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An In-Depth Guide to eCommerce: What, How, & Key Strategies

2022/05/31

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The majority of the world's demographic heavily rely on the internet as technological advancements continue to make our lives easier. As such, business owners also need to keep up with these changes and build a strong online presence to stand out against competitors. 

The growing popularity of eCommerce services can allow your business to attract more potential customers while gaining other benefits. You'll be able to expand your operations more efficiently, gain credible authority in the marketplace, and earn easier ways to engage with your audience. Without it, it can be almost impossible to compete against other brands. 

However, the venture into online markets isn't as easy as it may sound. If you want to learn how to effectively build the right strategies to lead your eCommerce platform in the Philippines to success, you will need to have a deeper understanding of what it is and its limitations. 

Luckily, this guide will cover everything you need to know about eCommerce and how you can leverage it to accomplish your business goals. 

What is eCommerce?

what is ecommerce

Alternatively known as electronic commerce or internet commerce, this business method deals with the buying and selling of products and services over the internet. It can also be defined as the process of transferring funds and necessary information online to complete these transactions. 

Simply put, eCommerce can involve any type of agreement conducted online by a private individual or customer and a business. 

It is believed that eCommerce first began in August 1994, where the first transaction was conducted by a man selling a CD to his friend through the NetMarket website. Since then, these business methods have continued to develop to simplify and ease the process of online marketplaces. 

As a result, independent freelancers and business owners have benefited from these convenient transactions and the opportunities for running a business online. 

eCommerce Fast Facts and Statistics

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Thanks to its convenience and versatility, online businesses have become the new norm over the past few years. Here are a few statistics that prove the advantages of eCommerce as a business.  

  • Retail eCommerce sales approximated 4.9 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide in 2021. By 2025, this is expected to grow by 50%, reaching about 7.4 trillion dollars. (Statista)
  • The eCommerce industry continues to grow by approximately 23% each year (BigCommerce)
  • In 2020, eCommerce contributed 3.4% (PHP599 billion or US$12 billion) to the Philippines’ GDP. The country’s goal is to increase eCommerce revenue to PHP1.2 trillion (US$24 billion) or 5.5% of GDP, by 2022. (OpenGov)
  • Around 61% of customers prefer to engage and interact with brands through online mediums like email. (Statista)
  • Brands get up to 8 times more opens and clicks with transactional emails than any other type of email campaign strategy, making around 6 times more money. (Experian)
  • Around 93.5% of global internet users have stated that they have bought products from online shops. (OptinMonster)

    Learn more: Top eCommerce Trends in 2022: What’s Next?

The Types of eCommerce Business Models

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The eCommerce landscape can be quite wide depending on your target market and the types of strategies you want to explore. 

With digital marketing strategies like search engine optimization (SEO), online content, and social media marketing, there are plenty of ways you can start your eCommerce venture. But the first step usually starts with picking out one of these business models. 

  1. Business to Consumer (B2C)

    This model deals in marketing products and services directly to its end users. It is also one of the most common types of eCommerce since your customers complete their transactions directly with your brand.

    The B2C model also includes different subcategories: direct sellers, advertisement-based, fee-based, online intermediaries, and community-based strategies. 
  2. Business to Business (B2B)

    The B2B model helps market your products and services to another company instead of a direct customer. Unlike B2C, it is broken down into horizontal and vertical subcategories.

    Businesses that take on the vertical model focus on selling to customers in a specific industry, while the horizontal method spreads out across multiple industries.
  3. Consumer to Business (C2B)

    Unlike other models, this one starts with the consumer selling their goods and services to a company. Businesses usually put up requests for the job and choose from the available applicants. An example would be freelancing websites where individuals offer their time and skills in exchange for payment or compensation.
  4. Consumer to Consumer (C2C)

    Since anyone can sell anything online, websites like Amazon, Lazada, and Shopee have become more popular. Hence, this eCommerce model dictates consumers that sell directly to other private individuals through an online platform. Some can also choose to set up their own store on specified marketplaces like GCash’s GLife.
  5. Business to Government (B2G)

    B2G handles direct marketing towards federal, state, country, or local government agencies. This often involves special products and services like ammunition for military uses or private engineering services.

    Compared to other eCommerce models, most government agencies won't reach out to a B2C business directly. But some exemptions can be made depending on the size of the job and what needs to be done.
  6. Business to Business to Consumer (B2B2C)
Similar to B2C, this model sells products and services to another business, then sells them to customers. An example of this is eCommerce applications, where companies partner with another to promote your products and services while giving them a commission for each sale. 

Learn more: Types of eCommerce Platforms: Features and Benefits


eCommerce Advantages for Business

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Much like any other business method, eCommerce can have its fair share of benefits that can be enough for most companies to switch. Take a look at some of these key examples of what you can gain by going digital and selling your products and services online. 

