Have you ever purchased anything online? Or used a computer to sell something? Then you’ve indulged in Electronic commerce or e-commerce.
Electronic commerce is the process by which businesses and consumers buy and sell goods and services through an electronic medium.
Electronic commerce emerged in the early 1990s, and its use has increased at a rapid rate. Today, the majority of companies have an online presence. In fact, having the ability to conduct business through the Internet has become a necessity. Everything from food and clothes to entertainment and furniture can be purchased online.
A familiar example of electronic commerce company is Amazon. This company allows consumers to purchase a variety of goods and services online from businesses. Consumers on these sites typically have numerous payment options, as well as choices for how their products are delivered.
Categories of e-commerce
As with traditional commerce, there are four principal categories of e-commerce: B2B, B2C, C2B and C2C.
· B2B (Business to Business) — This involves companies doing business with each other. One example is manufacturers selling to distributors and wholesalers selling to retailers.
· B2C (Business to Consumer) — B2C consists of businesses selling to the general public through shopping cart software, without needing any human interaction. This is what most people think of when they hear e-commerce. An example of this would be Amazon.
· C2B (Consumer to Business) — In C2B e-commerce, consumers post a project with a set budget online, and companies bid on the project. The consumer reviews the bids and selects the company.
· C2C (Consumer to Consumer) — This takes place within online classified ads, forums or marketplaces where individuals can buy and sell their goods. Examples of this include OLX and Quikr.
Today’s technology savvy customer is different from the traditional buyer. His buying behaviors as well as expectations are different. His demands are largely driven and enabled by the E Business technology with speed and information being critical to the buying process. The influencers and the buying process too have changed. Social media networks have emerged as the major influencers aiding the buyer’s decision-making process and online financial transactions mechanism too have changed the buyer’s preferences and methods of buying. Understanding the new customer behavior and building a E Business as well as marketing strategy in this new environment is the challenge for every Marketing Manager.
E Commerce has become a major business process for Global organizations and Multi National Companies. Most MNCs depend upon Online selling as well as Online Procurement on global scale. E Commerce has made it possible for them to access global markets as well as source raw materials from across the world. Besides, E Commerce has brought down the cost of selling as well as cost of procurement drastically adding to the bottom line. In the consumer world, Insurance, banking, airlines and hospitality sectors have stood to benefit from E Commerce model of selling.
E Commerce is a reality. Several multiple technologies, platforms, agencies and networks make it possible for E Commerce to happen. Online banking and transactions have been the major enablers that have made it possible for business transactions to take place.
It is simply amazing to think that with the click of a button one can buy, sell or affect financial transactions worth millions of dollars in a few minutes. However this is true and E Commerce is the future.