It’s beyond dispute that eCommerce has grown by leaps and bounds over the past two decades and continues to grow even faster in the years to come. Today, we're passing through an epoch where a business sans a website is at a serious disadvantage. But don’t just regard an eCommerce website as something you simply "need" to have in order to survive (although you do). Instead, consider its vast opportunity for your business to reach a level of growth and success that wouldn't have been virtually impossible before the internet was invented.
What is eCommerce?
eCommerce, also known as eBusiness, or electronic business, is simply the sale and purchase of services and goods over an electronic medium, like the Internet. It also involves electronically transferring data and funds between two or more parties. Simply put, it is online shopping as we commonly know it.
Going by this definition, whether it’s an Online shop, Online store or eCommerce website it’s an eCommerce entity where the offer is made, the purchase decision communicated, and the transaction carried out online.
Types of eCommerce Businesses
When the different types of eCommerce operations are discussed, it’s quite important to focus on the following aspects.
- Business model – Who are you and who are your customers?
- Revenue model – How do you generate revenue?
- Type of website – How many retailers are selling together?
- Type of eCommerce platform – What are the characteristics of the software that runs your website?
- Business details – What do you sell and to what market?
Types of eCommerce Business Models
Based on the business model eCommerce businesses can be divided into the following categories.
- Business-to-Business (B2B) eCommerce: Electronic transactions of goods and services between companies, e.g. a business sells SAP products to other businesses.
- Business-to-Consumer (B2C) eCommerce: Electronic transactions of goods and services between companies and consumers, e.g. you buy a new t-shirt from an online store.
- Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) eCommerce: Electronic transactions of goods and services between consumers, mostly through a third party, e.g. you sell your old smartphone on eBay to another consumer.
- Consumer-to-Business (C2B) eCommerce: Electronic transactions of goods and services where individuals offer products or services to companies, e.g. a Social media influencer offers exposure to their online audience in exchange for a fee.
- Mixed Business Models: This happens when a business follows more than a single eCommerce business model, say, a combination of B2B eCommerce and B2C eCommerce operations on a single website.
Types of eCommerce Business Revenue Models
Who you're selling to is but one factor that defines your business. How you get and distribute your products is another. Here are the types of eCommerce Business Revenue models.
- Dropshipping - This is a type of fulfilment in which a business doesn't maintain any inventory on hand. Instead, the business lists products for sale and forwards those orders to the supplier. The supplier then ships the products directly to the customer, with the seller retaining the difference between their sale price and the supplier's price.
- Wholesaling - In this model, the online business stocks inventory and fulfils orders itself. Wholesalers enjoy more opportunity to form B2B relationships, as they can sell products in bulk for use or final sale by other businesses.
- Subscription - Any product that requires replenishment on a regularly has the potential for a subscription service. It could be anything from magazines to pet food to health supplements and thousands of other products in between. If your eCommerce software supports it, you could offer configurable recurring order periods for some, if not all, of your products. This is convenient for customers and profitable for you.
Types of eCommerce Websites
Different types of eCommerce websites fill the ever-expanding shopping world of the internet.
- Vendor-Specific - Single Seller: Vendor-specific eCommerce websites follow their business models and sell their products. Most online stores belong in this category. A single-seller eCommerce website belongs completely to a single company, which operates it as an online storefront.
- Online Retailers - Selected Sellers: This type of eCommerce website may carry products from a vendor, who owns the site itself, but will also carry products from other sellers that have been permitted to sell on the platform. Amazon.com is the prime example of a selected seller retail website.
- Online Marketplace - Variety of Seller: Everyone can be a seller in an online marketplace, from individuals to large enterprises. The prime example of such an Online Marketplace is eBay, where anyone can create an account and start using the marketplace right away.
Types of eCommerce Platforms
The eCommerce platform is the actual software that runs a business's website. Shopping cart functionality is the most obvious example of a feature to be found in an eCommerce platform.
SaaS eCommerce Platforms
SaaS stands for Software as a Service and refers to software that's made available for end-users through the internet. You can find SaaS eCommerce Solutions that’re versatile, flexible, and powerful and also those that are simplistic.
Open Source eCommerce Platforms
Open-source software is a type of software which has its source code released for free public usage. There’re several different open source eCommerce platforms which have their pros and cons.
Licensed eCommerce Software
Licensed software is software that can be purchased for usage by your business. Licensed eCommerce software usually comes with access to updates for a limited time, usually a year, and sometimes a support package is included.
Proprietary eCommerce Software
Proprietary eCommerce software is developed by a business for its use. Sometimes, businesses also control their own data centre in which their online store's web servers reside.
PaaS means Platform as a Service. Generally, PaaS software is a platform on which your software can be built and connected to other business systems. PaaS is an advanced option intended to handle very complex aspects of a large company, making it only appropriate for larger B2B businesses that have adequate resources to build on this infrastructure.
How can we build an eCommerce website or an online shop?
You can get an eCommerce website developed through the following means.
Hiring a web designing and development company to execute your idea
Now, this is an expensive proposition and appropriate for a reasonably large and complex eCommerce operation. The quality and reliability of the site will be largely determined by the collective expertise of the company you commission the project to. It’s costly to maintain and add more features to it. Unless you have deep pockets, this not for you.
Hiring a freelance eCommerce developer
This is cheaper than hiring a company but involves the risk of over-reliance on a single person as the developer. The project could be protracted indefinitely on the whims and fancies of this individual. Also, testing and quality assurance could be questionable at its best. You may have to blindly follow his recommendations for any third-party plugins. The upside is that if you handpick the right freelancer who demonstrates the strong work ethic and impeccable integrity, you may get a really good website done for a reasonable price. But, when it comes to freelancers, this is an exception rather than the norm.
Use an eCommerce Platform
Since these eCommerce platforms are created to provide mass eCommerce solutions, they boast simple interfaces and versatile features. You can set up your own branded online store. Also, this won’t cost you a fortune, either. They’re also designed to support Search Engine Optimisation for each store. They provide customer support continually so you won’t stay stuck in any problem for long.
Why use Shop On Cloud?
ShopOnCloud is backed by eBEYONDS Pvt Ltd, a leading digital marketing solutions company with over a decade’s experience and has served international clients right from the beginning and built a solid reputation for quality, integrity, and strong work ethics. Shop On Cloud Online Stores come with 24x7 customer support. It’s so simple to set up that little is required in terms of design or development skills.
With a highly customizable admin panel for your diverse needs, you can build your online store with great ease. But if you feel you need more customization, feel free to contact us.