choice when shopping online.
Marketplaces, like Amazon, are a popular option for customers looking to buy from a variety of different vendors.
In an online marketplace, you have a wider range of products to choose from than you would if you were shopping on the brand’s website. You can also find better deals on products since retailers are competing with each other for your business.
Some of the places you can find freelancers are:
The well-known company, Amazon.com, is the world’s largest online retailer, with a projected 2021 annual revenue of $469.8 billion dollars.
Amazon has over 200 million subscribers in the US alone, who, on average, spends $1,400 per year on online shopping.
Amazon has millions of products for sale from thousands of sellers. It’s one of the biggest marketplaces in the world.
With 1.5 billion listings and 147 million users, the online marketplace, eBay, has a massive impact on online shopping.
With eBay, small businesses can establish a global presence easily and affordably.
The easy-to-use interface and payment options make eBay the perfect platform for small businesses looking to establish themselves internationally. The unique auction system makes buying and selling more fun and interactive.
In 2020, there were 2.7 million people selling on Etsy, and 45.7 million users buying. There were also 60,000,000 listings.
For creative types, there’s no better place than Etsy to sell your handcrafted goods. It attracts thousands of buyers every day, and is especially popular with people who like to buy unique and hard-to-find merchandise.
The eCommerce platform, AliExpress, is a subsidiary of the much larger Chinese company, the Alibaba Group. The marketplace offers suppliers the opportunity to sell products to buyers around the world.
With 960 million users, the Chinese marketplace, Ali Baba, is the world’s largest.
Alibaba is the top dog in China with an impressive 960 million active customers.
3. Social Media Marketplaces
There are over 4.62 billion people using social media around the world.
Brands are using social platforms like Facebook and Instagram to sell directly to their customers.
Social platforms are making it more difficult for marketers to drive traffic to their websites, but they’ve started to allow businesses to sell their products and services directly on their networks.
Instagram is a great place to find new products, and now with the checkout feature, you can buy the items you like without even leaving the app! This makes it easier than ever to get your hands on the latest trends and styles.
Facebook has been a popular marketplace for selling and buying products for years. But now, businesses can launch Facebook Shops that integrate with their Instagram accounts. This makes it easier for customers to find and purchase products they’re interested in.
Selling on Pinterest is a great way to sell products to a large audience. You can upload your entire catalog of items, create pins that contain your products, and link them to your online shop.
Social media platforms are becoming more and more popular for marketing, and this is also true for e-commerce. This is because these platforms provide a great platform for building your brand and for running campaigns. Additionally, you can use these channels for selling your products.
4. Unique Digital Platforms
These are eCommerce platforms that allow entrepreneurs to set up shop and sell their goods online in unique, decentralized ways.
If you’re looking to build your own online courses, check out platforms like Gumroad or Podia. If you want to create and monetize a premium email newsletter, try a platform such as Substack.
5. Decentralized Commerce
The blockchain is an internet protocol that enables users to have control over their online data. There has been much hype surrounding this emerging technology, as it has the power to change how we use the web.
In the ecommerce industry, there are a few platforms in development that can potentially impact the future of selling and buying online. A pair of them include DAOs and NFTs marketplaces.
DAOs, or Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, are organizations run by code and where the stakeholders make decisions with votes using unique tokens. Currently, there’s a DAO called “The DAO” that offers “borderless commerce” to enable worldwide payments without regulatory hassles and integrate it with your store.
NFTs, or Non-fungible tokens, are individual currencies often tied to a specific document such as an image, video, audio, certificate, or any type of file. As of now, there’re NFT marketplaces where people can publish and trade their own NFTs, the most popular being OpenSea.
What Makes an Ecommerce Store Successful?
Starting an eCommerce website is not as easy as just opening a store and selling some products. You need to put in a lot of work to get people to visit your site and buy from you.
There are steps you can take to ensure the success of your retail store.
Focus On Your Users
With eCommerce websites, you can literally sell anything you want to, but it’s important that you know how to build trust with your website visitors.
To create an effective website, you should consider the website’s theme, branding, and tone of voice. Additionally, you should focus on one or two target audiences to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
Have a friend go through the buying process to make sure there are no glitches. You don’t want to make the purchasing experience so long that people will abandon their cart before they’ve placed their order.
Optimizing your online store for mobile and tablets is becoming more and more important. With more and more people using their mobile devices to shop online, it’s important to make sure your store is optimized.
Invest in SEO and PPC
If you want your eCommerce store to be successful, you need to invest in SEO and PPC. These two things will drive traffic to your store and help you achieve your goals. If you don’t have the budget for a consultant or agency, then learn about eCommerce SEO and apply relevant strategies to your store.
Research and develop
Don’t just sell the same products over and over. Research new products and services to sell. You don’t have to constantly be adding new items to your online store.
Try to find ways to make your store stand out through innovative means.
Future of E-commerce Industry
The e-commerce industry is forecasted to continue expanding. In 2021, online sales are predicted to make up 18.1% of all retail purchases.
The e-commerce industry is forecasted to continue increasing its share of total retail sales. This is good news for those wanting to open an online store as more and more consumers turn to online shopping. However, this also means more competition for online businesses.
This is good news for those wanting to sell online as e-commerce sales are only expected to go up, but so will the competition.
Virtual reality may one day be the future of eCommerce. Imagine being able to virtually ‘try on’ clothes in a store!
This will enable customers to see how the clothing will fit their body shape, as well as try on make-up using their phone or computer screen.
The eCommerce industry is evolving rapidly, and we’re excited to be part of it.
What is Ecommerce? Ecommerce is the buying or selling of goods and services over the internet. As you can see, there is a lot to learn about eCommerce! But don’t let that discourage you from getting started in this growing industry.
Whether you’re looking to set up an online store website or want to explore unique digital platforms, there’s definitely an option out there for you. So what are you waiting for? Start your eCommerce journey today!