It’s no secret that e-commerce has changed the world. It revolutionized how businesses sell products, forced brands to pivot their marketing strategies, and for consumers, shopping has never been so convenient.
If e-commerce wasn’t already solidified in our consumer-focused culture, then the COVID-19 Pandemic certainly cemented it into the foundation of how we shop. Due to lockdown restrictions and business closures, the rate of people shopping online skyrocketed.
The signs are clear for brands that make products: if you’re not selling online, you need to be. If you’re already selling online and your sales are flat, then you need to ensure that your site is accessible to everyone and from every device.
As your go-to agency for immersive ADA-compliant website design, Werkbot is here to help. Here, we define the six types of e-commerce, the future of online shopping, and what steps you can take to compete against online goliaths such as Amazon (or even join them).
What is E-Commerce?
E-commerce, short for electronic commerce, is the process of buying and selling products over the internet. It also refers to the transfer of money and information through online services. While some methods are more common than others, there are six main types of e-commerce:
- Business-to-Administration (B2A): a transaction occurs between a company and the government (providing software or a security system in exchange for money)
- Business-to-Business (B2B): a company provides goods or services to another company, or trading occurs (various automobile parts used to create a working vehicle)
- Business-to-Consumer (B2C): a company provides goods or services to individuals (Amazon, Shopify, Netflix, Walmart)
- Consumer-to-Administration (C2A): an individual makes a transaction with the government (paying taxes and tuition)
- Consumer-to-Business (C2B): an individual makes their goods or services available to a company for purchase (content creators like bloggers and photographers)
- Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C): the private process of buying and selling goods and services between consumers, occasionally through a third-party platform (eBay, Facebook Marketplace)
The Current State (and Future) of E-Commerce
The current state of e-commerce can be primarily attributed to the temporary shutdowns and closures of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Shopify, a Canadian multinational e-commerce company, stated in their 2021 publication titled the Future of Commerce that “over half of consumers shifted more of their spending to online shopping since the pandemic was declared, compared to earlier this year.” With an exact percentage of 54% of consumers turning to online shopping due to its overall safety and convenience, Shopify has predicted that e-commerce is here to stay.
While the pandemic has undoubtedly altered the way people shop, its impacts can still be felt everywhere, even after lawmakers have decided to permit in-store shopping once again. Nisha Dua, co-founder and General Partner of BBG Ventures, has stated that “[the state of e-commerce] is not just a pandemic disruption. This is an evolution of brand and online purchasing.” Between fear of illness and the effortlessness that comes with online shopping, people have discovered e-commerce’s benefits and are unlikely to go back to the way things once were.
Kantar and Catalyst, two data-driven marketing and consulting agencies, also published a 2021 study that further identified e-commerces trends for the year. In The State of Ecommerce 2021, both agencies found that “66% [of consumers] choose a retailer based on convenience, while only 47% choose a retailer based on price/value.”
With convenience held at a higher standard than price and value, businesses must make their website quick and easy to navigate to make a sale. Nearly half of consumers will leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load.
Referred to as "social commerce," social media's growing popularity and internet usage also impact the way people make purchases. The Future of Customer Engagement and Experience defines social commerce as "the use of a social network community to drive e-commerce sales." With 4.66 billion people currently having internet access, whether by phone, tablet, or computer, online purchases are only expected to increase. Plus, several social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, now allow you to shop right on the site.
How to Compete with Large Companies
If you’re a small business looking at the online sales made by a company, such as Amazon, getting started can be intimidating, and keeping up with competitors can be discouraging. However, there are several ways in which you can make your company and its products stand out:
- Identify your consumer base and what products or services you want to offer
- Learn from your competitors
- Create a simple yet effective website
- Include engaging product/service descriptions
- Streamline your product/service checkout process
- Advertise your products/services through social media
- Provide incentives, as well as quick and accommodating customer service
- Partner with a seasoned e-commerce agency
Although these are great steps to take, it is also just as important to recognize a “can’t beat ‘em, so join ‘em” moment. For instance, many companies are choosing to sell their products on Amazon due to its popularity and reputation. No matter where you decide to sell, it is essential to determine what products or services you’re selling and who they may work best for.
Let’s Get to Werk
Digital trends can be challenging to follow, but making your website user-friendly and accessible to all can be even trickier. If you’re looking for help establishing an online presence that ensures your customers have a pleasant experience and return to make future purchases, you’ve come to the right place. Specializing in website design and creative marketing, Werkbot’s team of professionals has all the tools you need to help you succeed. Fill out our contact form or give us a call at (814) 461-1322!