The term e-commerce is a shortened variation of the more formal term – electronic commerce. It refers to the purchase of goods or services over the Internet. Many of the same concepts required by traditional storefront businesses are also necessary in e-commerce. These shared concepts include supply chain management, order management, inventory management, and shipping. However, to drive e-commerce, several newer online technologies are also required, and these include website construction, electronic data interchange (EDI), electronic funds transfer (EFT), online shopping cart technology, and email confirmation.
According to Pinnacle Cart, a top e-commerce solutions software company, small businesses gain a huge advantage from having an e-commerce system in place, with an online presence to market their goods. By establishing a website as a means of selling products, small businesses are able to compete with much larger businesses, and to some extent at least, level the playing field of competitive retail sales. In addition to staying competitive, the benefits of having an e-commerce website can be numerous and considerable.
Advantages of e-commerce
- One of the most obvious advantages of having an online store versus a brick-and-mortar store is that the limitations of geography can be easily overcome. An online store literally has its doors open to the entire world, rather than to the neighborhood of a single town or city. With good use of search engine optimization (SEO), a website can appear high in the rankings of Internet search engines, and can be displayed to Internet users searching for goods or services around the world.
- Another enormous advantage of an e-commerce website is the much lower cost of operating an online store. Since no physical storefront is involved, there are no costs associated with building purchase or rental, and no personnel need be hired for traditional retail functions like checkout, billing, payments, or inventory management. The cost of advertising and marketing is also much lower for an online enterprise, since much of it can be accomplished through the use of social media and word-of-mouth.
- Another big advantage of an online store is that it can literally stay open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. Try to imagine the expense of matching this availability by a traditional storefront. It would be completely cost prohibitive!
Availability, marketing, and ease of growth
A great deal more product information can be provided to customers when they shop online, as opposed to the information that might be related to customers by a salesperson. Clever use of content on the website can also create or grow the market for niche products, which might otherwise languish in a traditional storefront, unknown to the local purchasing public.
One of the best ways to advertise products in your online store is to provide a way for satisfied customers to review your products and their shopping experience on your website and other social media sites. In doing so, they will be building your brand reputation and advertising your products for you. There is no better advertising strategy than to have a satisfied customer convince others to buy your product. The buyer’s voice is an unbiased one – and it doesn’t cost you a penny.
With an e-commerce setup, the growth of your business can be a simple matter. As demand increases for your products or services, you need only introduce different sales channels to reach more segments of the marketplace. If demand for your goods warrants it, you can even develop partner websites or niche websites to accommodate the demand growth.
In any case, all that would be necessary is to enhance or add to your online presence, rather than undergo the expense of building new warehouses or storefronts, and hiring more personnel.
This article was contributed on behalf of Pinnacle Cart, your number one choice when looking to improve your e-commerce website. Pinnacle’s ecommerce shopping cart software is simple to use and setup. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!