Ecommerce and Its Evolution Into Mobility

Ten years ago ecommerce was still a cool buzzword that everyone wanted to try, but at that early point it was largely limited to the Business-2-Business world. The use of personal computers, mobile phones and the internet was still experiencing its first period of growth, so the average person sitting in front of their behemoth CRT monitor hadn’t grasped the potential of the web quite yet.

It didn’t take long though. Soon dot.com companies selling anything from sock puppets to toothbrushes at unbelievably low prices were popping up all over the place. Beady eyed investors saw the potential in dot-coms: little overhead and massive profit. The credit industry chimed in with low interest rates and blanket application acceptances, knowing there was money to be made. Unfortunately and predictably, the house of cards fell. Dot-coms were collapsing by the dozens and investors saw billions of dollars seemingly evaporate into thin air within a very short period.

Since that dark period in the early history of ecommerce, there have been countless research studies conducted in an effort to answer the desperate whys and how’s being screamed from bankruptcy courts around the nation. By now we have all heard the answer explained in long winded speeches about boom and bust cycles etc. In the end the collapse of the dot.com bubble was the inevitable outcome of greed on a massive scale, more specifically, unchecked greed with few security protocols and no governing body.

The birth of the 1990’s brought a wider availability of personal computers and the internet, but the 21st century brought mobility to the internet. According to CTIA the Wireless Association, there were just over 109 million mobile phone users in the US in 2000, that’s 38% of the population. Of course at that point the smartphone was clunky and fairly unusable so few people owned one. Eight years later the number of mobile phone users more than doubled to 262 million, 85% of the population. Now the Neilson Company predicts by the end of 2011 at least 49% of Americans will have a smartphone and 51% will still be using their feature phone (out of the 96% of the population that uses a mobile device).

Between 2000 and 2011 there has been an about-face on the part of ecommerce. Security platforms have become more stable and widely used so trust has now been built. User interfaces evolved into dynamic places where visitors felt both stimulated to buy, yet secure in handing over credit information. Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley has amalgamated data from Japan that shows online commerce and paid services accounted for a whopping 32% of mobile revenue in 2008. We all know technology progresses faster than the Roadrunner, and we are equally aware that Japan and China are usually the first to set trends in technology. That begs the question, has the west fully realized the potential of ecommerce yet? Or are we still remembering the chaos of the 90’s?

The same report by Mary Meeker, dubbed the Queen of the Internet by Baron’s magazine in 1998, shows North American and European nations use of ecommerce on a mobile platform accounts for less than 14% of mobile revenue (2008). Are we still scared? No, we are being gouged. North Americans have some of the highest mobile phone bills in the world. Canada in particular generates an average of $55 revenue per user per month; the US isn’t much better sitting at $48. India is the most fortunate; making the phone companies about $5 per user per month.

Mobile ecommerce is the future; there is no doubt about it. For the average North American the ability to buy almost anything with a smartphone is far too convenient to give up simply because our data plan sucks. We may not spend as much as the Japanese, but we sure know the value of ecommerce. Then again, as humans we are cursed with the innate habit of reacting to the here and now. The bill is out of sight, and therefore out of mind. We are also experts at rationalization. The value of using an internet fax service to send a document to a client via your smartphone far outweighs the value of physically delivering it. The flexibility and potential of the smartphone and ecommerce has placed a much higher value on time. What we choose to do with that time saved is the subject of a whole other article.

eCommerce and Its Advantages

eCommerce is the purchase of goods and services online. Increasingly, people have been buying things online because of its speed and convenience. Nothing can beat Internet speed in the purchase of these goods over large distances, except perhaps bad weather. There are many other advantages of eCommerce both for the consumer and the online vendor.

Consumer Advantage

Online shopping saves time, money and the trouble of long lines. People never thought online shopping would thrive ever since CompuServe created the first Electronic Mall during the 1980’s. However, now it has almost become a way of life.

Buying online offers a greater selection. It gives you the power of choosing your most preferred goods in the comfort of your own home. It gives the consumer less hassle and less waste of resources. For instance, many people needed travel agents to tell them which airline offered the best flights for the most affordable prices. It’s like you had to pay double then, both for the ticket price and the travel agent. Nowadays though, with the airline’s websites, one can just browse through the best travel bargains and the click of a button does it all. There are also websites now that tell you the best bargains and help you compare rates from different airlines. Such are Travelocity and Expedia.

Another advantage of the Internet is for the consumer is that it is open all day everyday. No longer do consumers have to wait for stores to open, or hurry to catch a closing shop. One can shop for shoes anytime, even when they are at home or at work. Finally, the Internet offers a wide variety of selection that no supermall can offer. This is because it provides the consumers access to online shops from areas outside their own. This definitely provides diversity and variety of choices, again all in the comfort of your own home.

Vendor Advantages

The online businessmen too find a lot of advantages in eCommerce.

First, it saves them a lot of cost on hiring employees. What perhaps 50 salesmen can pitch, can be done by one well designed and informative website. It saves up on what was supposed to be the salary of the employees. Moreover, the Internet is not only the salesperson; it’s the delivery guy as well. With digital downloads, profit can be obtained automatically without deploying a middleman. The customer can directly purchase from the online vendor and payment transactions can just be arranged. This is rampant in music downloading sites like iTunes or online shops like Amazon.com or eBay. Profit will then double, or might even triple.

eCommerce also levels out the playing field for both big and small businesses. A small home-based company can reach as much a market as the global ones. Businesses don’t have to set up different branches in other places. A good website and good advertising technique will do it. If the vendor does his job right, that is, putting all the information needed in a compelling way, his online business will sure thrive.

eCommerce and Business Online

Advancements in technology have opened up a whole new way for people to do business. Now, it is possible to launch an international business with just the click of a mouse. The word eCommerce is becoming more and more popular. You may have already heard this word but you are not really sure what it means.

eCommerce is a word that simply refers to doing business online. There are many ways that people do business. What are some business transactions that you do in the physical world? You go to the bank to deposit money, you visit stores to purchase items, you eat at a restaurant and pay for your food. These are just some of the things that represent business transactions.

One business may transact with another business. They can either exchange services or purchase items from each other. Businesses usually send invoices which indicate the amount that they need to collect. However, they do not expect to be paid upfront. They usually set dates when payments have to be made.

For online businesses, transactions are done pretty much the same way as they are done in the physical world. Various technologies are used to bring everything together. eCommerce is becoming very popular because it offers convenience and speed, and a large network of individuals and businesses are using this method.

The more customers a business attracts, the more successful it can become. Now that people use the Internet not just for searching information but making purchases as well, a lot of businesses are using this avenue for improving their sales. However, new businesses have to gain their customer’s trust first. This can only be done by carefully studying the intricacies of starting an online business.

eCommerce is the main source of income for businesses that are purely online. However, for offline businesses, eCommerce is another way to expand their customer base. This method allows businesses to offer their products globally. The Internet offers businesses a wide range of potential customers coming different various niches.

The benefits that eCommerce can offer is sure to make you rush in on the trend. But before you do anything, make sure that you understand that doing business online is simple in theory. The actual implementation is harder than most people think it is. If you want to be successful, make sure that you do as much research as you can about eCommerce.

You need to have a good plan and strategy before you start an online business. Joining the eCommerce trend entails making a lot of important decisions. But do not despair as there are many resources available that can help you get started.

Do not take these resources for granted. Utilize them wisely as they can greatly help you as you do your online business. Resources range from those that will tell you how to set up your site to those that will help you successfully market your products.