What is eCommerce?
Ecommerce is the practice of buying and selling of goods and services over the internet. Every time individuals and companies are buying or selling products and services online they’re engaging in eCommerce. The term eCommerce also encompasses other types of eCommerce such as online auctions, internet banking, payment gateways, and online ticketing. The eCommerce sector has been one of the most transformative industries on the planet because it offers qualities that traditional brick and mortar shopping methods usually fall flat on; whether that be comfortability, convenience and/or personalisation. Most businesses with an eCommerce presence use an eCommerce store and/or an eCommerce platform to conduct both online marketing and sales activities and to oversee logistics and fulfillment. eCommerce has become the new ‘norm’ of how most businesses operate and we are likely to see this continue to dictate the way we buy and sell in the future. And through the increase in smartphones and technology. Mobile commerce, or mCommerce, is a rapidly growing avenue of eCommerce that’s mostly driven by the expanding market and influence of smartphones and millennials’ comfort with shopping online.
How has eCommerce evolved?
The history of eCommerce dates back further than you might think. It was initially introduced about 40 years ago in its earliest form. Since then, eCommerce has helped countless businesses grow with the help of new technologies, improvements in internet connectivity, and widespread consumer and business adoption. And to this day eCommerce is continually changing and evolving. The top trends within eCommerce currently are mobile commerce and personalisation that are the most important avenues for online retailers to be optimising today.
Over the past decade, the progression of both technology devices (mobiles, tablets etc.) and the internet has had a direct correlation with the eCommerce evolution. And just as the internet has grown into the desired medium for marketing and advertising, the e-commerce evolution has seen online shopping rival brick and mortar stores.
Some of the biggest changes in eCommerce over the last decade include:
- The rise of online shopping and marketplaces.
- The shift from desktops to mobile.
- The tremendous growth of digital marketing and advertising.
- Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
The rise of online shopping
Growth of the industry is tremendous in the fact of how we now view shopping, as there are many advantages of eCommerce . Ecommerce (and now omni-channel retail) has had a major impact on customers. It is revolutionizing the way modern consumers shop. We no longer have to go to a physical store, you can be set in your living, order something online and have next day delivery straight to your front door.
Major players in the industry with online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay have become very popular. Although many retailers now have an online presence, it’s a different shopping experience to that of an online marketplace. By accessing an online marketplace, consumers can find a range of product offerings that fit their search. They can compare prices, brands, read customer reviews, and often purchase products for prices below retail.
For many small businesses, eCommerce adoption has been a slow process. However, those who’ve embraced it have discovered eCommerce can open doors to new opportunities that were never possible before. By having the opportunity to reach new customers and be available 24/7 it impacts the bottom line, so even though they are competing with big giants such as Amazon they still have the ability for growth.
The shift from desktop to mobile
Potentially one of the biggest elements of the e-commerce evolution is mobile shopping or m-commerce. The ability to browse, compare, and shop using responsive mobile sites or apps via a smartphone or tablet. People no longer have to wait until they’re home to use their desktop computer, let alone venture out to a brick and mortar store to make a purchase. Mobile commerce has made way for better engagement with consumers. Push notifications are an advantage that mobile shopping apps have in re-engaging their customers and promoting sales. Desktop eCommerce platforms don’t have this luxury outside of email newsletters.
The future of eCommerce
We are likely to see the increase in automation that manages itself with no humans involved, and will likely require the highest level of machine learning to produce artificial intelligence that can replace human intelligence. Businesses expect to spend big on AI-powered automation. Worldwide AI and process automation expenditures are expected to top $15.4 billion by 2021. Due to technologies such as voice recognition we are already seeing this effect eCommerce and will continue to do so.
But with predictions about the future don’t come with probabilities or precise timelines. The creative destruction happening in retail presents both threats and opportunities, the likes of which businesses have never seen before.
You don’t have to seize every trend in 2020 and beyond. What your customers do expect is that you’ll meet them where they are, providing a valuable customer experience regardless of whether it comes offline, via voice, or through AR, VR or AI.
At Firefly we focus on turning website visitors into customers. Having worked on over 700 companies, Firefly is a specialised eCommerce website development agency. We don’t just make websites look “nice” but ensure they are built to high conversion. Our website builds will create seamless customer experiences, that lead to more add to carts, better brand experiences and raving customers that come back for more.
Wherever your business is right now in your eCommerce journey, we hope this post gave you some insights that you can apply in your venture. If you’re just starting out and need help picking a platform or deciding on your target audience, and everything in between or maybe you are already running an eCommerce business and want to ensure your success give us a call on 0800 448 971 or get in contact with us today for a completely free quote. And lets take your eCommerce business to the next level.