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What is E-commerce?

The term e-commerce is short for ‘electronic commerce.’ Essentially, it’s any business transaction made on the Internet. E-commerce is about selling or buying items electronically and transferring money or data to execute these transactions. It’s one of the many ways to do business online. Another one is M-commerce or ‘mobile commerce’ where the user needs a smartphone or device in order to make the transaction.

E-commerce has become an everyday commodity now that the Internet has turned into the most powerful marketing tool. Carrying out purchasing transactions via your website now only requires you to have an e-commerce platform to operate. This feature should have all the necessary tools a company needs to buy and sell anything. There are many benefits to using and/or owning an e-commerce site. However, as useful as it may be, it also has its disadvantages.

Advantages of online shops over physical stores

You can virtually buy whatever you need in one place and without ever leaving your home. Users have the chance to purchase anything from clothes, electronics, household items, groceries, and more. They just browse through a catalog, click ‘add’ and proceed to checkout.

Unlike physical shops, which have limited working hours, online stores operate 24/7. This feature makes it possible to buy anything without worrying about time or place.

Electronic commerce allows people who are not located in major urban areas access to goods from retailers who are physically out of their reach.

This certainly makes life easier for consumers. From a business standpoint, e-commerce opens new markets and gives business owners the potential to expand their consumer base both nationally and internationally. Another advantage of e-commerce vs. a physical store from a business perspective is the reduction of overall costs.

Disadvantages of E-commerce vs. Physical Retailers

From the consumers’ perspective, one of the biggest drawbacks of electronic commerce is that users don’t get the chance to evaluate the product personally before making a purchasing decision. Additionally, there’s a delay from the time the consumer makes the purchase to when the product gets delivered, so they lack some of the instant gratification that offline shopping provides.

From a business perspective, many customers prefer to try the products before buying them, especially when shopping for clothing. Additionally, many buyers are still wary of credit card fraud, and 90% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when helped by a knowledgeable employee — something virtually impossible when it comes to online retailing.