What are the Advantages of e-Commerce over Traditional Retail Business?

Advantages of e-Commerce

As e-commerce is on the rise, more and more businesses have switched or have started to dabble in the world of e-commerce. These businesses have seen the advantages of e-commerce over traditional retail business. Moreover, e-commerce has the potential to reach a wider audience since it can easily be available and opened for the world.

Let’s take a look at what these advantages are. You will never know you might find yourself in the same endeavor and it helps if you know what you are getting yourself into.

  1. e-Commerce overcomes geographical limitations

This is basically one of the strongest advantage of e-commerce over traditional retail business. There’s no need to put up a store in a specific location where only the people within an acceptable radius can come and visit. The limited geographical area you can provide service or sell products in a traditional business doesn’t exist with e-commerce.

An e-commerce website’s playground is the world. Anyone who can get in to your website has the power to look at your catalog, browse through your services and get to know more about your business. Ultimately, anywhere you are in the world, you can transact on an e-commerce website, whether you are buying a product or subscribing to a particular service.

  1. With search engine visibility, you can potentially gain new customers everyday

There’s always a new customer that you can gain whenever you are on top of the search rankings. With the power of Search Engine Optimization, your website can be on top of every related word searches by anyone in the world. That’s immediately a potential customer. Moreover, websites link to other websites and online marketing has become so much of a big thing now that it enables anyone from any part of the globe to reach your website in a matter of seconds even if they don’t have any idea on what your business is all about.

  1. e-Commerce offers lower cost

One of the many great tangible advantages of e-commerce is the lower cost. Real estate cost is much lower compared to having a traditional retail store because there’s no need to put up a big building to house as well as display the products you are selling. There’s no need for a permanent physical location to put up an e-commerce business. Advertising and marketing costs are significantly lower because there’s a lot of available tools online where you can take advantage of powerful advertising and marketing mechanisms. All of these happen over the Internet and there’s no need for actual billboards and the likes to market your business. Lastly, personnel is one of the great advantage of an e-commerce business. There’s a lot of automation happening within an e-commerce business, such as payments, billing operational processes and inventory management. There’s also no need to hire a lot of employees to run the e-commerce business, just a few specialists who are available online without a lot of heavy lifting.

  1. It is easier to locate the product

Unlike traditional retail stores, there’s no need to push pushcarts and walking across the aisles to locate the product you are looking for. Imagine you are in Walmart and have to navigate through all the aisles to find the specific shampoo brand you are looking for. That takes a lot of time and a lot of effort. Sometimes, when you get unlucky, the shampoo brand you are looking for is out of stock, not sold or it is not the size you are willing to pay for. E-commerce provides you a powerful and intuitive tool to search for the product you are looking for without having to spend a lot of minutes navigating. Moreover, there are really great tools employed by e-commerce websites where it can predict your next choices by analyzing your behavior and actions or your preferences when you are in the website.

  1. e-Commerce eliminates cost and travel time

Finally, one of the best thing about e-commerce website is you don’t have to walk, run or drive in order to go to the store. You just need to open up your phone or your computer and go to the website to order a product or subscribe to a service. This really powerful innovation and game changer were the primary advantages of e-commerce. E-commerce not offers this advantage for the business owners most importantly to the consumers.

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4 Critical Skills You Need in e-Commerce

Today, e-commerce has been a tremendous player in the economy. There’s more and more e-commerce businesses that pop up every now and then over the Internet world. However, thinking about e-commerce, what 4 critical skills do you need in e-commerce in order to be successful? We have listed them down below.

  1. Software Development

By far, the most crucial and key element of e-commerce is software development. An e-commerce business will not launch without the fundamentals of software development. Moreover, it will not thrive without the expertise of software developers constantly evolving and innovating the business. There’s a lot of requirements around customer relationship management (CRM), automation, customer service, website design, marketing and a whole lot more.

There’s also a lot of software available to build an e-commerce business. The introduction and normalcy of SAP Hybris, Sitecore and Magento are just a few of the solutions that dominate the market today. The growing enterprise is also in demand of new software that can keep up with their needs and customization requirements. That said, software development has never been more important and critical for an e-commerce endeavor. It is the topmost priority if you want to launch your own e-commerce business.

