What is e-Commerce? What are e-Commerce Websites?

E-Commerce Website Definition

Trade, be it barter exchange or buying and selling of goods and services has been prevalent for centuries. No one can be self-sufficient. And this brings out the need for demand and supply of goods and services. Transactions have been going on all over the world for centuries, locally, and across locations. Keeping the same concept in mind, now think electronic.
What is e-commerce?

What is e-Commerce?

e-Commerce, also known as e-Business, or electronic business, is simply the sale and purchase of services and goods over an electronic medium, like the Internet. It also involves electronically transferring data and funds between two or more parties. Simply put, it is online shopping as we commonly know it.

e-Commerce started way back in the 1960s when organizations began to use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to transfer documents of their business back and forth. The 1990s saw the emergence of online shopping businesses, which is quite a phenomenon today. It has become so convenient and easy, that anyone can shop for anything right from a living room, with just a few clicks. This has evolved more with the emergence of smartphones, where now, you can shop from anywhere and anytime, with a wireless device connected to the Internet. Now you can search for almost any product or service online, without having to go anywhere physically.

What is an eCommerce website?

eCommerce websites are online portals that facilitate online transactions of goods and services through means of the transfer of information and funds over the Internet. In the early days, e-Commerce was done partially through emails and phone calls. Now, with a single website, anything and everything that a transaction needs, can be executed online.

There are different e-Commerce websites for every field. The most common type is retail selling, but there are many others too, like auction websites, business-to-business services, music portals, consultancy websites, finance management websites, and the like.

What is Mobile Commerce?

Mobile Commerce simply means buying and selling of goods, done by customers using their mobile devices.
With mobile devices taking over the planet, quite literally everyone uses their mobile devices more often than their laptops or desktops – to browse the internet. There has been a huge increase in transactions done via mobile devices in the last few years – so the benefits of mobile commerce are significant.

Different Types of eCommerce Websites

Different e-commerce websites are labeled or referred to differently, based on the function they fulfill.

  • Business-to-Business (B2B): Electronic transactions of goods and services between companies.
  • Business-to-Consumer (B2C): Electronic transactions of goods and services between companies and consumers.
  • Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C): Electronic transactions of goods and services between consumers, mostly through a third party.
  • Consumer-to-Business (C2B): Electronic transactions of goods and services where individuals offer products or services to companies.
  • Business-to-Administration (B2A): Electronic transactions of goods and services between companies and public administrations.
  • Consumer-to-Administration (C2A): Electronic transactions of goods and services between individuals and public administrations.

Importance of e-Commerce

With the use of mobile devices and laptops increasing every day, there are a lot of advantages of e-commerce like –

  • Global market reach
  • A global choice for consumers
  • Short product/service distribution chain
  • Lesser costs and pricing

Disadvantages of e-Commerce

And there are some risks too with e-commerce

  • Fraud and online insecurity
  • Data privacy issues
  • No testing or checking of services or goods
  • Dependence on electronic technologies

What Makes a Good e-Commerce Website?

If you are looking to start and e-Commerce website, there are a few things that you need to understand and keep in mind to be successful in the game. Make no mistake, there are many online shopping websites out there, and the top few are such great brands that they control most of the market share.

Top e-commerce websites

These are some of the most popular examples of e-commerce websites across the world (in no particular order) –
Amazon
eBay
Alibaba
Walmart
Taobao
Etsy

Now, this does not mean other players don’t stand a chance. If you have a small business, you can concentrate on your location, like city or state. You could also specialize in a particular line of products that sets you apart. Whatever the reason, you need to keep these pointers in mind to run your online store efficiently and successfully.

First, your website should have a neat, clutter-free, and user-friendly interface. Users should be able to find whatever they are looking for easily, be it pricing, images, carts, copy, etc. Your website loading time should be less. The images and a copy of your products or services should be professional. People love to see what they are getting, and what they see is what makes them decide. If possible, include videos for important products.

As far as possible, if you are selling a product(s), do not charge for shipping, because, in most cases, that is a deal breaker. Always display the number of items in stock. You do not want to keep your customers guessing, or disappointed. Regularly conduct limited time deals, sales, and special offers. These things have attracted people before, and will always continue to do so. Recommend related products when a purchase has been made. A bundle offer is great and should turn out to be cheaper than buying different products separately.

What metrics to measure on your e-commerce website?

Now that we’ve talked about what makes a good e-commerce website, how do you measure growth?

Are you performing well? What should be the key metrics you should be tracking?

