E-commerce: what is it and how to start it?

  • By
  • 01/03/2024

 In 2022, 2.87 billion people worldwide purchased services or goods online. That’s about 27% of the world’s population! Crazy right? Well, that’s how much E-commerce is now essential and occupies a big part of the world economy.

So what is e-commerce and how has it become essential and important? We gonna see in this article:

  • What is E-commerce?

  • Benefits of E-Commerce:

  • What are the types of E-commerce

  • Stores types

  • As a beginner how can I start an e-commerce

What is E-commerce

E-commerce plain and simple is taking your commerce activity online and selling on the internet! It includes wholesale and retail commerce, direct sales, auctions, advertising and marketing, customer service, and electronic financial transactions between individuals or businesses.

E-commerce has been around since the 70s, but it wasn't until the 90s that it really took off with the World Wide Web and online payment systems.

E-commerce activity soared with the pandemic of Covid, especially when people were confined and unable to leave their homes. People were forced to become more familiar with ordering and receiving products right to their doorstep.

Benefits of E-Commerce:

You can tell it’s due to the benefits that e-commerce encountered in the world and become as important as regular traditional commerce.

E-commerce offers several benefits which include the following:

You can shop from anywhere, at any time: You can save a lot of time and energy as you only grab your laptop or your cellphone and order what you need with few clicks saving all the time that you will have to go to the local shop and search for the product with the big probability that it will be available. Provide customers with detailed product information

More and more details! Unlike normal commerce, e-commerce can provide customers with detailed and accurate information about products or services thanks to the tools that the online store makes available to them without difficulty:

Product Description: With a dedicated space for each product, it is possible to specify the main features of the product, why it will be beneficial for the customer, and other details that make it an appealing product.

Photos and videos: Use photos and videos to describe and explain the functioning of the product in more detail. You can take high-quality photos of the product from all angles and aspects, and provide a video showing how to easily use the product.

Ratings and Reviews: Customers can leave feedback about their experience with the product, which helps other customers get a clear idea of its advantages and disadvantages. This helps to make the right decision about purchasing the product and adds more trust and credibility to the product.

Ease of comparison and freedom of choice! E-commerce allows customers to easily and seamlessly compare prices and products and gives customers the freedom to choose and browse a wide range of products and services.

No geographical barriers and reach a wider audience: Online merchants can now easily reach a global audience without geographical boundaries, increasing sales and profits.

Reduced expenses and sustainable job opportunities: E-commerce reduces operational and administrative costs due to the absence of physical stores and additional labor, resulting in more competitive pricing and in return creating new employment opportunities in areas such as advertising design, order confirmation, shipping and delivery, and others.

Tracking and analyzing the data: E-merchants can collect and analyze data and understand customer needs, allowing them to improve their services and products as well as their direct marketing strategies.

Better customer service: E-commerce can improve customer service by offering online technical support options and answering customer queries quickly and at any time.

Multiple payment options: E-commerce allows customers to choose the method that best suits their needs and payment preferences, providing more flexibility and convenience in the purchasing process and positively impacting the overall shopping experience.

Potential 24-hour revenue: By shopping online, customers can get the products they want at any time, 24/7, without having to adhere to the specific working hours of traditional stores, increasing the merchant's chances of earning income that is not tied to a specific schedule.

Handle and fulfill a larger number of orders: The online store tools allow you to process a big number of orders smoothly and efficiently, thanks to the use of various applications and options, such as tracking the inventory, linking the store to the shipping companies' system to inform customers of the arrival date of the products, viewing the payment status of all orders, as well as other procedures that can be implemented depending on the type of e-commerce you are practicing.

Types of E-Commerce:

For some, when they hear "e-commerce" the first thing that comes to their mind is the process of purchasing products or services offered in an online store, as well as shipping, receiving, and paying for those products or services through a specific payment method, and only that!

Although this is considered the most common form of e-commerce, it is not the only one, known as business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce, but there are others, which are the following:

Consumer to Consumer (C2C): 

It’s basically a consumer selling products or services directly to another consumer, for example when you create an offer on an E-market to sell your second hands clothes or furniture.

Business to Business (B2B): 

It’s when both parties are in business, Producers and traditional commerce wholesalers typically operate with this type of electronic commerce.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

The typical type of businesis s when a business (seller, merchant) sells goods or services to a final consumer. It corresponds to the retail section of e-commerce, where traditional retail trade normally operates.

Government to consumer (G2C)

This type of e-commerce refers to business operations that involve the provision of government services and transactions via the Internet to citizens. These include various government services such as issuing permits, licenses and certificates, paying fees, taxes and fines, tracking the status of government applications and transactions via the Internet, as well as many other services that the government can provide to citizens in this context.

Business-to-Government (B2G):

This type of procurement includes all tenders, auctions, contracts, and other 

commercial transactions occur exclusively between businesses and governments and require service providers and suppliers to meet the needs of governments.

Consumer to Business (C2B)

It’s when individuals make their services or products available for purchase for companies seeking precisely these types of services or products. Example of influencers offerings their services to businesses.

Stores Types

Another classification that affects specifically the e-stores is their classification according to the quality of the products or services they provide, as follows:

General merchandise retail stores

Online stores that sell a wide range of products and merchandise, such as fashion items, electronics, appliances, jewelry and fitness items.

