Think about how you made purchases 20 years ago compared to how you make them now. In the past, you would jot down a list, telephone or physically visit one or more stores, and hope they had what you wanted in stock. You had limited options and were at the mercy of whatever retail stores were located within your general vicinity.
These days, it’s a little different. From the comfort of your home, you can buy everything from clothing and electronics, to groceries and medicine, and everything in between. You probably know this either as “online shopping” or by its more official name: “eCommerce.”
Simply put, eCommerce—short for electronic commerce—is the process of buying and selling goods and/or services on the Internet as well as the transfer of money and data to make these transactions possible. The term “eCommerce” is used mostly to describe the sale of physical goods online, but it also applies to any type of transaction that occurs on the Internet.
Since the first ever eCommerce transaction took place in 1994—the sale of a music CD—eCommerce has gone from being a novel, unique way of shopping to a necessity for both consumers and producers. It makes the process of discovery and purchase significantly easier and faster. There is no “ideal” type of eCommerce user because large businesses, small businesses, freelancers, and many others all benefit from it.
Types of eCommerce: B2C vs. B2B and More
There are two main types of eCommerce: business-to-consumer (B2C) eCommerce and business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce.
B2C eCommerce involves a business selling their goods and services directly to the consumer. A great example of B2C eCommerce would be you buying a new t-shirt from an online vendor. You are the consumer and are going directly to the business selling that shirt to make your purchase.
As you might expect, B2B eCommerce is a business selling goods and services to other businesses. Taking the t-shirt example again, this could be one business buying hundreds of t-shirts from another business for a marketing event.
There are other types of eCommerce, like consumer-to-consumer (C2C)—selling your old records on eBay—or consumer-to-business (C2B)—selling your old records to a local record store. Furthermore, eCommerce can encompass a wide array of transaction types. Some examples are: standard retail, wholesale, subscriptions, digital goods, services, dropshipping, crowdfunding, and more.
We’ll cover the benefits of eCommerce more in-depth in our next article, but some of the key advantages of eCommerce include: better customer service, flexible pricing, easier supply and material purchasing, extending your reach, and greatly enhancing your corporate image. Check back in a couple of weeks to learn more!
What Are Your Options and What Results Can You Expect?
At CTR, we will recommend one of three eCommerce solutions based on our evaluation of your needs, desires, and what sort of ERP you are already using. The options are SuiteCommerce from NetSuite, Magento from Adobe, and Shopify.
SuiteCommerce is NetSuite’s proprietary eCommerce solution and easily integrates with your NetSuite ERP application. With such easy back-end unification, SuiteCommerce provides one central location to manage your sales and purchases.
Magento is one of the most used eCommerce solutions and is also consistently rated as one of the best. Since it’s open-source, your customization options are practically limitless.
Of the three, you’ve likely already heard of Shopify. Used by over 35% of all online merchants, Shopify is one of the easiest platforms to get started on. It isn’t self-hosted like other solutions, eliminating any worries you may have about servers and development costs.
No matter the solution you choose, you can expect a much simpler, more efficient, and highly enjoyable shopping experience for you and your customers. These solutions will easily integrate with your existing applications, meaning you will be able to track customer data and increase your ability to engage with them in the future. Furthermore, having your sales process united with your ERP means that you can easily track individual sales and conduct analysis on what is and isn’t working.
eCommerce is an extremely powerful tool that brings your company and its sales processes into the 21st century. We’re here to make sure you know how to take advantage of it and maximize your revenue, sales efficiency, and customer satisfaction.
At CTR, we can make your eCommerce dreams a reality. If you’re ready, we invite you to learn more by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org