E-commerce, translated into Italian as electronic commerce , is the sale of goods or services via an online platform. More generally, with the word e-commerce we can mean the set of commercial transactions that take place online, or on the internet.
Types of e-commerce sales
When we talk about e-commerce, it is possible to distinguish four types of online sales depending on who makes their products or services available and who instead makes the purchase.
B2C . “B” stands for business, ie the company that, in this case, sells to C , the consumer, or the customer. This is the most common scenario through which the company sells to its customers over the internet.
B2B . Business that sells to another business. It refers, for example, to companies that supply other companies with goods or services.
C2C . Consumer to Consumer, i.e. customer to customer. For example, the possibility of being able to sell personal (eg second-hand) products to someone through an online platform.
C2B . Consumer who sells to business. This can be, for example, the case of authors who sell their books to large companies such as Amazon and earn while leaving a percentage to the platform that acts as an intermediary.
E-commerce platforms: what are they?
We talked about e-commerce as an online sales opportunity, without the need for a physical store. Now let’s find out where exactly these internet transactions can be processed. Here are some types of e-commerce that we can classify:
Online shop . The merchant creates a personal website that has the function of representing his shop in an online format. Here it sells its products or services through what is called an e-commerce solution.
Online platform. Many merchants rely on large platforms that allow multiple companies to sell their products and offer a space where the act of sale takes place between seller and customer.
Social media. Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest are sharing platforms that can turn into an e-commerce channel. Many companies use social media to share their inventory and direct customers, via links in the description, to the actual purchase on the site.
The impact of e-commerce in companies
The ability to sell online has had a very rapid and positive impact on large companies. This type of commerce has simplified the payment experience and has had a clear impact on the habits of the consumer, who has an increasingly advantage in terms of purchases. Even if in a more gradual way, even the small businesses that have chosen and choose every day to move, or join their business, to the online can count many benefits.
Why is it worthwhile to create an e-commerce site today?
From the merchant’s point of view, the advantages of opening an e-commerce site are primarily in economic terms. We have collected the main ones here:
Lower costs. The creation of an e-commerce has a much lower cost as it cuts the costs for the management of a store (such as rent and employees).
Sale 24/7 . Compared to the store, e-commerce allows your customers to buy at any time, thus expanding your earnings and your sales possibilities.
More customers. Looking out into the world of the internet means being more exposed and therefore having a greater number of customers, usually limited, however, by the territorial border.
Personalized experience. Through the e-commerce site it is possible to customize the consumer’s sales experience, thanks to the use of the keywords that users search for that product, to the messages that you can add during the exploration phase, to the display of similar products during a search and finally, to offers targeted to the user. Starting from the reduction of management costs, which clearly affect the total profit of your business, creating an e-commerce site brings great benefits in terms of sales and simplification of work. However, those who decide to open an e-commerce should also consider and evaluate what may be the limitations of a virtual store. Here, for example, is what you should keep in mind:
Limited interaction with customers . Unlike the physical point where it is possible to maintain an intense social interaction (which often also influences the final purchase decision of the customer), in the e-commerce site there is no direct and interactive exchange between seller and buyer.
You cannot try the products. Those who buy clothes or cosmetics, for example, do not have the opportunity to test or try before buying. However, this has allowed those who manage an e-commerce to implement new features, such as videos, simulations and suggestions in the case of previous purchases or particular characteristics of that product.
Any site problems . Even if the technology is mathematical, it can happen that a poor connection or a bug in your site can hinder the possible purchase of the user on our page.
Creating an e-commerce site: 4 features not to be underestimated.
There are two types of business that decide to open an e-commerce site: those who already own one or more physical stores and decide to open in parallel also on the internet or those who decide to start from scratch and launch directly into the online business. To open an e-commerce site, therefore, it is necessary to have or open a VAT number and consult an accountant for the necessary paperwork. The next step is to rely on developers to build the site. At this stage, particular attention must be paid to some features that your online platform must have to facilitate the shopping experience for the user and keep up with competitors.
Ease of use and navigation . The simpler and faster the attraction, conviction and purchase phase, the higher the expectations of securing a sale. In fact, it is important that the navigation between the pages of your e-commerce site is smooth and intuitive. This includes choosing the product and paying at the checkout.
Smartphone version. By now the smartphone is a tool of coexistence that from the simple communication functionality, has become a tool that even allows a payment. It is therefore clear that it is necessary to take into account the mobile version of your site, since there are many users who buy directly from their mobile phone. Small spaces, the content and functionality of your site must be smooth even from the mobile format.
Discount codes and promotions. One of the advantages of online shopping is to buy the products at a lower price than those on the physical market. Very often, offering the possibility of applying a discount code and personalizing it for a range of users, facilitates customer loyalty, who will then be convinced of the purchase.
Content from real users. Don’t forget to show a product rating from users who have purchased in the past on your site. This is of crucial importance for new users who want to purchase the same product. Reviews, photos and descriptions from other people guarantee trust and real proof of what they are about to buy.
Is creating an e-commerce site really safe?
Although the internet is the most widespread source of commerce and information, the concept of security in relation to the online world remains an always open question, especially when it comes to payments, credit card data and personal information (such as the simple address of shipment).
The answer is yes, ecommerce sites are safe.
Precisely because millions of people are trafficked every day in internet purchases, the security protocols of e-commerce sites have extremely high standards. regular PCI scans, SSL certification, Dos / Ddos attack protection and compliant hosting solutions. In short, e-commerce stores are able to offer buyers a 100% safe environment.
Discover the SumUp Online Shop product
SumUp also offers an online solution to customers who want to enter the world of e-commerce and online shopping. With our first Start Online Shop feature, you can turn the SumUp app into a real shop.
My Products is the feature that you can activate directly from your SumUp app and that allows you to add, edit and customize the products of your business (photo, name, product description, etc.). With the Online Start Shop feature you can start right from the Products section and turn it into a small e-commerce, without having to build your own website.
Once you have created your online store from the app, you will simply have to copy and share the link where and how you prefer: on your social profiles or on any instant messaging platform. To learn more, please click here.