  1. Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization has been the thing since the last decade. It remains to be a powerful method for e-commerce. A lot of businesses are hiring SEO specialists in order to maximize the potentials their businesses can have over the Internet. E-commerce is a highly competitive industry and the administration of SEO in e-commerce keeps the race tighter and tighter. A lot of work, effort and time are invested into SEO for a particular site in order to keep it relevant and on top of the search results to reach wider audiences and keep loyal customers in.

The skills around SEO is pretty much crucial for e-commerce businesses. Without it, e-commerce businesses will run without adequate fuel to get to potential customers and keep existing ones loyal. SEO is also tricky and there’s no single proven formula that will work. It keeps innovating just as the Internet is constantly evolving. Having an expertise with the SEO world keeps you abreast of the changes and the new techniques to get on top of things always.

  1. Data Analytics

Data explodes day by day. The amount of data being exchanged on a daily basis is more than a billing gigabytes. The data coming from different customers are so huge and there’s a lot of things that e-commerce can take advantage of from this huge amount of customer data. That said, having the data analytics skill is crucial in terms of understanding customers and predicting their choices and decisions. It is absolutely important to tap on the available data in order to maximize reach, increase sales and achieve revenue targets.

The data science movement has been on the rise and now dubbed as the sexiest profession in the world. Someone who is an expert in analytics has a strong advantage on a skills and knowledge perspective over other professions. That is because, data scientists know how to manage data, what data to look at and how to see data to achieve better results and hit goals.

A lot of the organizations today struggle with the data that they have. Most of them don’t know what to do with the available data that they have on hand. Lack of focus in analytics keep them behind the competition as they are not fully equipped in understanding the data that they have and they don’t know what actionable insights to take on. There’s a lot of ways to uncover trends and behavior with the available data that most businesses can take advantage of. The power of data analytics enable businesses to have a firm grasp on the possibilities of what their businesses can achieve.

  1. Artificial Intelligence

For the last two decades now, a lot of people have been talking about Artificial Intelligence as the next big thing. Today, AI is in place in a lot of industries to gain efficiencies in the way people do business and in the way business produce products and services. E-commerce is one of those industries being disrupted by AI. The AI-driven technology in e-commerce has been visible across the board – from the rise of the chatbots to specific e-commerce customer service mechanisms.

Consequently, this rise in the AI application to e-commerce will mean lesser transactional work for the customer service workforce and a more focused and specialized support required from the workforce to support the AI model.

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The 8 Biggest e-Commerce Companies in the World Today

Biggest e-Commerce Companies

E-Commerce is nowadays the new shopping malls or department stores. It has risen to the demands of the many users who prefer to shop online instead of driving down to the city mall or the department store. The convenience of e-Commerce has undoubtedly surpassed its initial purpose. Today, there are billion dollar e-Commerce companies that exist around the world. Let’s take a look at the 8 biggest e-Commerce companies in the world.

  • Groupon

Groupon was launched in 2008 in Chicago. This American e-commerce company completely reshaped the concept of group discount online shopping. Groupon enabled and connected its subscribers to local businesses in 500 cities around the world. Groupon’s premise was simple – its subscribers or the users get a discount while the businesses increase their revenue. It was an amazing win-win formula that has enabled them to weather the rise and fall of world economy and the e-commerce industry over the years.

A little bit of trivia about Groupon: it was said that CBS created a sitcom about two guys working in the company. The show was titled Friend Me. Unfortunately, it was never aired and worse, it was cancelled after a year.

  • Zalando

Zalando is based in Berlin, Germany and is the biggest European e-commerce company in the world. Zalando predominantly sells fashion items, such as shoes and apparel. Their online stores are very popular across the European Union and is the go to shopping store for fashion. Zalando’s icon resembles that of a guitar pick.

In 2010, Zalando decided to move into the non-German speaking market and used the slogan, “Scream with Joy”. However, this did not sit well with the Dutch speaking people and it was then dubbed as the worst advertisements ever recorded in the history of commerce.

