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April 11, 2018

What is Ecommerce?

Ecommerce which stands for electronic commerce is a form of conducting business over the Internet by using online transactions to buy and sell either products or services. The creation and development of electronic commerce is directly a result of the evolution and spread of the Internet. Since the existence of ecommerce, it has seen a booming growth and a brighter future ahead.

Initially, the lack of central authority to define rules and sanctions left some fearing that the Internet is unsafe for the development of commercial activities. The use of the Internet for commercial purposes has been rejected for a long time. The goal of the major players involved with the development of the Internet in the 80s and 90s was to have free and open sharing of information. Widespread access to the Internet has completely changed all of that.

For a Business, What is Ecommerce?

In the beginning, only major businesses with huge budgets were able to develop ecommerce websites, because hiring a web designer costs a lot of money. Presently, all of those trading offline are now present online. Fortunately, in recent years more and more small businesses are starting online stores as well because the barrier to entry decreased dramatically due to the development of all-in-one ecommerce solutions. Retail businesses both small and big are now able to present their products to billions of people online using the Internet, which if they marketed it appropriately could surprisingly increase their business profits.

For a Consumer, What is Ecommerce?

In this new age of the Internet, nothing beats the convenience that ecommerce has brought people all over the world. Consumers are no longer limited to what's available outside their doorstep, they have access to things halfway across the world. There is also no need to make a trip to a store, ecommerce allows consumers to buy anything they want 24 hours a day no matter where they are.
Ecommerce Statistics
The establishment of the ecommerce business is related to the brick and mortar retail shop where we start the business with the development of the website. When it comes to ecommerce business, a lot of the professionals rely on the trends to determine what is going to be successful. Many people do not look at this, but it might be important depending on what type of business you are getting into online. Below are simply some interesting trends that may impact your business. Generally, ecommerce, despite the economy is still a good business decision when done properly.
1 - Ecommerce is Continuing to Grow Rapidly
While the sales have slowed down in recent years, the industry of, in general, is still thriving. There will likely still be growth this year. Since 2001, there has been an average of roughly 25% increase each year. This number is expected to lower this year but I doubt that it will be in the negative.
2 - There are Continuing to be More Internet Users Each Year
It really is to no one's surprise that there are more Internet users now than there was back in 2000. In fact, the Internet usage for North Americans has seen a 132.5% increase since then. So basically, it is safe to assume that this number is not going to go down anytime soon. It is probably safe to consider that those who used the Internet the last several years will not quit now and the younger generation is growing up and utilizing technology as well.
3 - More Purchases are Being Made Online Each Year
According to statistics, people are continuing to buy more online each year than they had previously. Often times, we are finding that even common items are being purchased online. For example, in some cities, you can now buy your groceries via a website. This means that as people make that transition, there is more and more money being transacted over the Internet. Overall, businesses are growing in terms of how many sales they do online in comparison to how many are being done in the store. This is a good indication that people are buying more of their products online instead of in retail stores. There is no suggestion that this will slow down anytime soon.
What is an Ecommerce Platform?
An ecommerce platform is a software application that allows online businesses to manage their website, sales, and operations.

eCommerce platforms offer the powerful features needed to run a business, while also integrating with common business tools, enabling businesses to centralize their operations and run their business their way.
Types of Ecommerce Platforms
  • Shopify
Shopify is the first on the list because of its enormous popularity among the ecommerce developers. It is one of the simplest and most used platforms that allow setup an online store effortlessly. It's quick strategy and procedure let it stand out from others. Along with this, it automatically generates an XML sitemap and allows titles or Meta Tags to prevent duplicity to make an SEO-friendly website.

Shopify is an ecommerce platform for building online retail businesses. A large number of businesses are moving to the world of hosted ecommerce platforms and Shopify provides them one of the best platforms and that too, without shelling out a fortune. Let's have a look at the features of Shopify which makes it one of the most desired ecommerce platforms.

• It's affordable
Cost is something you cannot ignore no matter what you are building. And building a store involves many other expenses which you need to balance out. Shopify provides quality services at affordable prices. If you compare it to other platforms, you have to pay a monthly cost and get maximum services.

• It lets you create attractive stores
Your store needs to be attractive, that is very important. Since there is no face to face interaction, your online store is the only thing you get to showcase to your customers to earn their loyalty. It does provide you a responsive and beautiful layout, you can choose customized themes according to your requirements, letting you build exceptional online shops.

• You don't have to worry about web hosting

If you are just starting up your business online, web hosting can be a real headache. But with Shopify, you can rest assured that your site's servers are maintained properly.

• It provides commendable technical support

When you are running an online store, you will find yourself looking for some technical support every now and then. Shopify gives you creditable technical support which you can look out for, in case your website stops working or other glitches arise, Shopify customer care is available 24/7 to pick up your calls and they are also available on live chats.

