Ecommerce is growing to become truly phenomenal in today's business world; some believe it already has peaked! However, what ecommerce is today is merely a sapling with a huge scope of growing into a mighty tree one day. Since the advent of ecommerce, buying, selling and the entire architecture of business have changed. Today for a business to survive, an online entity is mandatory. With giants like Flipkart and Amazon in the game, shops have no choice but to go online!
Digitization has made the field intensely tough to thrive in. A business having a physical shop is no longer good enough. The real audience is online! 2018 is an era of digital boom. Smartphones have taken over the charts and toppled them! The number of people actively using a mobile is far higher than those with a computer - such as the impact of digitization. One smartphone facilitates so many activities and provides countless features to utilize; one of those is ecommerce through phones - MCommerce; which is essentially the same as the former but through a mobile.
Take a popular example, Amazon. Though it started off inside a garage, today it has grown to become one of the biggest online businesses! Amazon has a grip over the worldwide market and provides everything from books to clothing to appliances - all on one big online portal. This is the ideal goal every business strives to achieve. The business equilibrium is tipping towards ecommerce now; small scale businesses like apparel outlets to big giants, everyone is rushing to occupy the ecommerce space.
Ecommerce - A Blessing for Businesses or A Threat in Disguise?
Innovation always comes at a price; predominantly, it is the extinction of a trend. In this scenario, traditional businesses are losing their place and value at a scary rate. On one hand, ecommerce facilitates cost-efficient marketing - there's no need for a physical shop, products can be stored at affordable inventory spaces and there's no underlying expense. The only standard investment will be for a website, which is crucial for an ecommerce business. However, this doesn't imply raining profits! Traditional businesses which are mostly vertically integrated have to face ridiculous competition to stay afloat; this means more investing into modern technology and further such capabilities.
An amazing example of this behavior is Amazon. Prior to its advent, several sellers utilized physical marketing strategies to sell books and all these businesses managed to thrive; however, once Amazon entered, the market was taken by storm and all these book dealers had to find a way to market online! Youth today prefer buying products online; why waste time going outside, when your favorite jeans are a click away? Traditional businesses thrive on physical shopping and real-time, offline sales. However, with more than half of the world shopping on amazon.com and flipkart.com, these shops can't last much longer!
Ecommerce is the perfect solution for start-ups. Low investment, and non-guaranteed returns, but tremendous experience. Most start-ups begin with minimal investments; ecommerce provides the perfect platform to capitalize on! Platforms like Shopify, Magento, WordPress etc., need very nominal investments; but the returns generated are immense. Normal shops, on the other hand, face a lot of starting expense, leave along mid-way and concluding expenses. Renting a shop, buying products from wholesalers, advertising etc., take a huge bite from your investments. If the year today was 1990, this strategy would have worked wonders! Back in the day, people would line up to buy branded products. Those days are gone now and today, you can shop effortlessly from any corner of the world. Though a toll has been paid for this luxury, ecommerce has more so than less, delivered convenience.
A boon or bane, that depends on which side of the line you're on - the traditional business side or the evolving start-up side. From one perspective it can be said that ecommerce is benefiting traditional businesses as well. Since its advent, several shops have a website and a physical entity, both running simultaneously, possibly doubling the profit! Ecommerce is a tool which needs proper utilization; the outcome of which decides if it's a boon or bane!
Yield of the Ecommerce Tree
The seed of ecommerce sown years ago, with the thought of selling products online, has today bloomed and branched into a massive tree with enough fruits for a hundred Newton’s! Society is evolving rapidly; technology is changing by the minute and businesses have to catch up. Ecommerce serves as the rocket to carry businesses to astronomical levels.
Here are the various impacts ecommerce has made and continues to make:
Vertical Integration Is Fading
Long years have seen vertical integration as one of the best marketing strategies and it has been considered as a top-notch practice for businesses, small and big. This concept is simple - within your company, house everything you need; be it advertising, or designs, or legal issues, no outsourcing. Sounds inefficient? It is! Though it seems like a terrific and wholesome idea on the outset, having to pay so many employees is a costly move. There will always be employees who don't need to be paid on a regular basis, either due to the absence of work for said people, or client irregularities. This is what makes outsourcing a convenient and a cost-efficient process. The ideal way of dealing with this would be to develop whatever you can, and outsource the rest of it to freelancers or other companies! The fee charged will be substantially lesser than what you'd be paying a daily employee.
Disproved Economics Law "DECREASING RETURNS TO SCALE"
Returns to scale is a law that essentially means to say, returns are proportional to inputs; i.e. by increasing capital, resources etc., the ultimate revenue you make will also increase proportionally. However physical businesses don't always follow this. For example, if you have an apparel outlet, increasing the number of clothes you have doesn't necessarily mean people will buy everything, or sales will increase phenomenally. On the contrary, ecommerce resolves the dispute of this law's integrity in today's world. With an online business, you need only spend on establishing a top-notch website and advertising. There is no concept of increasing investments in an aim to profit. E-businesses are incredibly sustainable and flexible. The prospects for profit are sky-high even with basic investment.
Reaching the Audience
The audience reach an ecommerce company can get is unbelievably huge. Getting your brand known to the public is no easy task. Campaigns, ads and what not; a few years back, starting a business was difficult, and advertising it, more so! Ecommerce has eliminated the need for this struggle! With the internet by your side, connecting with an audience has become times easier. Social media advertising through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, e-mail marketing and many such techniques exist solely to convey your business to the world - cost-effectively and in an instant!
Little to No Initial Capital
Establishing a business needed a lot of money, a few decades ago. From renting a place to buying accessories, the end bill was immense. Ecommerce however, has eliminated all that hassle and allowed individuals to start a venture from a single room! Businesses like Amazon and Flipkart started in similar fashion. The cost needed for this is absolutely nominal. Additionally, selling products online means you save on inventory space. Typically, to run a business you have to rent a separate warehouse for storing surplus products. This creates two problems - firstly, you have to pay for storage space, secondly, if the surplus products aren't bought, ultimately both the product investments and storage space investments go waste! Selling products online removes this hassle and allows you to add products as and when needed.
No Middlemen Are Involved
Ecommerce has completely eliminated middlemen from the picture. Gone are the days when you had to give bribes to vendors and run around town to get your product out there! Ecommerce platforms like Magento, WooCommerce, and Shopify have made connecting with customers a simple one-on-one process. Removal of middlemen also means that owners get better profits and can price their services without the fear of any underlying middlemen expense.
Round-The-Clock Business Hours
The world is divided by time-zones; you can't live in America and sell something in India physically! Similarly, running a shop 24x7 isn't possible. However, once you open an online store, it'll run until you wish otherwise! This serves as a huge benefit for the customers as well; people from overseas can shop irrespective of the time! This hugely increases the money you generate and subsequently aids in indirect advertising too.
The era today has changed vastly; people don't go out to shop anymore, not with everything being a click away! Ecommerce has made things clear, it is here to stay. Whether or not people utilize it is up to them. With strategic investing and top-notch advertising, any small-scale business can grow into a huge enterprise in no time!
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