Service-based online stores

Online stores provide online services such as training and distance learning services, graphic design services, legal and financial advice, software development services, web design services, translation services, fitness services, styling services, interior design services, and many more.

Digital Products Providers

The stores allow customers to purchase and download digital products such as games, e-books, software, mobile applications, music, movies, training courses, photographs, ready-to-use templates in various design fields, and other digital products.

How can I start Ecommerce?

E-commerce offers real opportunities for young people to make their dreams come true by starting a job and improving their quality of life. Anyone with a passion for business can now open an online store in simple steps and develop it into a successful project.

You can make a profit by selling anything you want, whether it is general products and goods or a specific product, providing specific services or utilities, or even selling your time if you hcanuse it in a profitable way.

Need inspo? Have you heard the story of Robert Samuel, who is known as a professional line sitter?

You may be inspired by the story of the founder of Sold, who created a service to stand in line for people and has had great success standing in line for everything. From simple items to buying movie or concert tickets, at the cost of $25 for the first hour and $10 for each additional half hour, he says he sometimes makes $1,000 a week from the service. Samuel is an example of what can you make from your time starting by just standing in line.

What are the steps to follow to start ecom?

Quoting from Stephen Covey's book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, habit 2: "Start with the end in mind".

This will certainly make it easier for you to prioritize and focus on the steps that will help you reach your goal, and avoid any activity that ultimately does not lead to that goal. To assist you further we summarized for you some practical steps that will help you get started in the proper way.

Step 1: Choose a product

To start a business, you must first choose a  project idea that matches your skills and interests. You can search for business ideas on the internet, consult with friends and family, learn from experts in the field, pull ideas from social media, and eventually you will find a specific idea that will suit you based on the audience you want to target with your business. The important thing is to settle on a specific idea and not be too hesitant to make a decision. 

That is why it is very important that you also take care of the second step, which may sometimes lead you to change your idea depending on the conclusions you reach.

Step 2: Research and Analyze the Target Market

Before you start implementing your idea, you must carefully research and analyze the market. You need to verify that there is an opportunity and a need for the product or service you want to sell, as well as evaluate the competition and determine your competitive advantage.

Step 3: Create an online store

After choosing a project idea and analyzing the market, you can start creating your online store. You don't need to have great technical skills or experience in design, there are many platforms that make it easy to create a professional online store with different features. Take a look at the features of each platform and get an idea.

Step 4: Choose the payment gateway

Defining a clear payment gateway for your customers and facilitating the payment process are important steps to improve your customer's experience and ensure a successful sale. Since there are many different payment methods available, the first step is to choose the one that best suits your target audience or diversify your payment gateways to achieve the most effective results and provide payment flexibility.

Step 5: Get your own domain name

The domain name shows the credibility of your business and gives it a professional image. Therefore, you should not underestimate the importance of getting a domain name for your online store. It makes it easier for customers to access your store and improves your site's visibility in search engine results, in addition to helping build your company's e-identity and strengthening the trust between customers and your store.

Read also:

✦ Domain name: All that you need to know about domains (2023)

Step 6: Test the Store

Be sure to test all the processes in your store before you go public, and fix any errors or vulnerabilities before customers are exposed to them. Make sure there are no technical issues that prevent customers from accessing the products or services you offer in your store or that prevent the purchase process from running smoothly. Place test orders and follow all the steps of the sale until the orders are delivered as expected.

This step will ensure that you are ready to market your business with the confidence that your efforts will be worthwhile.

Step 7: Develop a Marketing Plan

With the intense competition in e-commerce today, it is difficult to achieve the desired growth without a clear marketing plan to reach potential customers and determine the path to achieve the desired goals.

Therefore, focus on designing effective advertising campaigns and using the power of influence of social media to achieve your goals.

Step 8: Order Confirmation

It is important to master the art of confirming orders with your customers and to use all your skills to move gracefully from confirming the validity of the order to confirming the delivery date to clarifying the return policy, to up-selling or presenting other offers and discounts, and to try to make a potential profit from each call. In practice, every contact at the order confirmation stage is an opportunity to build a good relationship with customers and turn them into loyal customers.

Step 9: Delivery and  Shipping 

How important is all of the above if the customer did not receive their order on time or received it in a bad condition?

Shipping is the final step in the shoppers' relationship with your store, and any negligence at this stage can make it impossible for them to shop at your store again. That's why shipping and delivery companies should be considered important partners in the success of your business and the satisfaction of your customers.

Step 10: Customer service

No matter what you sell in your store, always pay attention to the quality of your relationship with your customers after the sale.

When customers feel they have received excellent and distinct after-sales service, they are willing to shop from the same store again and again and also recommend you to other potential customers.

In conclusion, it can be said that e-commerce is one of the fastest growing and developing sectors at the moment, it offers many opportunities for young people to achieve their professional and personal goals and it allows individuals to work from anywhere at any time, making it a good option for those who are looking for freelance work that allows them to change their lives for the better.

All it takes is clear steps, a long breath and a strong will to keep going.

If you decide to launch into the world of e-commerce, start here!

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