Ecommerce, also known as electronic commerce, refers to the act of buying and selling goods or services using the internet. From large corporations to small companies, e-commerce eliminates geographic barriers, connecting consumers and retailers all around the world. As the low-touch economy grows amidst the pandemic, many consumers have turned to online shopping as a safe alternative to acquiring goods. With this, eMarketer estimates that e-commerce sales will reach $709.8 billion in 2020, making up 14% of total retail sales. From food and beverage, personal care, health, and beauty products e-commerce continue to revolutionize the way consumers shop, while making it easy for anyone to buy and sell products to their target market.
Ecommerce Business Models and Websites
Ecommerce uses one of four business models to facilitate transactions of goods and services. Using these models, e-commerce websites are tailored to best facilitate transactions between customers and businesses. Examples of e-commerce include retail, wholesale, crowdfunding, services, digital/tangible products, and subscriptions.
B2B: The business to business model of e-commerce involves retailers selling goods or services to other retail entities. Many businesses that use this model buy products at wholesale prices to sell to consumers to make a profit. Businesses may also purchase office-grade products such as software and supplies from other businesses to help with their operations.
B2C: The business to consumer model is used by retailers to facilitate direct transactions with consumers. Examples of this include consumer purchases from Amazon, Walmart, Target, and any other company that sells products directly to shoppers.
C2B: Consumer to business transactions allows consumers to offer products or services to a company. Many consumers use this model for freelance work and selling their own digital and tangible products for businesses to use.
C2C: The consumer to consumer model involves the sale of products or services between two consumers. Examples of this model would be Craigslist, eBay, Depop, and any other website that allows consumers to buy and sell goods whether it be handmade or secondhand.
The Future of Ecommerce
As the growth of e-commerce creates competition for brands, many traditional brick and mortar businesses have begun selling online to adapt to modern consumer behaviors. In addition to the changing preferences of consumers, the emergence of the global pandemic has forced businesses to shift to online sales, as new regulations deter customers from shopping in-store. These new practices are the first steps towards a digital-first future, as traditional in-person shopping for groceries, clothes, and other products become obsolete. Though brick and mortar stores are far from extinct, creating an e-commerce platform may help businesses increase sales by providing products to people around the world.
In terms of C2C and C2B transactions, e-commerce has made it easy for anyone to freelance their skills, resell items, or create an online store. This helps both consumers and e-commerce websites, as many individual sales are facilitated by a third-party site. Social media platforms have also helped drive consumer and business sales by adding features to their sites to simplify online shopping. All in all, e-commerce provides an abundance of opportunities for both consumers and businesses, helping individuals and businesses of all sizes buy and sell products with ease. With this, the consumer experience may forever change as online shopping becomes the new norm.
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