What is Ecommerce? Growth, Trends & Future
Commerce is the activity of buying and selling of goods and services, especially on a large scale. Simply, a component of business which includes all activities and functions involved in transferring goods from producers to consumers.
Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce) as defined by The U.S department of Commerce is the “sales of goods and services where the buyer places an order, or the price and terms of the sale are negotiated over an Internet, mobile device (M-commerce), extranet, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) network, electronic mail, or other comparable online system. Payment may or may not be made online. “
These business transactions occur either as business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-consumer or consumer-to-business basis.
Growth of Ecommerce
Room served internet has made an explosive change in the buying perspective. People tend to seek and buy items of all kinds electronically.
This tremendous growth is seen in E-commerce worldwide. There is a massive increase in electronic search and sales.
Physical retailers have entered new markets through E-commerce and those already present online have expanded to new geographies and horizons.
Various statistics in analyzing the growth of e-commerce show that a large number of people are buying items online via desktop, mobile, tablet or other online devices.
This amounts to more than 1 billion online buyers and is projected to continuously grow.
Estimated Quarterly U.S. Retail E-commerce Sales as a Percent of Total Quarterly Retail Sales:
1st Quarter 2006 – 3rd Quarter 2016
The clear reality that e-commerce is on the rise is evident in the graph for the 10yr period 2006-2016 taken from U.S Census Bureau News (U.S Department of Commerce).
The complete report is available at U.S Census- Quarterly Retail E-Commerce Sales.
Impact on Business and Globalisation
E-commerce has offered substantial benefits in the form of greater participation in the international value chain, increasing market access and reach, and improving internal and market efficiency as well as very low transaction costs.
Entrepreneurs and enterprises have discovered new business opportunities through Ecommerce.
Enterprise and entrepreneur surveys suggest a great impact on international trade; enterprise surveys may offer the greatest potential for improving the availability of more reliable estimates of cross-border E-Commerce.
Resultantly, growth estimates for E-commerce sales worldwide have already touched the apex and still growing. This quantum of data, transactions and money involve substantial statistics and analysis. In fact, research, data and analysis are three words most relevant to E-Commerce.
Measuring E-commerce is a great challenge. The global E-Commerce market is evolving. Comprehensive statistics on the value of domestic and international E-Commerce is not readily available, but all available information suggests that this market has expanded significantly in the past and still growing with a great speed.
Although largely dominated by developed countries, the developing countries are following fast.
E-commerce at large is working at a local level than becoming world over. Even in developed countries, the international dimensions of E-Commerce sales are predominantly domestic in nature.
Although the Internet should reduce barriers to international trade, still various factors constrain cross-border E commerce.
Unreliable and lengthy transit times, complex and ambiguous return processes, customs delays, lack of transparency on delivery and pricing, and limited ability to alter delivery times and locations are just few of the examples.
Internet access, payment systems for online purchases and delivery systems are the main factors to assess E Commerce in a country. The extent of valid infrastructure for all three, available in any country, dictates the extent of E Commerce presence in that very country.
New Trends in E-Commerce
The below graph shows the projected growth rate of online sales through the year 2015-2020. This prospect is based on the recent past E sales carried out by retailers worldwide.
Now, many consumers want retailers to provide an environment where shopping is an event experience. So that it translates into interactive, highly engaging online and real-world retail environments.
The provision of distinct and tangible shopping experiences, online and real-world, is becoming a key means to enhance and distinguish a brand’s value in the market.
People also want to showcase their participation in activities and experiences on social media. On the other hand, retailers try to align not only their brands but also the shopping experience itself to this consumer desire.
This integrates social media with in-store retail, with the aim of creating socially driven shopping experiences.
There has also been a remarkable focus given by stock markets to E-Commerce. The money has flooded the E-Commerce market. This prospect has given rise to enhanced attention by all stakeholders in an online business.
Social & Technological Trends
Mobile commerce (M-commerce) growth is an exciting trend to watch in terms of e-commerce statistics, considering the popularity and widespread use of smartphones and growing usage of tablets. This type of e-commerce includes mobile media and content, retail services, travel purchases and various other services.
Digital payments are closely connected to E Commerce. Alternative payment methods such as digital wallets or online payment providers have seen increased adoption rates and rapid growth in the past few years.
Digital payments are not only convenient for the mobile shopping experience but also for the increasingly available paid digital content like streaming music, online video subscriptions and apps.
Social commerce is a subset of electronic commerce that involves social media and online media that support social interaction and assist to online buying and selling of products and services.
Social media may still only own a small portion of total sales, but its impact is becoming impossible to ignore. In social commerce, the customer enters the e-store, makes comparisons, poses questions, and this communication helps determine their selection of products or services.
Social networking services further allows customers to share their experience with their friends, receive their recommendations, reviews, advices and communication.
Future of E-commerce Market
The number of new entrants in the sphere of e-commerce users is escalating daily and with growth rate reaching its zenith it can be presumed that in years to come, customary retailers will feel the need to switch to online business.
Insights into increasing demand for broadband services, rising standards of living, availability of wider product ranges, reduced prices and busy lifestyles reveal this fact more prominently thereby giving way to online deals on gift vouchers.
Over the last decade, the Internet has changed the way people buy and sell goods and services. Online retail or E-Commerce is transforming the shopping experience of customers. The sector has seen unprecedented growth especially in the last two years (in the context of the whole world).
The adoption of technology is enabling the E-commerce sector to be more reachable and efficient. Devices like smartphones, tablets and technologies like 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi and high-speed broadband is helping to increase the number of online customers.
Banks and other players in E-Commerce ecosystem are providing a secured online platform to pay effortlessly via payments gateways.
To provide customers an outstanding shopping experience and outrun competition, large E-Commerce players are focusing on building the last mile delivery network or hyper-local delivery networks.
Multiple offline/online retailers are partnering with local delivery services to help them deliver their goods at required destinations quickly. This will change the complete outlook of E-Commerce in a very near future.
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