Some of the metrics that most people track are:

  • Product Sales
  • Category Performance
  • E-commerce Orders
  • Average Order Value
  • Bounce Rate
  • Average Time on Page

But even in these metrics, what do you think is the best metric to track growth? Something with which you can definitely say, “my store is growing?”

Sales data, right?

It is the conversions – how many people visited your website versus how many people actually bought from you – that defines your growth.

If you have a high conversion rate, you’re selling more and in turn making more profit.

There are many tools with which you can track conversion rate, for example, Google Analytics, HubSpot, Lucky Orange and HumCommerce.

In addition to tracking conversion, you should understand what your visitors want from you.

What are they looking for when they come to your e-commerce store?

Are they losing interest on a particular section or a page?

To track and analyze visitor behavior, you’ll need to use tools like Lucky Orange, Inspectlet or HumCommerce.

Make sure you are in control of your analytics and know exactly what is working, and what is not. Demographics also play an important part as far as target consumers are concerned. You want to display the right things to the right people. An FAQ section is necessary to answer all common queries that may arise. Do not leave any room for doubt, as that breaks a sale even before it is done. Your contact information should be clear, complete, and up-to-date. Trust plays a very important role in online shopping.

Have multiple payment options available. Every individual customer has his preferences. Make sure you cater to everyone. You return policy should be properly in place and one that suits your customers. Most people decide on buying after looking at the return policy of an e-Commerce website.

Last but not the least! Post a lot of reviews and testimonials on your website. People love to read other customers’ experiences before becoming a customer themselves. Post a few negative ones too. This section should not look all made up to suit your business. If you are thinking of setting up your online store on WordPress, then search free or premium e-Commerce WordPress themes which allow you to customize your website for various elements like display latest products, best sellers, highlight products, showcase testimonials, etc. Or simply design one for yourself using a free e-commerce UI kit.

e-Commerce has made the world a much smaller place, thanks to the Internet. It is convenient, fast, and easy. The number of people turning to e-Shopping is only going to rise as time goes by. So make your business go online, choose a good e-commerce WordPress theme and set up a clutter-free and easy to use e-Commerce website, and see your sales and profits rise.

About the Author

Pooja loves all things WordPress and thoroughly enjoys coming to work every day. Her team loves her too, though she suspects it is a little to do with the fact that she cooks and bakes yummy goodies for them often.

8 Comments
  • Sharon Louis /February 5, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Hi Pooja,
    Thanks for great idea explanation about e-commerce!
    i define e-commerce like this: Transacting or facilitating business on the Internet is called eCommerce.Buying and selling good on the internet is a very common example of eCommerce.
    :)
    Again thanks for sharing this helpful article!

  • Alex Hales /March 14, 2017 at 2:12 am

    Hey Pooja Thanks for sharing great article on ecommerce.
    Just a definition of ecommerce is not enough. The word ecommerce has changed in many ways in recent years and whole thesis can be written on it.
    As you mentioned perfectly, making good ecommerce is now more important than having just online store.

  • Rebeka Sara /March 14, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    I am very interested in B2B eCommerce. Your definition is very elaborate. We are a photo editing company and most of our clients are B2B based. Thanks for your efforts on the proper eCommerce definition.

  • nishantotarget /March 30, 2018 at 2:36 am

    Hey, Pooja.

    Accidentally I landed on your website. As you mentioned in the article eCommerce comes with diverse challenges and opportunities. Most often the challenges are quite extreme that small B2C eCommerce companies will not be able to compete with the international brands.

    The consumers affinity towards freebies and discounts are extreme. They fall for high volume discounted sales. Where as a startup with limited budget needs to strive a lot, to identify their KPI and to differentiate their USP.

  • Derek /April 14, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Pooja,

    Great article, I especially liked the “What Makes a Good e-Commerce Website?” section. However, like the comment above me mentioned, it can be hard compete with the big brands. With that said, one of the thing people can do is do niche specific stores.

    Most of us are aware that being the next Amazon, eBay or even Etsy is nearly impossible. But niche sites are wide open and they seem to resonant with people. For example I’m in the process of starting an all cat store :)

  • Peeyush /May 14, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    Big Thanks. Its really Going to help me for my project on E-commerce and its details. Thanks Again

  • Steven /May 15, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    Now a Days Without E-Commerce Concept we can not get leads to our business.Big Companies are always interested in B2B eCommerce companies.Really Great Article Post,it will really help me to run out my business.

  • Major Types E-Commerce Business Models /May 16, 2018 at 3:59 am

    Hi Pooja,
    Hey Pooja Thanks for sharing great article on ecommerce. *Thanks Again*

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