What You Need To Know About Ecommerce
The fact that eCommerce is growing is not news, but it just keeps on growing with no end in sight. Websites offering eCommerce will result in almost $4.5 Trillion Dollars in sales or 14% of total retail sales this year and by 2023 could reach over 22% total retail sales. And mobile sales using smart phones of all kinds will account for well over 70% of the buying activity. Clearly this is a great time to start selling on an eCommerce website.
There are many types and kinds of eCommerce. Some you may not even be aware of. However if you want to start a small to medium eCommerce business on one of the popular eCommerce websites you are probably thinking about selling goods to everyday consumers. People like me, and come to think of it everybody is an everyday consumer in one way or another and can buy things online using eCommerce.
The Main Types Of Ecommerce
There are types of eCommerce and there are different kinds of eCommerce websites. We’ll talk about the websites in just a bit, but first, you may ask, “What types of eCommerce do we see on the internet?” Well here we are going to define Four Types of eCommerce. These can be broken down into many more types, and categories, but here we’ll outline the Four main types.
1. Business-to-Business (B2B)
Just as you may think, the business-to-business type of eCommerce involves one business selling a product or service to another business. Really all of these types are pretty easy to figure out. While most people are not interested or have a use for what one business sells to another business, let’s start with this type.
A good example of B2B is that of a software company selling its product to be used to operate another business. Say you are in business as an architect and you want to make and save building designs on a computer. You buy software from a software business to use in your design business. The software can be very expensive and a consumer would probably not be interested. And the website of the maker of the software can be used to demo the software and take orders, provide support etc.
2. Business-to-Consumer (B2C)
The business-to-consumer eCommerce type involves a consumer oriented business selling products or services to – you guessed it – consumers. A transaction may take place online, or where the consumer is located, but the online presence of the business is where it all starts. Many of us use business-to-business eCommerce a lot, sometimes every day! We buy things like clothes and jewelry, household goods, electronics and of course books. Even cars can be sold online. There are big names in B2C like Walmart, Amazon, Alibaba, Target, Ford and Kroger. These are just a few “Big Ones” out there and there are thousands of smaller ones too. Even restaurants can sell business-to-consumer – who hasn’t ordered a pizza on a website?
3. Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C)
This type of eCommerce also has many outlets that allow one consumer to sell to another consumer online. What is sold includes things someone makes, things one has laying around, maybe even a used car or truck.
This type of eCommerce can be conducted on many websites such as Etsy, eBay, Poshmark and Facebook. Or a consumer may use a local news paper website classified section, even one’s own personal website. The issue of exposure comes up so many choose a larger, more visible and visited website to get things sold faster.
4. Consumer-to-Business (C2B)
This fourth type of eCommerce is consumer-to-business selling and may be less common, however it is important to those who use it, both to the consumer doing the selling and the business needing what is being sold.
Consumer-to-Business eCommerce may be selling a service such as office cleaning. Perhaps the consumer is a freelance graphic designer, copywriter, or someone who does reviews and product testing. Generally speaking the consumer receiving payment is being paid as an individual by a business and usually for a limited amount of time (not full time employment).
The Many Different Kinds of Ecommerce Websites
All of the four main Types of eCommerce need a Website to get things done. A website is used to connect with someone online to begin and complete a business transaction. Here are four different kinds of websites offering online eCommerce for consumers and businesses.
1. Single Brand Websites
Single brand does not necessarily mean single product. What it does mean is a website that sells products or services of a single person or a single business. This would mean eBay, Etsy, Facebook or other websites like these are Not single brand websites. Many individuals and businesses start with this kind of website. It may begin as a small website offering just a few things for purchase. Today I visited a website selling a company’s own product in several different models. The business has been selling these products for several years and appears to be successful. What is it? The product being sold may be described as a toy for grown-ups or older kids. It is simple, easy to use and well made. Believe it or not it is a Bug killer that shoots ordinary table salt at bugs to a distance of about 3 feet. It’s name is Bug-A-Salt and you can look it up online. Perhaps ‘Salt-A-Bug’ might be a better name.
2. Online Retail Websites
The online retailing website is very common. Some of these websites may be quite large and generate a great deal of business. Others may be more modest. Online retail websites can and usually do offer many items, sometimes thousands.
Home improvement stores, sporting goods stores, car parts stores are represented with eCommerce websites. The retailer does not make the items for sale but they buy wholesale, usually in large quantities, and sell online at a profit. Most of time a buyer can use a credit card and have the item(s) shipped directly to a home or business.
3. Marketplace Websites
What comes to mind when you think of a Marketplace? Rows and rows of individual stalls selling any and all kinds of goods. Marketplaces in a physical sense can be found just about everywhere on the planet.
A Marketplace Website is a kind of website where individual people and businesses can list their products and/or services for sale. Many popular ones you may have heard of like: Poshmark, Etsy, Ebay and Amazon. Less popular and a bit less known are Bonanza, Mercari and eCRATER. Believe it or not there is even a website called VATICAN.COM – More on that in another article.
Generally, to sell on these kinds of eCommerce websites you sign up for an account, set up you business and personal information, a method of payment to you once sales are made and some shipping information. That’s just the basics. From there the Marketplace Website does most everything else like hosting, providing pages for you to list, describe and price your products. Also a way of uploading photos each item for sale that you provide.
The exact way each varies and the ‘rules’ and agreements you must accept do as well. Everyone who has sold or is selling on these websites usually has a ‘love or hate relationship’ with the way each one works.
Some Marketplace websites sell just about anything, others may specialize in an area such as shoes, art, sporting goods – you get the picture. Based on what you have to sell you must decide which Marketplace website works best for you.
4. Affiliate Websites
You may never have heard of this kind of eCommerce website but an Affiliate website is rather a simple concept. This kind of website allows you to “sell” or recommend products or services to those who visit and when a sale is made you get paid a commission, either a percentage of the sale or a flat fee.
Affiliate websites are really very common. They are a passive way to earn money on the internet. Many people recommend products on their blog by writing an article relating to a product or service and when a person buys through the blog the blogger gets paid.
No additional work or expense is needed. You don’t need inventory or to ship anything, the business you have an affiliate account with does all this. You just get paid when a sale is made through a link on your blog or own website. Great if you have a website with a large following you want to turn into some cash.
Other types and kinds of Ecommerce website are out there, however they are not so common. There’s also B2G (Business-to-Government), but it is often lumped in with B2B. And D2C (Direct-to-Consumer) which is growing in popularity. With Direct-to-Consumer a manufacture will have a website allowing a consumer to order direct, thus cutting out the middleman. This can result in savings for the consumer and increased profit for the company.