It all started with the founding of Amazon and eBay in the mid-1990s. The need for shop software was born. For the first time, it was possible to buy and sell products over the Internet. With the advancing digitalization, the world of online trading became more and more diverse. However, many retailers are still reluctant to invest in e-commerce today . You can find out why it can be worthwhile to expand into the world of online trading and use a shop system, and what e-commerce is all about, in the following article.
What is e-commerce?
E-commerce, also known as online or electronic commerce, refers to the sale and distribution of goods over the Internet. Digital marketplaces or our own shop systems enable a buyer to shop online around the clock. A stationary shop with representative sales areas is not necessary for e-commerce.
E-commerce solution from microtech
When did e-commerce or online trading emerge?
The foundation stone for today’s e-commerce was laid in 1995 when the Internet was made available to the public. However, the start of online trading was slow at first. Slow internet lines, few users and expensive data lines did not make it easy for online retailers. In addition, the dotcom bubble burst in March 2000. Many investors were in a mood of optimism with the introduction of the Internet and mobile phones and expected high profits from the new technology companies. When the prices then fell and the bubble burst, the Internet trade also seemed to have died for the time being. As a result, companies disappeared from the market whose business model was unsustainable.
Amazon and eBay, which had been on the market since 1995, were able to establish themselves despite the crisis. With the increasing development of new technologies, surfing the Internet became more affordable. With the introduction of new bandwidth technologies and lower data tariffs, more and more professional online shops have become established. Initially, shops from the travel and media sector were predominantly represented, but over time, more and more product categories from the sectors of textiles, media, consumer electronics, computers, hobby articles and furniture were added. From this point on, the online business developed at a rapid pace.
E-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail
Online trade has been booming for years, sales in e-commerce are steadily increasing every year, and marketing is also busy. Fraud of the revenue in the early years of online trading in Germany still 6.4 billion. Euros (net) annually, it increased to 44.2 billion euros (net) by 2016! The absolute growth of four billion euros per year therefore remains high. From an industry perspective, half of the turnover is in fashion and electronics. Nevertheless, all product groups represented on the Internet saw an average growth of 10.8% in 2016. Source: IFH Cologne Online Monitor 2017
Despite the growing sales figures in e-commerce, according to a study by the Regensburg IBI Research from August 2017, more than half of German retailers do not offer any goods on the Internet. There are many reasons for this: lack of staff, time and fear of slump in sales make retailers hesitate to enter online retailing. Furthermore, many fear the market power of global players such as Amazon or eBay. Are you an active dealer yourself? What is stopping you from entering online trading? With the right online shop software, nothing can go wrong.
Changed consumer behavior
With advancing digitalization, consumer behavior has also changed noticeably. Consumers are used to being able to obtain preparatory information and make purchases at any time using internet-enabled devices. Convenience in particular is becoming increasingly important here. To this end, the various channels for obtaining information such as shops, print media, social media marketing, e-mail, web search and mobile are linked to each other as a decision-making aid. The growing number of multi-channel buyers and the increase in sales in brick-and-mortar retail, which was preceded by online information acquisition, further underline the importance of channel linking.
Growth in online retail brings loss of sales in offline retail
Even though sales in most retail sectors continue to show small growth, the growth is increasingly unevenly distributed across the online and offline channels. For example, the electronics industry generated an increase in sales of 910 million euros in the online channel in 2016. On the other hand, the offline channel, particularly in stationary shops, suffered a loss of 970 million euros. From this it can be concluded that retailers who are not digitally active are found increasingly poorly, especially in rural areas. According to the IBI study from Regensburg, however, 70% of the companies surveyed plan to increase the future share of investments in online retail. This requires the right online shop software.
The advantages of e-commerce at a glance!
Are you already thinking about becoming active in online trading? If you are still hesitating, take a look at the 5 advantages of e-commerce at a glance:
Range increase and brand awareness
You reach a much larger target group through digital marketplaces than through brick-and-mortar retail. In this way you also draw international customers’ attention to your product and thus increase your brand awareness and reach. This can also benefit your brick-and-mortar retail. Especially in the home and furnishing sector, the number of Click & Collect (buy online & pick up stationary) customers on the Internet continues to increase.
Target groups can be defined more precisely
Your target group can be more precisely determined by the possibility of evaluating the information of the shop systems and marketplaces. This enables you to place targeted advertising and better reach your prospects with your online and offline marketing.
Make customer information available at all times
On an e-commerce website, you can provide as much information as you want. Your customers appreciate that. From product descriptions to instructions to shipping costs – you can provide interested parties with all the information they need to make an information-based purchase decision. You also do not have to employ any staff to answer all of these questions individually. This leaves more time for other tasks.
Reduce operating costs
An e-commerce shop causes lower costs. By using a web-based management system, you can automate inventory management and reduce the associated costs. Furthermore, in the case of a pure e-commerce shop, the overhead costs that are to be borne by a shop are eliminated. The costs for the required IT infrastructure are compensated for by the increased range.
Increased profits and sales through increased conversion figures
By using digital marketplaces, you reach many times more customers than in pure brick-and-mortar retail. This will usually sell you more. Another benefit is the positive feedback that customers can leave through rating systems. And even if there is negative feedback below, you can react to it, enter into dialogue and improve. Your customers feel taken seriously this way. This strengthens customer loyalty on the one hand and convinces interested parties more easily about your products on the other.
To repeat Charles Darwin analogously: “Only those who adapt will survive” in a figurative sense that also applies to the existence on the economic market. Even if stationary retail is not expected to die out in the next few years, the areas of online retail will continue to expand and be expanded to include other industries. With new technologies there will be more and more possibilities to be “online”. Especially with regard to developments in the field of virtual reality, it is only a matter of time before virtual strolling and trying on in real shops is possible. Companies should therefore not underestimate the synergy effect between stationary and online retail! Especially in view of the increasing number of multi-channel buyers, it literally offers