Some of the advantages e-commerce has over traditional commerce are the reasons that shopping online has become so popular. If e-commerce sounds complicated to you, don’t worry. It’s not a difficult concept at all. e-commerce is simply the exchange of goods and services through electronic data transfer. You pay online and either download an electronic item you’ve purchased like a digital book or music, or the physical goods are shipped to you. Almost everyone has used some sort of e-commerce. Online auctions like eBay are e-commerce, too, but that’s considered C2C or consumer-to-consumer commerce. And if you’ve ever used file-sharing software, whether money changed hands or not, that’s a form of P2P or peer-to-peer e-commerce.
The term e-commerce has been around a lot longer than eBay or Amazon.com. In the days before the Internet when businesses used to exchange information electronically, the term e-commerce was born. But only after the invention of the Internet did e-commerce become something the average consumer could use.
With more and more people getting online every year, more people discover the convenience of e-commerce, so sales are growing right along with increased Internet usage. Most traditional retail stores now have an online presence that accounts for a large percentage of their sales. Even small local Mom & Pop shops often have online stores that allow them to sell electronically, and bring local business into their retail stores. So many people search online and comparison shop before they actually go to a store to purchase an item, that not having an Internet presence makes no sense in today’s marketplace.
The advantages e-commerce offers business makes running an online store a highly desirable thing to do. Not only do you show up in Internet searches for your products, if you’ve taken care to make sure your search engine rankings are good, but you’ll draw local customers as well as long-distance customers who can order your goods or services online regardless of location.
Advantages e-commerce offers the merchant also include the ability to change prices, and even an entire business structure, just by making changes to a website. A merchant can try several different methods of online promotion and marketing, and track each one to see which works best. The ability to quickly adapt to trends and adjust sales efforts is one of the chief advantages e-commerce offers over traditional marketing and promotional methods. If a print ad or even television commercial isn’t giving you results, there’s little you can do. But a banner ad online can be changed and tweaked until results are more favorable. Customization is one of the advantages e-commerce offers merchants and consumers. Web sites can be designed to offer recommendations based on a customer’s last viewed or purchased items.
The ability to shop without having to stand in line or pay for gasoline is also one of the chief advantages e-commerce offers today.
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