Meaning of E-Commerce
E-commerce means buying or selling goods and services electronically via the internet. It simply refers to carrying out business activities over the internet. E-commerce is also termed as internet commerce, electronic commerce or electronic business as it is conducted using electronic means. Here all purchases and sale of products are conducted online via the internet. This is no existence of a physical market in it for doing business activities.
Buyers and sellers meet each other through an online website of the business. E-commerce covers large areas worldwide for conducting business. It helps the business in interacting & maintaining relations with large no. of customers with fewer efforts. Customers also avail of numerous benefits through e-commerce like 24×7 service, wide options of goods and quick home delivery. E-commerce business is done in 4 ways: Business to customer (B2C), Business to business (B2B), Customer to customer (C2C) & Customer to business (C2B).
Advantages of E-commerce
- Faster Buying Process: E-commerce has speed up the whole buying process for customers. They do not need to visit physical outlets for shopping and can purchase products by just sitting at their home. It saves huge times and performs faster transactions.
- Eliminates Operating Cost: It has reduced the overall operating cost of businesses. E-commerce has eliminated the need of opening physical outlets by the business. For operating an outlet, there are huge expenses in terms of rent, utilities, various bills, and staff salaries. It saves all these expenses and operates all business activities through an online website.
- Personalize Shopping Experience: E-commerce enables customers in enjoying personalized shopping experience. Customers can search for a large variety of products as per their choice and needs without any restrictions. Online business shows products to customers according to their interest and their location.
- Available 24×7: Online shopping facility is available at all the time that is 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. This is one of the major advantages of e-commerce that customers can access online products at any time. Unlike physical outlets, there is no official opening and closing time here.
- Connects far and wide: Online businesses are able to reach and connect to customers at far distant places with no geographical limits. People can place their orders from any place and get their orders delivered at their location.
- Detailed Product Information: Peoples can acquire a full description in detail regarding the products online. It gives full information so that customers can make a comparison with other products easily and choose the best one.
- Retargets the Customers: Online shopping has made it easy for a business to retargets their customers. The electronic business acquires vast information about their customers while they are doing their shopping online. Customers can be contacted from time to time by sending them personalized emails, messages, coupons and discounts offers.
Disadvantages of E-Commerce
- Lack of Personal Touch: Customers lack the facility of touching and feeling products in case of online shopping. They are sometimes more satisfied by purchasing at physical outlets by properly checking the product before buying.
- No Guarantee about Product Quality: Customers cannot get ensured regarding the quality of products available online. They may be cheated by companies and receive faulty products.
- Security Issues: Customers may lose their essential credentials while shopping online. There are various hackers over the internet which may steal customer’s data and may cause great loss to them.
- Long Delivery Period: Another major disadvantage of online shopping is that customers need to wait for longer time periods for getting their products delivered. In the case of offline shopping, customers get on-spot delivery of their products.
- Cannot try before Buying: Customers cannot take a trial of products before purchasing when they are doing online shopping. They don’t have a facility of negotiating the prices and cannot acquire better information regarding usage and features of the product as in case of the physical outlet where salesperson interacts directly.