  • B2W Companhia Digital

Brazil’s biggest e-commerce company is B2W Companhia Digital. It is also the largest in the whole of South America. This online retail e-commerce company has a market share of 50% across the Latin American region. B2W Companhia Digital was founded in 2006 and has been very competitive in the industry buying and owning a wide number of online shopping websites. Recently, it was announced its plan to enter the United States market.

The following B2W Digital brands Submarino, Americanas.com, SouBarato, Shoptime, Digital Finance, B2W Services, Submarino Finance offer a wide variety of services from catalogs, telesales, internet, TV as well as newsstands distribution channels.

  • Rakuten

This Japanese e-commerce company was founded in 1997 and operates Japan’s largest online bank and credit card payments. In addition, Rakuten also operates Japan’s largest online shopping. There are around 70 businesses under the Rakuten Group and it has a very wide reach in the different spectrums of the market. One of its most popular product is Viber – one of the world’s biggest instant messaging app. It has been officially called Rakuten Viber and has started making its way into the world of football fixing their logo onto the FC Barcelona jerseys.

Finally, Rakuten has teamed up with Walmart in Japan in order to operate the grocery delivery services, where people can purchase the groceries online and Rakuten delivers the groceries at the user’s doorstep.

  • eBay, Inc.

eBay has been the symbol of the 1990s and early 200s Internet age. It is famous for its red-blue-yellow-green logo that has become a beloved logo by the world. eBay has gone through numerous ups and downs in the Internet industry and it has so far weathered the different dot-com bubbles to be one of the most successful companies. It has epitomized online shopping through a consumer-to-consumer e-commerce platform. eBay was founded in 1995 in San Jose California and offered the most distinctive feature in online shopping – the online auction. It also offered the conventional buy-it-now shopping solution alongside its online auction model.

In 2012, an interesting thing happened within eBay when a whole town was sold on it. The township of Buford in Wyoming was sold to two Vietnamese buyers for a total of around 1 million dollars.

  • Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Alibaba is quite synonymous with its founder, Jack Ma. The Chinese businessman’s rose to success was a rags-to-riches story that has become a very popular source of inspiration of many a businesses, entrepreneurs and aspiring CEOs. Jack Ma started creating websites for companies together with his wife and a friend. Their humble business grew exponentially and by 1999, the three were able to build the Alibaba Group, which connected businesses to businesses. Today, Alibaba is the world’s largest online retailer.

  • Jingdong

Jingdong is one of the three major e-commerce company in China and is only rivaled by Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group. Today, this huge Chinese e-commerce company manages a quarter of a billion users. Jingdong was founded in 1998 but only started trading six years later. It is quite known for employing technology in its delivery system – comprising of AI, robots and a huge fleet of drone. Recently, Jingdong has announced that it is planning to design drones that will be capable of delivering products that weigh up to 1 metric ton.

  • Amazon

The immortal and sometimes world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, started Amazon in his small house in San Francisco in 1994. He started the website as a convenient way to buy books. A few years came by and Amazon became a household name as the biggest online shopping website and e-commerce company in the world.

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Types of e-Commerce Businesses: Understanding the Differences

e-Commerce

E-commerce has become the new way of doing business inside the digital world nowadays. It has risen exponentially across the years and has grown into a wide variety of types to fit the needs of every business and/or customer. You can’t just jump right into e-commerce without fully understanding the types that exist today and knowing the differences of each type.

The process of classifying the types of e-commerce businesses is a little bit tricky – not at all daunting but it is essential to understanding the fundamentals behind them and the purpose why it is segregated into different categories. As you go through this article, you will eventually realize that some of the types of e-commerce businesses may look a lot similar however, there are clear and definitive differences that will help you tell which one from the other.

Before we go down and jump right over our list, let’s take a look at the two parameters that govern e-commerce – type of goods sold and the nature of the participants.

The Types of Goods Sold

In the e-commerce world, the following are what the businesses sell:

  • Physical goods, such as gadgets, books, furniture, appliances, fashion wear, home tools, toys, etc.
  • Digital goods, such as e-books, software, videos, music, images, texts, etc.
  • Services, such as insurance, tickets, work, etc.

