From Phil Brandenberger purchasing Sting's Ten Summoner's Tales record album in 1994, e-Commerce has taken the world by storm. In less than three decades, it is now commonplace and irreplaceable within our daily lives.
This article will dissect what constitutes as e-commerce – tracing its history and relaying pertinent statistics along the way. Additionally, we'll explore various platforms and business models associated with this industry while forecasting future trends to look out for over the coming years; primarily concerning 2023-2024 strategies that should be implemented into one’s existing practices or new endeavors altogether!
What is eCommerce?
E-commerce is an efficient and convenient way of trading goods and services using digital technology. This revolutionary model allows businesses to bridge borders quickly by connecting buyers and sellers from all over the world in a single marketplace via the internet.
The History of eCommerce
In 1994, history was made when Phil Brandenberger used his Mastercard to purchase Sting's Ten Summoner's Tales over the Internet for $12.48--the world’s first eCommerce transaction! Encryption technology had been utilized to enable an online purchasing experience, signaling the dawn of a new era in retail.
Fast forward 26 years and this industry has grown exponentially with the emergence of major players such as Amazon or Alibaba that have leveraged global connections on the internet alongside digitized financial systems leading to decreased sales at brick-and-mortar stores. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) even reveals that employment within eCommerce increased by 110% between 1997 and 2020 and is projected to reach 450 thousand jobs by 2026—a clear sign that competition will only increase within this highly dynamic market space! Thus, before anyone dives into online business ventures it is essential they learn these key fundamentals .
The Benefits of eCommerce
The COVID19 pandemic has expedited the digitization of businesses, while altering people's office, living and spending habits. Consequently, e-commerce experienced a surge in growth with Shopify doubling its stock price and revenue since the epidemic began. It is predicted that by 2025 e-commerce penetration will rise from 15% to 25%. E-commerce has revolutionized traditional selling models by providing merchants an easier way to start their business ventures. To highlight these advantages further here are four key benefits of operating an online store:
No longer restricted by geography
For stores to reach their highest potential, they must expand by setting up branches. Fortunately, merchants are now able to leverage the power of online sales platforms as a reliable marketing tool.
With the Internet and web platforms continuing to exist, customers have perpetual access to ordering on these sites whenever and wherever they may be; simultaneously granting vendors who specialize in e-commerce a great way of making money.
Less Startup Cost
For store owners, rent and labor costs are major expenses. Fortunately, eCommerce offers budding entrepreneurs the opportunity to start up a business with minimal capital investment. With goods stored in warehouses rather than on-site as is traditionally done for brick and mortar stores, overhead costs can be kept at an absolute minimum.
More Consumer Choices
As consumer confidence in eCommerce grows, a flurry of new online sellers has been established to meet the growing demand. An abundance of goods and an impressive variety have become available for purchase, granting customers more options than ever before.
Different Modes of eCommerce
B2B：Business to Business
Alibaba is a prime instance of B2B commerce: suppliers offer their products to other companies. What makes Alibaba stand out are the incredibly low prices, enabling buyers to make considerable profits from wholesale goods.
B2C：Business to Consumer
Business-to-Consumer (B2C) entities, such as Amazon, Walmart and Apple offer goods directly to individuals.
C2C：Consumer to Consumer
Shopping online has become a convenient and common way for consumers to buy goods directly from other individuals. Popular e-commerce sites such as eBay, Carousell, and Etsy are filled with people offering their previously owned items or even new products they have accumulated over time. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to assess the quality of these products without first looking at customer reviews and ratings.
C2B：Consumer to Business
Consumer-to-business (C2B) transactions refer to consumers offering their products or services to an enterprise. For instance, a photographer could easily market and sell their photography skillset to a company in need of visuals for promotional materials by putting their work on stock photo sites such as Unsplash and Freepik.
Different Types of eCommerce
Products Online Store
Online stores can be found all over, making it easy for customers to purchase products via smart devices and computers.
If you own a brick-and-mortar store with physical goods, then the responsibility of stocking and shipping those items falls upon you or someone else if hired. In contrast to this method is dropshipping--a business model which has been made popular from its successful examples.
However in today's age, such an endeavor does not work as well due to intense competition among sellers on ecommerce platforms that have incorporated dropshipping elements into their services; thus allowing more people access to open up virtual shops at ease This issue is compounded by long delivery times associated with cross border eCommerce endeavors leading shoppers waiting longer than desired for item arrival.
Taking these concerns into account, I firmly advise against new entrepreneurs entering the market in this way. Instead, selling their own physical products online is still a preferred and practical choice when beginning with eCommerce.
Taking advantage of the digital environment, services are becoming a more and more popular option for those looking to sell. Anyone could earn money by providing advertising support or graphic design online. Companies such as Upwork and Fiverr have created platforms specifically designed for freelancers to offer their talents in exchange for payment.
