E -commerce is defined as doing business online; it is also synonymous to I-commerce, e-tailing, and e-business. Most people find these terms interchangeably; however, e-commerce covers about selling products online while e-business extends to wider berth and presence online.
E-commerce is said to have started in 1948 – 1949 during Berlin blockade and airlift where there was exchange of documents. But, what seemed to be the first presence of e – commerce could be traced back to as early as 1886 where telegraph operator, Richard Sears (founder of Sears, Roebuck, and Co. in 1893), sold cancelled shipment of watches to his fellow operators and colleagues and ordered more that he later resigned from his job and started his own catalog mail order business. And, since then, a number of commercial establishments find their ways in Internet to sell their products and services online.
This is indeed a dramatic phenomenon and challenge as businesses are left with a pressing question if to have their business presence be felt online too or to have it all online or simply settle for the guaranteed and traditional means of simply having a physical store where customers can head to and interact with the store’s employees in real time.
But, experts believe that e-commerce plays a tremendous role in how establishments pursue their business vision. With the bottomline of having more profit and wider market coverage, e-commerce provides a viable strategy that owners and managers must seriously consider.
Big businesses like Chapters, which has both physical and online store, sells books, CDs and DVDs to customers online, Dell for its computers, McDo for online orders all make use of internet technology to reach out to their regular customers and attract new ones too, and to connect as well with other business partners like stockholders, government entities, suppliers and alike.
To start an ecommerce, you should at least need the following:
- Hosting server to host an owned domain that you wish to take control and freedom with. There are several hosting services that you can check around online too.
- Website with a pleasing Ecommerce Web Design and efficient functionalities like shopping carts among others. You can build your own website or hire a professional ecommerce website builder for less worries.
- Merchant account with a bank where your clients can pay for their transactions.
- Credit card processor to accept and process payments securely.
- Marketing of your website, so, traffic and possible business transactions can be made from this site. You can use pay-per-click, optimization, article marketing among others.
Ecommerce is a strategic plan and can be used as competitive advantage. With the right medium, people and technology, ecommerce can be a forceful channel towards business growth.