These classifications of the types of goods sold enables the analyst to get an insight of the business model as well as the financial model of the enterprise. That said, it is extremely important. The logistics also play a big role into this. Physical goods require the physical delivery of goods to the buyer and that whole process involves actual end to end logistics. In most cases, there’s a challenge in delivering the goods due to supply chain specifics.

On the other hand, businesses who sell digital goods don’t encounter any of this problem. Lastly, the businesses who sell services require a lot of focus and commitment to meet all of the many parameters set within the delivery of the services real time. Say for example, an airline ticketing service will require effective management of availability, meal preferences and even refunds.

The Nature of the Participants

There are three common participants in e-commerce. These are the businesses, the administration and then the consumers. In relation to that, the following are the six primary types of e-commerce:

  1. Business-to-Business (B2B) – in this type of e-commerce, the participants are both businesses. The volume and value of this type of e-commerce is huge. One example of this type of e-commerce is the manufacturer of mobile gadget components who source their products to the manufacturer of the mobile devices.
  2. Business-to-Consumer (B2C) – by far this is the most familiar type of e-commerce. This basically construes as ‘the’ e-commerce. The most basic example to this type of e-commerce is Amazon. This type of e-commerce removes the need of a physical store completely out of the picture and instead is replaced by a powerful online retail shopping store that can directly engage and sell to consumers.
  3. Consumer-to-Business (C2B) – at first glance this type of e-commerce looks nonsense. However, this is completely on the rise as more and more shopping sites allow for consumers to provide their needs where businesses can jump in and fight for the bid. This is more common to websites selling services where a consumer would post his or her travel requirements and then different travel businesses would go ahead and pitch their offers.
  4. Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) – this type of e-commerce is also very familiar and popular. Like B2C, the Consumer-to-Consumer type of e-commerce brings consumers to other consumers who sell closely together. One very perfect example of this is eBay.com. This platform has enabled a lot of consumers online who sell goods to reach a wide and more engaging and interested consumer base.
  5. Business-to-Administration (B2A) – what administration means is public, or simple term, the administration of government entities. That said, this type of e-commerce allows for businesses to reach the wider and high potential administration or government markets. There are a lot of electronic services that the public or the government needs and the B2A model is huge advantage for businesses and administration alike.

Consumer-to-Administration (C2A) – like the B2A, the Consumer-to-Administration brings people who sells products or services closer to the administration or government markets.

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Understanding e-Commerce Shopping Cart Software

e-Commerce Shopping Cart

Part of the topmost priority and requirement when selling online and setting up your own online store is using an e-commerce shopping cart software. This priority resides at the top of the list and is critical in making your online store an effective and successful entrepreneurship endeavor.

You might wonder – what is an e-commerce shopping cart software?

The simplest definition of an e-commerce shopping cart software is it facilitates the purchase of a product or service within your online retail store. This software accepts customer’s payments as well as organizes the distribution of all these information to the merchant, the payment processor as well as any other parties involved.

Why are shopping carts so important?

The hugest reason why e-commerce shopping cart software is important is because it gives you the ability to bridge the gap between shopping and buying. It is extremely important to have the best e-commerce shipping cart software integrated into your website.

Most newcomers in the market or in the industry of retail shopping are unfamiliar with the concept and idea of the shopping cart. In a huge number of cases, most people have shopped and bought a product or service online at one point in their lives. What they don’t realize is the need and the capability of a shopping cart besides taking them to the checkout page. Typically, a shopping cart has 3 common aspects, which are the following:

  1. A shopping cart stores product information
  2. A shopping cart is a like a gateway for catalog, order as well as customer engagement
  3. A shopping cart renders categories, site information and data for user display

You can also take a look at shopping cart from a different angle – it is basically like the tangible ones you can use inside a grocery or a supermarket. Only it wears so many hats than what you normally see in reality. It serves as the shelves, clearance sign, the building, cash register and even the credit card machine that is capable of relaying information from the store to the bank.

How exactly can you select e-commerce shopping cart software from the sea of available software out in the market today?