Are you looking to offer your customers more than physical products and services? Well, with e-commerce transactions processed over the Internet, there's a wide range of digital options that can be easily downloaded. These include online courses, software programs, website graphics; not to mention guides and e-books for downloading pleasure! Just take Netflix or Coursera as examples – they've made it big in no time by offering unique digital content which people have readily embraced.
eCommerce Strategies in 2023
Pick an eCommerce Platform
If you're wanting to know the various places and ways eCommerce takes place on the web, then keep reading! We'll explain some of the most common platforms used today. For additional information regarding these e-commerce programs, make sure to subscribe to our digital marketing blog. With this knowledge, your online selling experience will be easier than ever before!
1）Use a Third-Party Site Builder
Shopify is the go-to choice of millions worldwide, having a 21% share in the global e-commerce market. Small and medium enterprises opt for this platform because it enables them to create efficient online stores without needing any technical expertise. Its user-friendly interface provides plenty of templates, shipping options, automatic taxes calculation and 100+ payment modes as well as social media integration. Additionally, SEO & Blog features make it even more attractive - all that hosted at no extra cost! In short - if you're looking for an easy yet economic way to expand your business then look no further than Shopify!
Boasting 3,876,748 live websites and counting, WooCommerce stands out as one of the biggest open source e-commerce platforms available. By allowing for seamless WordPress integration with its comprehensive suite of templates (similar to Shopify) plus a wide variety of functions such as unlimited products/customization options & order/delivery management - all at zero cost! - it's no wonder why entrepreneurs flock towards this powerful platform. however if you're looking to take your business further and require more intricate tools; CodeCanyon offers over 1,773 plugins that are specifically tailored to provide more robust capabilities but may come with an additional fee. Perfect for small businesses using WordPress powered sites who want their online store running in no time!
Established in 2015, Boutir is a versatile Hong Kong-based eCommerce platform spearheaded by entrepreneur Eric Ng. Through the boutique mobile app Boutir, merchants can set up their own online stores with ease and take advantage of its three solutions: Starter, Business, and Business Plus. The best part? All you need to do is get the hang of it—the application isn't complicated even for those who aren’t tech-savvy or design literate! Furthermore, your store will also be able to accept numerous payment methods (AlipayHK & Tap & Go included) that are most common among Hong Kong people while being connected to S.F Shipping locations as well - making it an ideal choice for SMEs seeking an all-inclusive eCommerce solution tailored perfectly just for them!
Magento is a powerful e-commerce solution that offers unmatched flexibility, scalability and customization to help medium or large businesses thrive. Equipped with over 5,900 extensions and modules as well as helpful templates and customizations options, this platform has already enabled more than 772k websites worldwide to succeed. Despite its complexity for newcomers who don't have the technical knowledge necessary yet, there's an entire community of developers at their disposal ready to provide guidance and support for those seeking it out. With two versions available - Open Source (free) & Commerce (starting at US$22,000/year), if you're looking for unrivalled features in an e-commerce website; Magento could be your best bet!
2）Develop the Website In-House
Establishing an e-commerce website requires performing a multitude of operations, including design, upkeep and software updates. Although developing a website is quite expensive initially, if you are willing to invest in it then brands have the liberty to add their own flair by going beyond technical limitations. IKEA and Casetify can be taken as prime examples of this approach - having your own site gives your business its digital home that truly reflects its brand identity!
However, establishing one's own platform also comes with risks since there is no guarantee for success or return on investment - refer to our article: How much does it cost to build a website for more information about setting up costs.
Utilizing the power of Instagram, YouTube Live, and other digital platforms allows for a unique form of e-commerce. Through connecting with influencers, internet celebrities or live broadcasters who hold influence amongst their followers; these KOLs can advertise products to their fan base through various forms such as sharing posts or streaming videos. This method is incredibly popular due to its low cost and has been seen used in promoting items like handmade crafts, cosmetics & jewelry. Due to the love and trust that fans have towards these online stars they often help contribute greatly to sales success too!
Amazon stands as the preeminent e-commerce platform, while Taobao, Lazada and HKTV Mall reign in China, Southeast Asia and Hong Kong respectively. All of these sites provide merchants with a method to build an online "store" on their platform for a monthly charge plus revenue share from sales. Yet this may be too demanding for start-ups or small businesses because of the intricate application process involved. This business model works best when used by established brands that have many products already lined up - enabling them to take advantage of the colossal traffic built into each respective website.
What's the difference?
If you opt for a self-managed website, it's likely that you'll look to hire an expert web development business to construct your official site according to the individualized requirements of your own. As well as needing a different server, host and URL provider, third-party software integration and custom functions must be introduced too; with the ultimate content crafted exclusively in line with what is needed.
In contrast, there are many reliable online shopping website builders, such as Shopify, WooCommerce and more. These platforms provide users with the ability to create their own custom URL while also supplying them with e-commerce features that come embedded in the system - like member login, discounts, buy X get Y free offers, installation of Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel capabilities HTTPS security and more! All you have to do is drag & drop a few tools or "plug-ins" for purchase. The level of functionality available will depend on your store opening platform choice as well as what fee you choose.
