Short for electronic commerce, Ecommerce is simply doing business via the Internet, including the marketing, selling, exchange, and distribution of all kinds of products and services through a variety of devices (computers, cell phones, tablets, special apps, etc.). More broadly, a business involved in Ecommerce is one that utilizes all sorts of available technologies in its day-to-day operations, such as inventory management systems, supply chain management, online sales, electronic funds transfer (credit cards or via a third party like PayPal), online transaction processing, online marketing, and automated data collection systems as well as email communications.
Ecommerce: Multichannel /Omnichannel Retail
Many businesses, large and small, have both physical stores and online venues so that customers can search for products first online and then purchase in the store. They can also buy directly online and have it shipped to their home. In the business world, this is called multichannel or omnichannel, which simply means that a customer is able to get the same shopping experience through the various channels available (store, online, etc.). In today’s world, the customer is key—whatever device or shopping channel used, the same quality experience should be provided.
The various channels that businesses can use to ensure a solid customer experience each and every time include:
- A physical store location;
- An online store (via a website);
- Mobile/tablet apps; and
- Online chat (usually through the website).
In order to compete with larger businesses, small businesses need to ensure both the quality of their product as well as the customer experience. Many consumers are willing to pay more than they might at a big box store or online via Amazon for the same type of product if they can get superior customer service. And having a carefully crafted online presence and well-designed website is a surefire way to connect personally to consumers.