Exploring E-commerce!

In these recent times, many businesses have been able to shift their business online. During the pandemic, the e-commerce platform has become a hub for selling and buying everything online. Recently, e-commerce sites have been estimated to become approximately 12 million to 24 million around the world. These numbers only keep increasing day-by-day. With the influence of social media and technology, people have started to buy everything online. This has influenced the e-commerce platform to become broad and accommodate a variety of products ranging from necessities such as groceries to luxuries such as jewelry.

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After the start of the pandemic, it is as important to have an online presence as it is to make profits in a business. An online presence is a must if you want your business to become successful; improving and maintaining the business’s image on the e-commerce platform will be beneficial because it will give your business an upper hand as customers buy products from companies that have an established brand image and reputation on social media and in general.

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EXPANDING YOUR BUSINESS

In addition to this, it is also important for businesses nowadays to take their trade online because it can help them gain more customers. On the e-commerce platform, there are no boundaries when it comes to expanding your business. The online platform enables your business to gain an increased customer base. This could also include an international base of potential customers. Furthermore, the e-commerce industry also provides opportunities such as collaborating with other businesses, marketing on social media, etc. These kinds of opportunities also help the businesses increase their revenue.

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TOOLS REQUIRED

When a business goes online, it is important to consider some factors. Such as what kinds of resources will a business need in order to trade online. For instance, initially, a web developer is required to develop a website or an app for the company. Secondly, the business will also need to consider developing some teams in order to run the business smoothly. For example, a marketing team that would take care of social media marketing and advertising of the product and the company. And a finance team that will handle all the financial aspects of the company.

CREATING A PLAN

Along with considering the resources required for a business to go online, it is also essential for a business to create a cohesive plan. The plan needs to be formulated in a way that is specific and perfect for a specific business. Recently, customers expect almost every type of business to have an online presence, even for businesses that provide services rather than products. For example businesses such as amusement parks or hotels are also expected to have an online presence. These types of businesses can also reap the benefits of the e-commerce platform as they have plenty of opportunities to make a profit through online marketing. For instance: hotels and amusement parks can put up pictures of their location for advertisement and they can also sell tickets through online means and offer discounts. One of the real-life examples of this is Bookmyshow, which is an online website/app that allows customers to compare a range of upcoming events and it also offers pre-booking and tickets for the specific shows. By engaging the customer through social media and website, the business can gain loyal customers and an improved company image.

COMPETITORS

Moreover, in order to understand the e-commerce platform better, it is important for the business to know their competitors and their online presence. By understanding your competitors and their market and sale strategies, your business will be able to form its own marketing plans. And you will also be able to know how to differentiate your business from competitors. In order to understand your business’s competitors, you will have to observe how they are representing their product online, their pricing strategy, the discounts, and other offers, etc. By understanding the pattern of their target market and customers, your business will be able to formulate its own products accordingly. However, it is also important to make your product unique if there are numerous competitors in the same market as yours. The uniqueness does not have to be in the product itself but it could be in the service of it too. For instance: your business could provide better delivery services or improved customer service.

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SHOPPING WITH EASE

In addition, having an online presence is not enough to have a loyal customer base. Many shoppers, while exploring e-commerce websites, tend to have doubts about ordering products online. Their doubt is valid as just the visual of the product is not enough for them, usually, in physical stores, they can touch the product or try it before buying it. Thus, it is important for online businesses to facilitate buying products. Firstly, it is essential to have a user-friendly website. Many customers do not buy products online because there is insufficient information about the product, they are confused about something or the process is taking too long. A business having a user-friendly website means providing a chat box where the customer can easily communicate with a company member regarding any doubts they have. User-friendly websites also include FAQs (frequently asked questions page) where the customer can find out about the exchange/ return policy or any other common questions.

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POLICIES TO CONSIDER

In addition to this, sometimes the customers find it easier to shop on a website that offers multiple payment options. For instance: Amazon offers online payment options through Paytm or a bank; on many products, it also offers cash on delivery. Having a variety of payment options can make it easier for a customer to pay in a method they prefer, thus they are more likely to buy the product. If the business is offering online payment options, it has to make sure that the privacy of the customer is maintained. While making an online transaction through the website by credit card, the customer can often feel that the website is not secure enough. Thus, to gain a loyal customer base, the business has to make a coherent privacy policy. This type of policy usually elaborates on how the customers’ personal details will be protected. This can include the customers’ personal and confidential information such as contact number, credit card details, other financial information, etc.

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OTHER BUSINESS OPTIONS

Moreover, having an online business does not only mean selling products directly to customers. There is also one other way of trading, which involves companies trading with other businesses around the world. The e-commerce platform has also made it trading possible between different businesses. For example, Google is an example of both a business to customer and a business to business, because it serves individual customers as well as businesses. With the increasing influence of the e-commerce platform, it is getting easier for businesses to establish themselves online. One of the reasons for this is that the cost of setting up a physical store is eliminated completely. Designing a website is not as expensive as building a physical store. Furthermore, operating an online store is easier as employees can work from home, and in these pandemic times, this is the most essential part. The only thing that the business has to worry about is shipping goods from one location to another. However, these days, even that has become easier as there has been an increase in the number of delivery service companies- that are ready to collaborate with multiple businesses.

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To summarise, the e-commerce platform provides businesses with multiple opportunities that can be beneficial for the business. These opportunities like collaborating with other businesses will help your business gain an upper hand in the competition. To reap the benefits of all the opportunities that the e-commerce platform provides, your business has to explore and get familiar with the management of an online business. Firstly, the business requires effective tools that can help run the business smoothly. This includes recruiting members that can form a finance team, a marketing team, a human resources team, etc. The business will also have to develop a user-friendly website that advertises its product effectively. Secondly, the business will need a marketing plan that helps the business to efficiently present the main product to the customers on different social media platforms.

CONCLUSION

One of the most important aspects of all is knowing how your product is unique from your competitors’. Having an advantage over your competitors is crucial for your online business because the customers would rather buy a product from a known company- thus your business’s product has to be unique in some way. Lastly, above everything else, your business’s online presence matters the most. The way you present your business online on your website and social media platforms can directly affect the customer base. Shopping online has become a norm in these times, thus it is the responsibility of every company to make the process of shopping online as easy and user-friendly as possible. To conclude, the e-commerce platform is vast and filled with opportunities to explore; it is the perfect platform for businesses to explore their potential.

Contributed By- Suhani Hirpara, Content Writer at Mitti Ke Rang

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