What is ecommerce
Created September 30, 2022
Updated August 9, 2023
11 min read

What is E-Commerce?

Many traders are increasingly turning to the internet to sell their products. E-commerce is a rapidly growing online business. 

Selling online is attracting more and more people and becoming almost indispensable for all businesses doing commerce. 

In this article, we’ll show you everything there is to know about e-commerce.

So What is E-commerce?

In simple terms, e-commerce represents the various commercial transactions that take place on the Internet. 

The purchase is made through different media such as computers, smartphones, tablets, consoles, televisions, etc.

What are the Different Forms of E-Commerce

E-commerce is very broad and includes several different things, such as:

  • B2C ( Business-to-Consumer) e-commerce : This is the best known form. Here the company sells its products or services directly to end consumers. 
  • B2B (Business-to-Business) e-commerce : In this model, sales are made between two companies. This is the case of a manufacturer who supplies his products to a wholesaler or reseller.
  • C2C (Consumer-to-Consumer) e-commerce : Here, it is the connection between two consumers. This pattern can be observed on some sites like eBay or Amazon.
  • C2B (Consumer-to-Business) e-commerce : In this form, consumers offer their products or services to businesses. 

These four models are the most common and best known. However, there are several other types such as:

  • G2C (Government-to-Consumer) and C2G (Consumer-to-Government) : Exchanges between the government and individuals
  • B2E (Business-to-Employee): Exchanges between a company and its employees.
  • And others…

What are the Advantages of E-Commerce?

If e-commerce is booming, it is because it has many advantages. One of the main advantages of e-commerce is its ability to reach a much wider customer base than traditional stores. 

Here are some of its benefits

  • Increase in customers: With your online store, you are visible from anywhere in the world. So you can sell your products all over the world. With this online presence, businesses can easily acquire customers from all over the world. 
  • Accessible at any time: unlike physical stores, which have opening hours and are not accessible 24 hours a day, the online store has no opening hours. The website remains open and accessible to the public throughout the day and the customer can therefore shop at any time.
  • Reduced operating costs: being able to do without a physical store reduces costs compared to the operation of a traditional business. And if e-commerce works by putting suppliers in contact with buyers, there won’t even be any production costs (case of dropshipping)
  • More profit: the reduction in costs and the increase in the number of customers make it possible to achieve a greater margin than with a traditional business, even at lower prices. We sell more and we make more money.
  • Scalability: with e-commerce, you can sell to one or a thousand people at the same time unlike a physical store where you have a limit to the number of customers you can serve at a time. With e-commerce, your only limit is your product inventory.

Here are some benefits of e-commerce. However, like everything else, e-commerce does not only have advantages and also presents disadvantages and challenges.

Disadvantages and Challenges of E-Commerce

  • Limited interactions with customers : Since all interactions take place online, it can be more difficult to understand the needs and concerns of your customers. While there are still ways to collect their concerns (survey data, customer service interactions, etc.), it takes more work than talking with buyers in person.
  • Lack of customer trust : Despite all the advances in the security of online financial transactions, many people still do not fully trust online transactions. This lack of trust is even greater when your site is new to you.
  • No opportunity to touch, test or try the product : Buyers like to touch physical products to be sure of making a good purchase. How to overcome this drawback? Thanks to complete product sheets, including images, videos, product images, a very detailed description of the product and even virtual reality technology.
  • Technical difficulties : e-commerce requires a minimum of technological knowledge, which not everyone has. If the e-commerce site is slow, down or unavailable, it means that no sales will be possible. Site outages and technology failures can harm customer relationships and negatively impact bottom lines and company reputation. The best way to solve this difficulty is to delegate the maintenance of your site to experts.
  • Time to get results : Getting exposure for an online business is harder than it looks. Indeed, you can have a very good product and be present on a good platform, but you must work on your SEO referencing to gain visibility.

Some Solutions to Design an E-Commerce Site?

If you have read our article so far, it is surely because e-commerce stores interest you. If after the decision to create one after reading this article then look no further. Oshara is the best web agency that can help you create the right online store for you.

Choose our e-commerce service and benefit from a tailor-made e-commerce site. 

If you don’t want to go through an agency, you also have the option of creating your own e-commerce site. 

To create an e-commerce site yourself, there are several solutions that can be used without technical or programming knowledge. Here are a few.

WooCommerce (WordPress)

WordPress is a content management system (CMS) is free and open-source. 

The functionalities of WordPress allow him to create and manage different types of websites: showcase site, online sales site (with WooCommerce), application site, blog, portfolio, institutional site and others… 

However, to make full use of the resources of this solution, a minimum knowledge of HTML and CSS is required.

PrestaShop

PrestaShop is a free French e-commerce platform. It is free and open source. It offers a multitude of themes to personalize your online store.

In addition, you have several extensions allowing you to add the functionalities you want on your site.

PrestaShop is intuitive and easy to use even without much experience, so it could be a good choice especially for small or medium-sized businesses that want to start selling online with a limited budget.

PrestaShop is a good choice for small and medium sized e-commerce businesses. For more complex online stores, costs increase and alternative solutions could be more advantageous.

Shopify

Shopify is a SaaS platform that allows you to create an e-commerce from a theme or by building your own design 100% with your own graphic charter.

The platform offers paid monthly subscription starting at $29/month for small businesses. In addition, you will have to pay commissions on your sales.

Magento or Adobe Commerce

Magento is an open-source e-commerce platform that has become increasingly popular over the past decade due to its ability to provide a full range of features and functionality. 

The platform offers many benefits, including scalability, flexibility, and cost reduction. However, Magento also has drawbacks that businesses should consider before deciding which e-commerce platform to use. 

