E-Commerce is the act of electronically purchasing or selling goods over the Internet or via online services. The e-Commerce transaction does not include the interaction between the sales and buyers and sellers. Instead, it is more like selling a product to someone through the Internet who is located thousands, sometimes millions, away. The seller does not need to meet the buyer face to face, nor does he have to arrange for sales receipts, money or any other documents that would normally be required when selling a physical product. Rather, the whole process takes place between two virtual points – the first being the customer’s computer at home.
There are many instances in which electronic commerce is used not only by merchants but also by customers. A good example of this is shopping on eBay. While the whole business transaction between a buyer and seller occurs virtually, there is a physical presence (a store) in eBay, along with the contractual relationship between the buyer and seller. And electronic commerce software has made it possible for many online businesses to take part in the e-commerce process.
Online retailers can make purchases on any website, and they do so instantaneously. In order for this to work, however, it is important for the buyer and the seller to establish an online connection – the electronic commerce gateway, or e-commerce system. This is usually a merchant account with a credit card processor that enables the consumer (the buyer) to make the purchase. When the payment is made, the payment is usually converted to a hard copy of the goods. Then the seller (the retailer) stores this item and adds it to his inventory list, ready for delivery to the consumer.
In contrast, there are many instances where consumers visit a bricks-and-mortar store to make purchases. There are various reasons why people prefer to make purchases at a physical location rather than to shop online. Perhaps the consumer likes to see and touch the goods first-hand, perhaps he wants to physically hold and inspect the goods, perhaps he wants to have the opportunity to bargain with the seller over price. In these cases, it would be difficult if not impossible for the consumer to complete his e-commerce transactions.
As an e-commerce platform provider, a retailer can offer as many different methods for consumers to complete their transactions as possible. In some cases, this means offering a series of different forms of payment, such as PayPal and major credit cards. In other cases, it means offering a combination of methods of payment – with PayPal is the preferred payment method for most shoppers, while others prefer to complete their e-commerce transactions with cash. If consumers have the choice of which method of payment they would like to use, it makes life easier for both the merchant and the buyer. In the case of merchant account payment, the benefits to the business are also generally enjoyed by the merchant – even when using a third-party processor.
As an Internet marketing and ecommerce professional, you can assist your client with his or her e-commerce business online. From lead generation to lead capture, to sales copy to website design, there is a lot that you can do to help your client get the most out of their e-commerce website. If you’re already in business online, leveraging the services of an Internet marketing company will give you access to a network of contacts who are interested in helping your business grow.
Your e-commerce websites should engage your target consumers in some way, whether it’s through content email, or phone support. In addition, your e-commerce site should provide a seamless flow of purchasing through your Web portal. E-commerce systems are designed to provide a fast transaction process, and allow consumers to check out products or services as often as they want. The challenge lies in making consumers feel comfortable spending their money in a site that they do not recognize. To do this successfully, your e-commerce site must incorporate a professional and consistent e-commerce checkout process, which can be accomplished through a combination of online forms, push button checkout and C2B advertising.
C2B advertising refers to banner, pop-up, or “button click” ads that are displayed on your e-commerce Web site. Once a consumer has clicked an advertisement, he or she is taken to a separate page on the website where they can either buy the goods displayed or make other types of transactions. Some of these transactions may include buying and selling, which take place through “cash units,” “points,” or “rewards.” The more comprehensive payment system that you have in place allows consumers to pay using credit card, debit card, PayPal account, or a combination of all three. C2B advertising requires that your Web site is able to collect and categorize the various types of transactions made by your customers. If you are selling goods and services, your Web site needs to be equipped with a shopping cart mechanism for these types of transactions.