• It's secure
Even though it strikes your mind pretty much after all the things, it's as important as others. Shopify ensures that their platform is secure and obey applicable rules and regulations.
  • Dropwow
Dropwow lets ecommerce stores do what they love doing best, which is marketing products through their storefront online. "Dropwow takes what had previously been a time-consuming chore of dropshipping and automates it, allowing online stores to keep the majority of their focus online, rather than in their distribution center."

Dropwow is extremely popular worldwide because the business model has low startup costs, mostly because it allows retailers to ship directly from the manufacturer to the consumer.

Dropwow links ecommerce sellers to dropshipping retailers and manufacturers. It is a 100 percent automated ecommerce sales method.

Dropwow marketplace:
• Automatically forwards orders to suppliers
• Automatically forwards tracking details to online sellers
• Notifies of final shipping cost
• Gathers only the top dropshipping products
• Does not carry charges from online stores

Dropwow makes dropshipping by ecommerce retailers nearly seamless. "Dropwow calculates that over 300,000 orders are being drop shipped worldwide every month, which means the size of the market is around $2 million. Presently, there are over 40,000 online stores and their number grows every time. Dropwow is great for dropshippers because it automates the process. Plus, the marketplace is compatible with standard principles of online store owners' operations."
  • Amazon
Amazon is known to be an ecommerce venture which is disruptive so far. They have done their best in terms of product content. They have a uniform structure for product content with proper categorization. The downsides are that it is a marketplace that tolerates numerous sellers, there can be some wrong product descriptions.

Their quick checkout feature and shipping preferences are a big hit among the consumers. The auto-suggest search feature helps the user to locate the right product quickly. Amazon also has sort and filter features to choose your products easily.

Let's have a glance at some of the salient features of Amazon web store:
• Technical infrastructure is really strong
• It contains technically designed templates that are customizable
• The search engine optimized websites offers easy navigation irrespective of which search engine you use.
• Customer confidentiality is maintained with the help of SSL certification.

All the above facilities can be easily available if the Amazon web store design is applied properly.
  • eBay
An online shopping site that is best known for its auctions and its consumer to consumer sales. eBay is also extremely popular for online merchants. eBay is available in many different countries, and you can opt to search for products that are available in your local area by entering the zip code, products that are available nationally, or those that are available internationally.

Anyone can open an account on eBay for free, and you can opt to sell as well as by-products. There are fees associated with a seller account such as a listing fee on eBay. The fees vary depending on the price you wish to sell your product for as well as how long you wish to list it for.
  • AliExpress
AliExpress is an online retail marketplace known worldwide. Collecting and analyzing mobile insights, the company revamped its mobile site and app to cater to new and repeat customers, respectively.

"Smarter shopping, better living!" is the slogan of AliExpress, a site where online shoppers can buy everything from clothes to diamond earrings to refrigerators. The global online retail marketplace, part of the Alibaba Group, exceeded $4.5 billion in transaction volume and is now a popular ecommerce site in America and across emerging markets such as Russia and Brazil.

Maintaining a decent mobile platform continually has become a persistent and an essential aspect of AliExpress achievement. After all, mobile commerce is now growing at 47% year-over-year, faster than desktop commerce.
What is an Ecommerce Website?
Typical business websites do not have the same traits or features of an ecommerce site. For you to successfully market services or distribute goods online, an website ecommerce can make it easier for you and each of your consumers. The features are from shopping carts, online product catalog, automated inventory database, statistics tracking, ability to use credit cards and other non-computer related tasks such as product warehousing and shipment. eCommerce websites are built with secured payment methods to benefit you and your consumers.

Advantages of ecommerce websites:
• Faster in buying and selling procedure, finding products easy.
• Buying/selling 24/7.
• Reach to customers anywhere, no theoretical geographic limitations.
• Low operational costs and better quality of services.
• No need of physical company set-ups.
• Easy to start and manage a business.
• Customers easily choose products online from different providers without moving around.

Disadvantages of ecommerce websites:
• Mechanical failures can cause unpredictable effects on the total processes.
• As there is a minimum chance of direct customer to company interactions, customer loyalty is always on a check.
• There are many hackers who look for opportunities, and thus an ecommerce site, service, payment gateways, all are always prone to attack.
Types of Ecommerce Websites According to the Parties Involved
eCommerce is the act of transferring goods and money over the Internet. There are also different types of ecommerce. Transactions and terms of sale are done electronically when you are hooked up to ecommerce with your online business.

B2B - This is one type of ecommerce. This is when online businesses do business with one another. A good example would be when manufacturers sell to wholesalers. The prices are often negotiable and based upon the quantities of the orders.

B2C - Business to consumer is another type of ecommerce. This is when a business sells to the public in general such as catalog orders. The shopping cart software is utilized in this type of transaction as well. Whatever you need can be done in literally minutes when you utilize the help of ecommerce.

C2B - Consumer to business is another type of ecommerce. It involves a consumer posting a project online with a set budget in mind. Companies then review the project and bid on it.

