e Age of E-Commerce: How it Benefits Sellers
Over the last few decades, a significant rise in the world of e-commerce has taken place, consequently changing the shopping experience in a drastic way. In 1979, Michael Aldrich, an English entrepreneur, invented the basis of online shopping which was to enabled people to process online transaction between persons, and today it is known as e-commerce (Thomas, 2015, para. 1). Consumers would have to wait until the year of 1991 when further development took place to bring e-commerce to life. This new opening in the shopping industry provided consumers a new way to do their shopping, and as we can see in trends today, online retail is greatly increasing. Consequently, with this new method of shopping, numerous benefits have presented themselves to sellers and business owners.
Benefits of E-commerce
In the context of e-commerce, the seller is the greatest benefactor when it comes to the benefits associated with online shopping (Ferreira, 2018, para. 4). In online retail, sellers are able to reduce their overall costs which can be very appealing to nascent entrepreneurs. In addition, e-commerce can help increase a business' customer reach and brand awareness. Moreover, with the help of social media platforms, the internet allows many businesses to advertise directly to consumers. Furthermore, businesses and sellers, especially mompreneurs, can benefit from flexible hours that e-commerce offers.
Lower Costs for Sellers
One of the benefits linked to e-commerce for sellers is the relatively lower startup costs of starting one's business online compared to opening a business in a physical location. First of all, online stores can be created to be up and running in a very short period of time, meaning that sellers can begin selling their products to consumers significantly earlier than sellers who have physical locations (Ferreira, 2018, para. 5).
In addition, compared to an online store, physical stores need to think about their store location, the rent, various renovation that are needed, the design and layout of the store, the inventory (fully stocking the store for a better image), and hiring adequate workers. For example, contrary to traditional physical stores, online businesses only need to pay workers or hire workers when there are actual orders that need to be completed (para. 6). With e-commerce, businesses are able to bypass some of these problems and spend more time properly managing the development of their online business.
Moreover, those who participate in e-commerce can reduce their upfront investments, some monthly expenses as well as production costs, and warehouse and inventory costs (Hufford, 2017, para 3). This is mostly due to the fact that many online sellers often engage in bootstrapping so that they can produce more with less money. This can be appealing for entrepreneurs or nascent entrepreneurs who want to start off a business but do not have the funds needed to start a business in a physical location. By trying out one's business online, this can help entrepreneurs see if there is a market for their product or service and whether it is worth expanding their business from online to physical retails (Sugars, 2018, para 12).
Increase Brand Awareness and Customer Reach, A Small Business' Dream
With today's increasing technology, businesses online are now able to easily reach new customers around the globe due to the increasing volume of people going on the internet today (Bartram & Phillips, 1997, para 13). By being online, sellers are able to increase their customer reach and sell internationally and not be limited to just one city, or one country for that matter (Wills, 2014, para. 13). When a business enters e-commerce, they can make their products or services more readily available for consumers who would not, under other circumstances, be able to access those specific products or services.
Additionally, manufacturers are now eager to work directly with small businesses online as they have come to notice that small businesses are not so limited with complex supply chains. By dealing directly with these small businesses, manufactures can skip “the middle man” (retailers and wholesalers) and reduce the amount of people a product or service needs to pass through to get into the consumers' hands (Hendricks, 2014, para 12). Consequently, with all these improvements in e-commerce, small businesses are getting a chance to compete with larger businesses (Bartram & Phillips, 1997, para 1). Larger companies that are already pretty well established use e-commerce as a way to do more, but smaller companies are employing it as a way to help them grow to become more well known and successful. With the greater information pool that is available online, smaller businesses are able to employ e-commerce to reach new heights.
In addition to increasing a brand's awareness, a business or seller can utilize the internet today as their advertising platform to spread word about their company (Roggio, 2018, para 2). Search ads can help bring traffic to small businesses' websites which consequently helps these small businesses grow. Internet marketing has also become a very popular form of advertisement for many businesses as it is easier to target the audience and measure success of the advertisement (Ebert et al., 2014, p.314). Additionally, due to the rise of social media, this provides an outlet for businesses to promote themselves by scoring a sponsorship with celebrities and influential people. Moreover, advertising online is relatively cheaper than traditional advertising (Figure 2) and with the growing number of people on the internet today, this provides business a much larger population to target (Yildirimturk, 2018, para 5).
Furthermore, e-commerce also allows businesses to get a closer relationship with their consumer as businesses encourage consumers to get involved in a company's marketing decisions (ex: Lay chips) (Ebert et al., 2014, p.314). Due to the fact that many consumer share their personal information online, businesses and advertisers are able to track consumers' shopping habits which enables businesses to create advertisements that are tailored to the consumers. The internet provides many opportunities for sellers to advertise to consumers to attempt to steer them away from their competitors.
Moreover, another great advantage of e-commerce for sellers is the flexible scheduling of having an online store (Wills, 2014, para. 14). Unlike having a physical location that has specific opening and closing hours, online stores are open 24/7 for 365 days a year and this brings the advantage of having a potential 24/7 income (para 15).
This is a significant advantage for mompreneurs who wish to run their own businesses from their own home (Jaccarino, 2012, para 2). With flexible hours, mompreneurs are able to run their own business all while taking care of their own children at home. Social media networks have greatly aided mompreneurs to jumpstart their businesses and gain an audience. With this new opening in the world of e-commerce, this gives an opportunity for many mompreneurs to-be to finally start up their own business.
With e-commerce on the rise, many business and entrepreneurs have taken to the internet to either start up new businesses or to grow existing ones. E-commerce offers many benefits to sellers such as lower costs (especially start up costs) compared to physical retail locations, and it can help increase a business' brand awareness and customer reach. Additionally, e-commerce can open the door to new forms of marketing for sellers and businesses online, and the world of e-commerce offers flexible work hours and schedules for mompreneurs and other nascent entrepreneurs wishing to jumpstart their own business. While traditional retail in-store remains as the most popular form of shopping for consumers (Figure 3), online retail and e-commerce is on the rise.
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