E-commerce or ‘electronic commerce’ has spontaneously become the buzz word in the retail world as it provides a virtual marketplace for buyers and sellers from the comfort of their home and office.
So how does this important change the way Melbourne businesses work online?
E-commerce is basically the mechanism whereby sale and purchase can take place on the internet using e-payment channels. Melbourne businesses, large and small, are now benefitting from this trading avenue and the latest statistics reveal a volume as high as 40% of the internet users worldwide who are indulged in online shopping using personal computers, mobile phones, tablet pcs and other latest gadgets. This percentage equals to more than 1 billion online buyers and is expected to see an upward growth.
The knowledge of various types of e-commerce comes in handy in order to utilise it to business advantage.
Business to business (B2B) – Almost half of transactions of the business come from this type of marketing!
B2B e-commerce is whereby the tractor and the transacted are both businesses. It could involve commerce transactions between manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. This is basically an arrangement whereby business is carried out between companies. Order taking in this model can be via electronic orders or email. The cost of operations involves maintaining an invoicing and accounting system for processing, recording and monitoring all purchases.
Business to consumer (B2C) – The crux of the marketing and business world!
B2C is the type of e-commerce whereby transactions are made directly between the business and consumer. This involves sales of products, services to customers directly through a website. An e-commerce website typically includes product information for customers, payment screen to pay before checkout and finally the delivery options and details like receiver’s address. The payment methods could include debit card, credit card, checks, cash or Paypal etc.
Consumer to consumer (C2C) – The new champion on the block!
C2C is an e-commerce model in which customers can directly sell/purchase goods on a platform say on olx.com or ebay.com for example. There are relatively low operational costs in such a model which leaves room for greater profit for buyers and the sellers.
Choosing The Right Way To E-Commerce Is Key To Your Long Campaign
Before you choose an e-commerce model for your Melbourne business you should first evaluate your target market, you profit margins, the return on investment, operational and recurring costs as well as the logistics involved.
These are basic e-commerce models that are described above. With the advancement in technologies and with more and more focus drawing towards e-commerce, various enhancements are now available for the basic e-commerce model of each type to make them more appealing to customers and businesses respectively. Let us see how e-commerce can help a business in attracting a wider customer base and to earn a reputation for excellent service. Examples of value-added features on an e-commerce website may include:
- various contact points
- live assistance option
- various shipping methods
- customer database management (this would give an advantage of treating the returning customers which could act as an incentive)
- well planned return policy
- exchange and refund policy
For e-commerce to assist your business it is important to have an interactive website and to have high-quality images of the products placed on the website. These days, e-commerce websites are also optimised for use on mobile phones as more and more people use their phones for online shopping. Having an e-commerce website also gives a competitive edge as it provides a broader customer base for businesses that cater international clients and offer worldwide shipping also.