What is E-Commerce
Do you ever find yourself describing life as “pre or post-pandemic”? COVID-19 changed the way we communicate, work, and see healthcare providers. It changed how our youth are educated, and 100% revolutionized how we shop. “E-Commerce sales were $870 billion in the US in 2021, a 14.2% increase over 2020 and a 50.5% increase over 2019. E-Commerce represented 13.2% of all retail sales in 2021 in the US” (SOURCE). Let’s take a closer look at the world of E-commerce and its advantages versus challenges.
Electronic commerce or E-commerce refers to selling and purchasing goods or services over the Internet. This could be buying a TV online and picking it up at the store (B2C) or a manufacturer purchasing raw materials from a supplier (B2B). The world has evolved from being “brick and mortar” dominant to a more “click and mortar” atmosphere with a blend of physical locations and online marketplaces.
There are four different versions of what is categorized as an E-commerce business.
- Business-to-Business (B2B): see above
- Business-to-Consumer (B2C): see above
- Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C): Facebook Marketplace is an excellent example of C2C e-commerce, with individuals selling and buying items.
- Consumer-to-Business (C2B): This involves transactions between freelance professionals selling their services to businesses.
The advantages of e-commerce are clear, with convenience, speed, and cost-effectiveness topping the list. Transactions can be completed 24/7 in the comfort of consumers’ homes. However, on that note, e-commerce does present some challenges as well. Because customers purchase items without seeing them, there is a higher rate of returns, which can lead to complex and expensive logistics for a business. The most critical challenge of e-commerce is the security required to protect customer data.
Remembering life pre-Covid sometimes feels like looking 20 years in the past. In essence, the pandemic caused a digital revolution, transforming our lives. Technology is ubiquitous in our daily lives, and it is guaranteed that e-commerce will continue to evolve.