If you are seriously considering to integrate an e-commerce shopping cart software into your online store (definitely, by now you shouldn’t have to think twice!), you will need to the two basic types of e-commerce shopping cart software available nowadays:

  1. Hosted shopping carts – this type of e-commerce shopping cart software is hosted by a third party firm or entity. The third party entity is responsible for hosting the solution at the same time owning the responsibility of maintenance, server backups as well as upgrades. What makes this a good choice is because it is absolutely free. It won’t cost you anything in order to have a fully functional shopping cart maintained by the third party entity. The only drawback to this is that this type of hosted shopping cart solution will redirect your customers to another domain or website to perform the payment processing.
  2. Licensed shopping carts – this type of e-commerce shopping cart software allows more flexibility and freedom to online store and/or business owners. You will be given the capability to build your own type of cart. In addition, you will be given the ability to customize it according to your needs. The flexibility is so high that it can accommodate changing functionality and features. You can even add other third-party tools if necessary. However, you will need to keep in mind that this type of e-commerce shopping cart software solution have high upfront costs and in most cases will require more hands-on and practical expertise around the solution to enable you to troubleshoot issues as well as technical support.

Ultimately, the most recommended is the hosted shopping carts if you are a beginner. It is free and won’t require any high technical expertise from your end. As you go down the line and move forward with your business and its growth, it will make much more sense using the licensed shopping carts to accommodate the customization needs of your business. That being said, it is extremely important to evaluate your online business’ need before making a decision on what type of e-commerce shopping cart software solution to use in your online business.

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The 4 Advantages of Using e-Commerce Website Integration with Multiple Gateways

e-Commerce Website Integration

If you are an entrepreneur who is setting up your own online shopping site, chances are you are following a checklist of technical requirements that would look like this:

  • e-commerce software
  • hosting
  • security
  • data backup
  • shipping software
  • payment gateway

There’s a ton of information available online that talks about choosing the right payment way to use in an online shopping site. Unfortunately, most of these online resources and content don’t provide enough information about why you will need to use more than one payment gateway.

There is a prevailing public opinion about a single payment gateway rule – that this is already enough. However, if you are going to look at the statistics, e-commerce is rising and it doesn’t plan on stopping at any visible horizon. Come to think of it, in 2016 alone e-commerce reached $1.9 trillion in revenue and that’s expected to double across 2020, which will now be around $4 trillion worth of revenue. The numbers don’t add up with the public opinion of using a single payment gateway. The growth means that there will be new and more innovative ways to make money online. That said, it is necessary for e-commerce website integration with multiple gateways.

It’s time to trash the garbage idea of most public merchants and focus your energy in learning and understanding the reasons why you should be considering the need for your e-commerce website integration with multiple gateways. Let me run down the most compelling reasons below.

  1. Globalization

The need to work with multiple gateways is pretty much evident as you expand your business. This is truest in the case of expanding your business internationally as you take advantage of the growing adoption of globalization. With that being said, selling your products or services globally requires you to work with currencies, foreign banks, and managing different languages. Since payment gateways vary by region and currencies accepted, you will need to ask the question does your single payment gateway method able to accommodate the payment methods and currencies in the countries of your target markets?

  1. Great Economics

Now, say you don’t plan on expanding internationally because you are pretty much confident with the revenue you are earning domestically, having two or more payment gateways will allow you to potentially increase your conversion rates. It’s not the lone and big time reason why should do it but basically, having multiple payment gateways simply make sense on a business perspective.

Now, one example and terribly not a great example but let’s lay down the facts to make it more relatable. Say you have Paypal as your payment gateway for a long time and you believed it is enough. However, if you are closely paying attention, Paypal has stopped accepting all American Express (AMEX) cards without any advice on when that will resume. That may not have happened in general but it did happen to several Paypal accounts. That single situation has rippling impacts to your online store. Having another payment gateway equips you with nuances that you come across once in a while.

  1. Overflow, Back Up and Fail Safe

Back up is a basic. It is a fundamental concept you should put in place your business. It should not be overlooked at any given point in time. It is simply a sound business practice. That being said, having multiple payment gateway allow you to securely vault a copy of your customer’s debit and credit card information. It is also provides a fail over while your other payment gateway is under duress, down or underperforming. Moreover, having multiple gateways allow you to handle any overflow in cases of sales spikes triggered by growth or season.