C2C - Consumer to consumer is yet another form of ecommerce. This is like eBay or similar sites. It is when a site lists various items to be auctioned or sold amongst consumers. Person to person transactions have been taking place since 1995 and there has been much success in this arena of ecommerce.

B2G (Business to Government) - When ecommerce is done between the company and the Government sectors, it is known as B2G ecommerce.

C2G - These applications usually include tax payments, issuance of certificates or other documents, etc. Although we cannot strictly define consumer or citizen to the government as ecommerce we can see several C2G applications under the scope of transactions that are done and handled more efficiently and effectively with ecommerce systems and technologies.

G2C - Government to Citizen is a term that refers to the relationships between organizations (subjects) of public administration and a citizen(s).

G2G - Government to government is the electronic sharing of data or information schemes between the government departments, organizations or agencies. The goal of G2G is to support e-government initiatives by improving communication, data access, and data sharing.

G2B - Government to Business refers to the relations that exist between organizations of public administration and business enterprises. The designation can be used for any relationship between the subject of public administration and the enterprises as one of the basic e-Government models.
How to Start an Ecommerce Business from Zero
Starting an ecommerce business is a hard task to do, which needs a lot of research investment in terms of time as well as money. With a number of patrons shopping online increasing day by day, so, more and more people want to take one step further to the growth of their business. There are somethings things you need to do before you get started and to know about them, scroll down and read below.
1
Choose a Product to Sell
First and foremost step you take to build an ecommerce business is to know what you want to offer. Absolutely, this is the challenging part, which needs a lot of good research and a complete mind to take a wise decision. It's good if you explore the market first and after knowing about the upcoming trends choose a product to sell.

Here are ideas for your product research:
2
Find a Supplier
Similar to a regular business, you need to find your product sources. Your primary source is a search engine. You simply search your product type plus the word "supplier" or "provider" and you should be able to find one. Remember you need to do your research about that supplier before paying money to them.
3
Set Up Your Store
Deciding to build an online store is a great decision and a solid business model. Once you've decided on a product to sell, your next big decision is choosing a great ecommerce website template. Shopify presents one of the best ecommerce website platforms and templates when you take template options, pricing, and easy to use into thought. In fact, many ecommerce store owners have extremely successful online stores using Shopify.
Features and Benefits of Using Shopify for Your Ecommerce Store
Free Trial: You can try it free for 30 days. Take advantage of this offer by exploring the many ecommerce website templates they have to choose from. Look under the hood and discover how easy it is to get your online store up and running fast.

50 Ecommerce Templates / Store Fronts to Choose From: Shopify has 50 fantastic themes/template styles to choose from. You can also easily customize any theme or template you get to ensure you get the precise look and feel you want for your business.

No Contract Required: When you use Shopify you don't need to commit to any duration. You pay month-to-month. I don't need to tell you how advantageous this is. After all, when you're starting up - the last thing you want to do is get committed to long-term expenses.

No Computer Coding Knowledge Needed: You don't need to know how to build websites to set up a Shopify ecommerce store. Shopify makes it easy to set up and choose any of its various templates by clicking buttons easily.

Payment Processing: Shopify makes it super easy to integrate with a credit card gateway and/or Paypal. If you sell digital products - no problem - you can deliver them through an integrated app included with your Shopify subscription.
Note: this step-by-step guide shows how to set up a Shopify store.
4
Promote Your Business
Now that you have your own personalized website up and running and you can start doing business. You can start promoting your business website on social media like Facebook and Instagram. Almost all website visits begin from a search engine. Before your website appears in a search engine you should list your website, they have to know that you are out there, ready for business. You will have to submit your ecommerce business website to search engines to be listed in their directories such as Google, Ask, Yahoo, AltaVista, and other search engines.

Instagram has more than 800 million active users on a monthly basis and around 500 million daily active users. The sheer number of users makes it ideal for businesses to boost their visibility. They also have more than 1 million advertisers.

According to the latest research, Facebook has over 2 billion monthly active users. So if you're looking to increase visibility alone, Facebook wins hands-down.
Here are the practices for beginners:
Final Thoughts
Today, most of the ecommerce startups don't achieve success because they don't have the right strategy in place. They don't follow the main practices that are a must for success in today's online marketplace.

To cut the long story short, if you follow the tips mentioned above, your chance of achieving success as an ecommerce business owner will be higher. This way your business will be more likely to run circles around your competitors and you will have a larger market share.

Commencing your very own ecommerce business involves a lot of hard work. Causing it to be a thriving business is even harder work, but the rewards will be greatly satisfying. Because of the expansion of the Internet and increase in technology, starting ecommerce business is now available to everyone with an Internet access computer, starting with a working capital, spare time and simply the aspiration to construct a good ecommerce business.
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Product Manager at Dropwow
Victor Ikonnikov
Product Manager at Dropwow
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