  1. Reduced costs

    Setting up an online store saves you a significant amount on running a physical shop and acquiring specified equipment. Depending on how you want to manage your eCommerce business, you can also hire fewer employees and streamline your operations with the help of automated processes and tools.
  2. Affordable marketing

    Thanks to the internet, marketing your eCommerce business can be easier through different social media platforms. Compared to promoting your brand offline, this can come at a significantly lower price. You can then use these cost savings towards other areas of your business and gain more efficient ways of balancing your budget.
  3. Scalability

    Scaling your business can take more time and effort to accomplish with only a physical store. But through eCommerce, all you have to do is make a few digital improvements and gain more online storage space. You can do this as often as needed, allowing you to grow your brand faster.
  4. Convenient and secure

    Going digital is a convenient way of meeting your customer's demands without going out of your way to prepare all the basics of a physical store. Many small businesses run their stores from their homes while using trusted payment systems and methods to secure each transaction.
  5. A wider consumer base

    Since the internet gives you the potential to reach anyone online, you can gain new customers from different parts of the world. This can help boost your brand's reputation and reach audiences that you normally wouldn't tap into. 

How Does eCommerce Work?

While it can be easy to understand the benefits and possibilities of running an eCommerce business, mastering it isn't as easy as it looks. You'll need to better understand how it works from start to finish. The steps below will show you the basics. 

  1. The customer navigates the website

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    eCommerce begins with a customer finding your website or platform through search engines, online advertisements, or even referrals. Once they gain knowledge of your brand, they'll want to navigate around your channel and see if anything you have to offer interests them.
  2. The customer adds items to a virtual shopping cart and checks out

    After browsing through your website, a few items may catch your potential customer's attention. Most shoppers will generally add items to their online shopping cart to check out whenever they're ready. Throughout the process, they can explore product recommendations that they can add along with their finds.
  3. A payment mechanism finalizes the transaction

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    Once the shopper is satisfied with the items in their shopping cart, they will complete their purchase through an online payment process. This step will finalize the transaction and allow your platform to encrypt the necessary information to settle and secure the process.
  4. Shipping/delivery

    Next, your business will provide an estimated shipping or delivery time and details like shipment tracking and a transaction code once the payment pushes through. For most eCommerce stores, this process is automated and notifies you when an item should be packed and shipped out.
  5. After-sales service

    After the item has been shipped out and arrives at your customer's doorstep (or when they receive their service electronically), they will need to confirm receipt of it. This will allow you to ask them for feedback on their experience and gain helpful insights on how you can improve your process. 

Tips & Strategies to Get Your eCommerce Business Started

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Venturing into eCommerce can be tricky if you aren't sure how to get started. Take a look at these tips to help you through the process. 

  • Have a deep understanding of your business

    Understanding the main purpose of your business can direct you to the right path, from marketing to website-building. This can mean getting more in touch with your target markets and looking at the current demands in your niche. 
  • Study your competitors

    Learning about your competitors and analyzing their strategies can give you a good idea of what you can do and the mistakes you need to avoid. If they are offering products or services similar to yours, ask yourself how you can deliver them better. This can help you gain the upper hand and grab the attention of more customers. 
  • Optimize your eCommerce site

    A user-friendly website can make the overall experience for your customers smoother and more convenient. You can add features like automated log-ins, better site navigation, and easy checkout processes. 
  • Engage with your customers

    Engaging with your customers is one of the best ways to keep them satisfied with your brand. People want to feel like their needs and wants are being met. So instead of having standardized customer service, add personalization elements to ensure they are being heard. 
  • Establish what your goals are

    Without a game plan, it can be easy to make mistakes and face damage to your eCommerce brand. But if you build a list of goals you want to accomplish, you can keep yourself on track and work on improvements that can lead you to success. 
  • Look for the right resources

    Running an eCommerce business requires three main types of resources: physical, financial, and human. Without one of each, you may lack the necessary skills or tools to run your brand successfully. 

    Learn more: How to Choose the Best eCommerce Platform for Your PH Business

Leading Growth with Online Success

The modern world is changing in many ways regarding how we deal with our daily tasks. As technology develops new methods of simplifying your life, factors like the internet become a necessity. The same can be said for business owners who need to stay relevant with the present-day demographic through eCommerce stores. 

The convenience of online shopping has become a major hit among customers from every part of the world. For many businesses, this can open up a list of opportunities that can help you grow and expand while gaining better credibility in the market. But simply opening up an online store won't necessarily bring you the success you are looking for. 

If you're curious about how to start an eCommerce business, you will need to equip yourself with the right tools and knowledge to build your strategies for success. This can mean hiring a partner that offers all-in-one eCommerce solutions that will allow you to scale your brand. 

From discovery to delivery, the RUSH eStore will guide you through the whole path to purchase. Entice your customers with various discounts, promo codes, and vouchers, as well as convenient ways to pay. Then, with either an in-house fleet or RUSH’s third-party logistics provider, you’ll be delivering delight straight to your customers’ doorsteps.

With Rush's eStore, you can navigate through each online business stage with ease. Book a demo today and start growing your eCommerce business!

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