  1. Single Method that Performs Both Payment Gateway AND Merchant Account

The payment industry has evolved over the years and now there are providers who offer a single method or system that accommodates payment gateway and merchant account services. This is a leap from traditional gateway only providers. Having combined services in one provider means simpler and fewer set up as well as monthly fees. The per-transaction fee may be a little bit higher but you can always leverage on the effort and recurring cost advantages.

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Create Promotions Using Magento’s e-Commerce Pricing Rules

e-Commerce Pricing

An essential part of any e-commerce business is effective online store management – no brainer! If you are launching an e-commerce business or already own one, effective online store management is a huge priority you can’t afford to overlook. This big fundamental creates a huge difference between putting up an e-commerce website versus managing an e-commerce business. There’s a wide difference and you should know this is a basic.

Whether you are new to effective online store management or not, we have put together a practical tips guide to help you navigate the world of special promotions and shopping cart pricing rules to help you correctly use them. We are going to be talking within Magento landscape and its helpful platform with e-commerce flexible coupons pricing rules, which is a huge help to create promotions.

You will need to keep in mind that you can set special actions and conditions to each promotional rule. Moreover, that rule will only be applied when those parameters are met.

The tab responsible for the whole application of the rule is the Conditions tab and the tab responsible for the rules to be applied for the products in the cart is the Actions tab. Say for example, a cart with subtotal of over 100 or with a product X would be governed within the Conditions tab while the Actions tab applies the rules on the product or the subtotal in the cart.

Since we’re talking within Magento landscape, we want to keep your mind darted straight to the most popular shopping cart conditions or pricing rules combinations – the Cheapest and the Most Expensive. Take note, the Special Promotions extension will need to be installed in order for you to work on them.

The Cheapest

This rule combination is probably one of the most popular e-commerce flexible coupons that provides customers a discount on the product with the cheapest price in the shopping cart. Take this for example:

  • If there are 2 products in the shopping cart each priced at $10 and $20 and we apply a 50% discount at the Actions tab. What the customer will get is a $5 discount.

Now, let’s dig a little bit deeper into this:

To put this into effect, we’ll need to define the conditions in order for the rule to be applied. Picture this: we will set the conditions to the following (these are actual conditions syntax within Magento):

  1. If ALL of these conditions are TRUE
  2. Subtotal equals or greater than 500

How this works will be that the rule will only apply when the cart subtotals 500 or more.

Now, setting the Actions tab into action, we will need to specify what particular products to apply the rule for and the discounts.

  1. Select The Cheapest in the Apply dropdown option
  2. Set Discount Amount to 50
  3. Set Maximum Qty Discount is Applied To to 1
  4. Set Discount Qty Step (Buy X) to 1

How this works is that a 50% discount will be applied to the product with the lowest price in the cart. Moreover, the pricing rules can also be applied to bundle products as well as configurable products. If we decide to apply the rules to bundle items, we will need to give the admin the ability to choose how to apply the discounts in the bundle products – whether as a set of individual items or as a single product.

Now, if you play around and add products into the cart that will total to 899.98, then the condition, which is a subtotal that is equal or greater than 500, is fulfilled.

The Most Expensive

An opposite strategy to the most common and popular e-commerce flexible coupon is using the Most Expensive action for more advanced promotion. Logically, this action applies the discount on the most expensive item in the cart, as detailed and specified in the settings.

To make this work, you will need to configure it in the Conditions tab and ensure the following are selected:

  1. If ALL of these conditions are TRUE
  2. Total quantity equals or greater than 1 for a subselection of items in cart matching ALL of these conditions
  3. Category is 26

What this means is that the customer will need to add at least 1 product to the cart from the Category 26 (say these are for Mobile Gadgets) in order for the rule to apply.

At the Actions tab, we will then need to set the discount amount at say, 10% and then specify what products from the Category we specified (Mobile Gadgets) the discounts will be applied to

  1. Select The Most Expensive in the Apply dropdown option
  2. Set Discount Amount to 10
  3. Set Maximum Qty Discount is Applied To to 1
  4. Set Discount Qty Step (Buy X) to 1

We hope this will help you out create your promotions with Magento and build a better strategy for effective online store management.

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