Are you thinking of starting a business where you sell your products online? If so, you will be joining the millions of entrepreneurs who have carved out their place in the world of e-commerce.
At the heart of this term, e-commerce refers to the buying and selling of goods and / or services through electronic channels such as the Internet. Electronic commerce was first introduced in the 1960s through Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) over Value Added Networks (VANs). Amazon began shipping books from the garage of Jeff Bezos in 1995. EBay, which allows consumers to sell to every other online, introduced online auctions in 1995 and exploded with the 1997 Beanie Babies Frenzy.
With the rise of sites like Facebook and Pinterest, social media has become a major driver of e-commerce. In 2014, Facebook was responsible for 85% of social media sales on the Shopify e-commerce platform, through Paymill.
The evolving market represents a huge opportunity for companies to improve their relevance and expand their market in the online world. Researchers predict that e-commerce will account for 17% of retail sales in the United States by 2022, according to Digital Commerce 360. The United States will spend about 460 billion euros online in 2017. These numbers will continue to increase as mobile and internet usage increases in the United States and in developing markets around the world.
As in traditional commerce, there are four main categories of e-commerce:
B2B (Business to Business) – These are some business that do business to each other. For example, manufacturers sell to distributors and wholesalers sell to retailers.
B2C (business to consumer) – B2C consists of businesses that sell to the public through shopping cart software, without the need for any human interaction. This is what most of the people consider once they hear e-commerce. Amazon is one example.
C2C (consumer to consumer) – this is often wiped out advertisements, forums, or online marketplaces where individuals can purchase and sell their goods. Examples of this are Craigslist, eBay, and Etsy.
Start in e-commerce
Before you get started, do not hesitate to train yourself in e-commerce on Formationfacile.com. Because it can be learned, so as not to waste time and especially not to make mistakes. Once that’s done and you know what to do, know that if you have a simple product to sell and a desire to increase your online sales, there are a few tools you’ll use to urge started.
Websites like Squarespace and WordPress offer out-of-the-box, mobile-friendly e-commerce templates that help you get a store up and running quickly. As a store owner, you will need a way to collect credit card payments from consumers online. PayPal, Square, and Google Wallet are all popular ways to accept and manage payments online. You can also sell your wares through online giants like Amazon.
If you are selling physical goods, you will need to consider how you are going to ship them. PayPal and other processors have worked with shipping merchants, including USPS and UPS, to provide one-stop postage processing. You will also need to research the laws in your state to determine whether you need to get a license to sell online or if you need to collect sales tax from your state or municipality.
Dropshipping is another way to outsource your shipping. Dropshipping services store and ship the products you sell as a merchant, many times for wholesale prices. These companies act on your behalf, using your brand and your packaging. The best of these services have integrations with Amazon, Shopify, and other eCommerce platforms.
As your business grows, you may want to consider more advanced ways of processing payments, such as using a merchant account and a service. Services that integrate better with your bank often offer lower transaction costs compared to processors such as PayPal.
As with any new business, the first step to being successful in e-commerce is to set goals. Do you intend to increase the income of your current customers? Gain new customers? Increase the average order value? Sell through new channels? Lower prices? Once you’ve established your goals, it’s time to make a plan.
A SWOT analysis can help you assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your current business environment. What does the market look like? Review your entire business, not just segments. Evaluate external opportunities, as this is often the first place to invest time and money. Be honest with yourself when analyzing weaknesses and threats, otherwise, the analysis will be of no use to you.
After doing the SWOT analysis, see how it fits into your bigger picture. In 10 years you see your business? This will help you set business goals for the current year, for sales, profits, customers, traffic, new systems, and new staff. Once the goals are set, you can implement a strategy yourself or hire an eCommerce consultant to help you.