Not only can you use a website architecture platform yourself, but there are also web design businesses that use such platforms as Shopify and Webflow to construct sites for their customers. The Media Studio site you're currently viewing utilizes Webflow development. Out of the four methods mentioned including social media e-commerce, this is by far the least risky and simplest choice; moreover with an e-commerce platform not only do you save on website construction costs, shipping concerns become obsolete while at the same time your chances of gaining visitors dramatically increase.
The Future of E-commerce
With the e-commerce industry flourishing and projected to comprise of 18.1% of global retail sales in 2021, it is a great time for those looking to enter this business as there are immense opportunities but also heightened competition. As technology progresses, shoppers will be delighted with virtual or augmented reality experiences that mimic trying on clothes without actually having to do so - from being able to "try on" cosmetics using their devices' cameras - thus creating an even more enjoyable shopping experience!
AI technology has also recently been introduced into e-commerce platforms as well, such as ChatGPT's plugin with Shopify and Instacart; such advances provide customers with tailored services enhancing the overall online shopping process.
If you’re considering opening your own store but can't decide what products/services would generate revenue – read our article: “Unlock Incredible Business Prospects with These 5 Product Ideas for an eCommerce Store," and if needing assistance constructing a website Media Studio offers professional customized packages fit just for you! Click here now learn more about how they could help get started today.
eCommerce源自于1994年，當時Phil Brandenberger在網上購買了第一個產品——Sting的Ten Summoner's Tales唱片專輯。在不到短短30年後，電子商務已經成為世界各地人們日常生活不可或缺的一部分。
第一筆eCommerce交易是在1994年進行的。一位叫Phil Brandenberger的人用他的Mastercard透過互聯網以12.48美元購買了Sting的《Ten Summoner's Tales》。這筆特殊的交易創造了歷史，並向世界發出信號："互聯網對eCommerce交易是開放的"。為什麽呢？因為這是第一次使用加密技術來實現互聯網商品的購買。
B2B：Business to Business
B2C：Business to Consumer
C2C：Consumer to Consumer
C2B：Consumer to Business
實體商店 / 跨境電商
這些是到處可見的典型網店。 購物者可以通過智能手機或電腦購買其產品。 如果您經營帶有實物商品的商店，則可以自己存儲和發送商品，也可以讓其他人為您處理商品。 如果您選擇其他實現方式，例如 dropshipping，其他人將負責物流配送。
電子商務交易通過互聯網進行處理，這意味著除了向客戶提供實物產品和服務外，您還可以提供可以在線下載的數字產品。 這些類型的產品通常包括在線課程，軟件或可以在網站上使用的圖形之類的東西。 數字產品也可能以指南或電子書的形式出現。Netflix和Coursera就是好例子。
我們已經談到了網絡上的e Commerce類型和模式。但是，這些交易是在哪裏和如何進行的呢？在本節中，我們將對一些最常見的電子商務平台進行說明。如果對以下電商平台的詳細比較有興趣的話，就記得訂閱我們的Blog了 網絡銷售平台。
Boutir於2015年推出，是由企業家吳家嘉（Eric Ng）創立的香港電子商務平台。 通過Boutir，商家可以通過他們的應用程序開設電子商務商店並獲得概述。Boutir具有三種解決方案，分別是Starter，Business和Business Plus。Boutir的月費計劃從每月港幣118元起，最高到每月港幣618元。
掌舖 Boutir 相對簡單易用，以手機應用程式操作，適合不熟識電腦及設計的店主。網店設計簡潔，亦支援多種為港人而設的付款方式（AlipayHK支付寶、Tap & Go拍住賞、八達通、WeChat Pay Hong Kong），及順豐集運點連接。
Magento為消費者提供了兩個版本：Magento Open Source（免費）和Magento Commerce（HKD$171,000/year）。要建立Magento網站，您或您的開發團隊需要具備所需的技術知識和經驗；否則，你必須尋找一個專業的Magento技術服務商。
網購網站架構平台同樣的也能夠做自己的官方網站，不過就要使用供應商的指定工具及受其框架限制的前提下來建立網站。比較知名的自己開店電商平台包括Shopify、WooCommerce等。 這類型的產品已經將電商的功能內嵌在整個後台系統，想要開店的人基本上都能透過簡單的拖曳工具，或者是「外掛程式」加購，來打造自己的電商購物官網。通常，你可以直接在這樣的平台上擁有自訂網址，並且在後台找到相對應的基本電商服務，像是「會員登入」、「折扣優惠」、「買X送Y」、「安裝Google Analytics或Facebook Pixel」、「HTTPS」等。 但每種開店平台的功能不一樣，也會根據你所選擇不同的開店資費，而有不同的功能。
E-commerce也將可能在幾年內發展，為購物者創造更多的虛擬或增強現實體驗。商店最終可能包括幫助顧客 "虛擬 "試穿衣服的功能。這將確保衣服適合顧客的體型，同時讓他們在購買前看到衣服的樣子。購物者可能能夠使用他們的筆記本電腦或手機的攝像頭 "試用 "化妝品。
如果你想 Media Studio 協助你的業務建立一個專業美觀的電商網站，可以按此了解更多。