One of the main advantages of Magento is its scalability; it can easily accommodate the growth of your business as it expands or changes. 

This means you don’t have to worry about outgrowing the system or having to switch platforms later when your sales increase. 

Also, Magento is highly customizable with a wide range of design and development options, allowing you to create a unique experience for your customers without having deep coding knowledge.

However, despite all its advantages, there are also some disadvantages to using Magento. For starters, Magento can be difficult to set up and manage if you don’t have prior experience with web development technologies. 

Also, due to its complexity, it can sometimes be slow and require additional investment in hardware or hosting services for optimal performance.

Drupal Commerce

Drupal Commerce is an open-source e-commerce platform that makes it easy for businesses to establish their online presence. 

It offers a number of benefits to business owners, including easy customization and scalability, support for mobile devices, integration with third-party apps, and cost savings. 

However, it also has drawbacks like lack of support from the Drupal community and limited development experience.

The flexibility offered by Drupal Commerce allows businesses to create custom online stores that meet their unique needs.

Thanks to its scalability and reliability, Drupal Commerce is used by the largest companies and plays in the same class as Magento or Adobe Commerce

Wix eCommerce

Wix is a reference website creation CMS. Known for its ease of use and for its rich functionality, it allows anyone to create a quality website. Even without technical skills, you can use Wix very affordably. 

Wix also has a solution for creating e-commerce sites: Wix eCommerce. 

The Elements to Plan for Creating an E-Commerce Site

To create a successful online store and achieve your goals, you need to follow certain steps. Here is what we recommend:

Competition Analysis

Your company has a well-defined sector of activity. In this sector you surely have many competitors. It will therefore be necessary:

  • Identify competitors,
  • Their way of communicating,
  • Their marketing strategy
  • Determine their market share

Thanks to this analysis, you will be able to set up your own strategy that can compete with theirs. 

Give priority to striking, different communication that will bring you the originality you need to get started.

Specifications

To have an e-commerce site that looks like you with all the features you must establish specifications. In this one you establish: 

  • What features do you need?
  • How should your site work?
  • What tree structure and number of pages do you want?
  • And others.

Product Sheet

Products are what you will sell on your site. So this is the most important element of your site. 

For this, you must put all your energies into creating product sheets. These sheets must contain, beautiful images of the product, the description, the dimensions and all the information necessary to know about the products.

Undoubtedly the most important thing when creating your online sales site: the products! 

Contact your suppliers and ask them for the data of the products you will sell: for example, the weight and dimensions can be used to calculate the shipping costs that you will have to charge on your e-commerce site. 

The product sheets play a dual role: They encourage visitors to buy if they are interesting but also they allow them to be referenced on search engines. 

Means of Payment

The means of payment will be important for your site. You must choose them in advance in order to configure them on the site and configure them because setting up a payment method can take time.

Your method of payment must be chosen according to your clientele. We advise you to have at least 3 payment methods in order to leave the choice to your customers. Here are our proposals:

  • Credit card
  • Check
  • Bank transfer
  • Virtual wallets like Paypal or Stripe

Be sure to properly integrate and configure your payment method to avoid any security breaches. The credibility of your site depends on it.

Delivery Methods

Many people buy online because they cannot go to the store. For this, your online store must offer delivery services.

And the shipping cost should be free or as cheap as possible.

A high cost will scare away your potential customers which will cause a lot of cart abandonment.

Here are some delivery methods to use:

  • Home delivery 
  • Relay point delivery
  • Private carrier…

Your delivery method must be chosen according to the type of product sold, the mode and the delivery rate of your competitors.

Content of the E-Commerce Site

The content of your site is of great importance such as the product sheets. It is with the content that you can put the Internet user in confidence. 

The content must allow you to show your know-how, your experience, the quality of your products and others.

To attract more leads, you can opt for a blog on your site. You can share articles on topics in your sector of activity and thus show your know-how to Internet users.

We advise you to prepare as much content as possible before creating your site. So you can plan additions over time and focus on sales and potential customer concerns.

Mandatory Information for Your Site

For the credibility of your e-commerce site, you need essential elements to display on your site.
It is:

  • Company name, legal form, address of establishment or head office
  • The amount of share capital for a company (or your surname, first name and domicile if you are an individual entrepreneur)
  • An email address and a telephone number
  • Your registration number in the trade and companies register
  • The intra-community VAT number or the mention exempting you from it (in the context of a micro-enterprise)
  • Your general conditions of sale (GTC)
  • Any specific mentions (registration number in the directory of trades for a craft activity, various rules for regulated professions, etc.).

Conclusion

Having an e-commerce site has become essential for any company wishing to sell products. To create it, you need to know what kind of website do you want. 

The whole process is not that difficult in itself but can take a lot of time, especially because of the creation of the content, or the administrative procedures, market analyses and others. 

We therefore advise you to take your time to create your e-commerce site and also to call on a web agency to help you go faster and avoid certain errors caused by lack of experience.

Frequently asked questions

What is ecommerce?

Ecommerce, short for electronic commerce, refers to the buying and selling of goods or services through the internet, i.e. a website or mobile app.

What are the benefits of ecommerce for businesses?

Ecommerce can offer multiple benefits for businesses, from the ability to reach a larger audience, reduce costs, to providing a convenient and accessible shopping experience for customers. Ecommerce can also provide gathering of data and insights into customer behavior and preferences that can be later used to improve the store design and functionality, leading to greater conversion.

What are some platforms where you can make an ecommerce store?

There are many online platforms that can enable you to make a good ecommerce store in no time with a ton of functionalities. One of the most famous are WooCommerce, PrestaShop, Shopify, Magento, Drupal Commerce and Wix eCommerce.