E-Commerce (also known as Electric Commerce) is the market place of the internet where buying, selling and distributing services/items takes place through an electronic middle-man. It is where the buyers and sellers agree on financial services – virtually.
- Online banking – today, every conventional bank offers an online service. It allows people to check their bank balance, make a payment, cancel standing order and transfer funds from their computer.
· As I am still young, I do not feel that I have experienced the full potential of online banking. My balance is not changing constantly meaning I do not need to check it regularly. I get a statement each month in the post informing me of everything I need to know, resulting in my thoughts of online banking being slightly futile for a person with my bank activities.
- Transactional websites – as online shopping now coexists with the shops on the high street – people are left with the choice of whether to go down to the high street; or to simply do it online. Shops now have the option to expand, rather than through the opening of more stores over a wider area, but via the internet.
· As I have been preparing for sixth form over this previous summer I have found the option of shopping online particularly useful, as it has allowed me to browse clothing easily and quickly. My only problem was that, as I do not have a credit card, I had to use my parents’ when paying – fortunately for me; they didn’t have much a problem as the payment process was stress-free and immediate. Despite the off-putting aspect of being unable to try on the clothes I was considering, I was not deterred as most online shops offer free returns. I enjoy online shopping as I find it easy, fast, and believe I gain full potential from online shop as to me it has become just a leisurely and clear-cut as actually going to the shop, within my home.
- Online auctions - Online Auction sites, like eBay, have emerged out of the internet and expanded the idea of auctions, so much farther than it could without the aid of the internet. They provide an online environment where people can buy and sell new or second-hand goods to people all over the world.
· I personally am not a member of an auctioning site (due to the fact most require members to be over 18), however my parents have an eBay account and find the site simple to join and extremely useful and easy to use. A few problems did arise once when a buyer pulled out of a sale after it had been agreed, or after someone winning one of our bids, they never actually buy the item. But other than that their experience of the years has been relatively trouble-free.
Advantages of E-commerce to customer:
- Easier to search – you can easily find what you are looking for instead of having to trawl through other items to get what you want.
- Wider choice- you get more items available to you online rather than when you are in store.
- Saves time- it saves you have to take a few hours out of your day going to the shops. Instead you can just do all of it at home without feeling rushed.
- Saves money- it saves money in the sense that if you live far away from your main big town or city, you are going to have to spend money on travel; whether that is from petrol for your car, or money for the bus or train.
- Preferences- cookies will save specific information about what you like buying online, and what you search for; so when you go back on the website, your preferred options will come up.
- Reviews and recommendations (for both product and store itself)-reviews and recommendations allow you to see what other people have said about a certain product, or the store itself. This then can give you a clear picture whether you would like to buy that product, or even shop at that specific store.
Advantages of E-commerce to stores:
- Wider customer base- in having a wider customer base, it means that there is a higher ratio of purchase over a certain period of time. This means that the company itself is gaining more money as people are buying it from the high street stores, they a buying further than that.
- Target advertising- this allows cookies to be saved which take note of which sites you go on the most. This then results in adverts being put up on your internet page which are recommended for you.
- Fewer overheads (rent on premises; storage space; employees) – this means that in having an online store, less money is needed for: the rent on premises because the high street stores will not have to be open as much; won’t have to worry about the storage space because it can all be kept at different warehouse to which they presentation doesn’t have to be amazing as no customer will ever see it; and finally less money will be needed for employees as there will not be as many roles to play within the company, as the online store will be such a huge part of it, therefore the company will make an overall profit due to not having to give as much money to its workers.
- Increase footfall- it will increase because there will be more availability on the online store which can be worked around the customer. As the online store will be open 24/7 this means that the company will be gaining money all the time as people will be buying things, no matter what time it is.
- Increase customer satisfaction- this increases because the online store can base the way in which it can help around you. The great thing about online stores is that they are very versatile, which means that any problems people have about it can easily be rectified. This means that, the overall customer satisfaction rate will increase.
Disadvantages of E-commerce to customer:
- Cannot try the goods- this is a problem which will probably be around forever. You will never be able to try on the products, so you will never know if they fit (if they are clothes), or if they are the right product in general.
- Waiting for delivery- this is a major downfall when comparing high street stores to online ones. You will never get the product immediately. This means that you won’t be able to have the product straight away; which may overall decrease your customer satisfaction of the stores.
- Cost for shipping/ delivery- sometime this is not the case but for most products you have to pay an extra bit of money for your product to be shipped and delivered to your front door. This means that you end up paying more than you actually would if you just went to a high street store. This might make people hesitant to buy products online.
- Returns- the online returns policy is always a longer process than a normal high street store one. As you would have bought the item online, this means that you might have to send it all the way back to where the product originated from-which would cost more money. Or even if you could return it to the nearest high street store, the transaction of returning would be a lot longer as you would have to find your order code to use as a type of ‘receipt’- which means a lot of your time would have been wasted.
- Damage to goods during transaction- this can be a regular occurrence when buying products online. When you buy a product online you expect to get what you asked for without any problems with it. But it can happen that your product arrives with some damages. In your eyes you could see this as you not getting the product you actually wanted, which overall could decrease the company’s satisfaction rate.
- Security issues- when doing things online, there is always that risk of somehow leaking out personal information about you. This could lead to identity fraud and things such as that. This then would mean customers might not want to risk that and therefore results in a particular company losing out on money.
Disadvantages of E-commerce to stores:
- Malicious attacks- uses something called ‘Malware’ which is created to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. This means that many online stores are prone to these types of attacks. This would repel customers from using these sites just in case these attacks may occur.
- Security- some people may question the security of a company’s online store. All websites are prone to things such as ‘Malicious Attacks’, so people may not trust the security of the website which then would make them not shop online, therefore making the company lose potential money.
Cyber Monday is a marketing term for the Monday immediately following Black Friday, the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, created by companies to persuade people to shop online. The term made its debut on November 28, 2005 in a Shop.org press release entitled "'Cyber Monday' Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year". According to the Shop.org/BizRate Research 2005 eHoliday Mood Study, "77 percent of online retailers said that their sales increased substantially on the Monday after Thanksgiving, a trend that is driving serious online discounts and promotions on Cyber Monday this year".
Brick and Click StoresBricks and clicks (aka clicks and bricks, click and mortar, or bricks, clicks and flips) is a business model by which a company integrates both offline (bricks) and online (clicks) presences, sometimes with the third extra flips (physical catalogues). Additionally, many will also offer telephone ordering as well, or at least provide telephone sales support. A popular example of the bricks and clicks model is when a chain of stores allows the customer to order products either online or physically in one of their stores, also allowing them to either pick-up their order directly at a local branch of the store or get it delivered to their home. The bricks and clicks model has typically been used by traditional retailers who have extensive logistics and supply chains, but are well known and often respected for their traditional physical presence. Part of the reason for its success is that it is far easier for a traditional retailer to establish an online presence, than it is for a start-up company to employ a successful purely online one, or for an online only retailer to establish a traditional presence, including a strong and well recognized brand, without having a large marketing budget.