According to the World Trade Organization, electronic commerce, or e-commerce, is defined as the “production, distribution, marketing, sale, or delivery of goods and services by electronic means.”
With the developments in information technology and the market changes brought about by the pandemic, Canada has experienced a surge in the e-commerce industry. It has made selling and purchasing goods and services online a routine occurrence and a straightforward process. These transactions between businesses or individuals have reduced the complexity involved in business operations, making them a viable alternative for conducting business in all economic sectors. This has allowed the industry to grow rapidly, inviting more businesses and consumers to participate in the e-commerce market.
E-commerce is gaining popularity as a replacement for traditional business operations. It gives companies access to a wide range of opportunities and solutions more conveniently and affordably while ensuring effective customer care.
- Simplifying Business Operations: The complexity of business arises in branding, marketing, inventory, and managing the daily operations associated with the business. With e-commerce, every complex task has been made simpler. Since there are no mediators involved in an online purchase, the customer can communicate directly with the vendor, making the transaction more engaging, transparent, and accountable. Customers may browse the brand’s website or social media pages directly, locate what they want, buy it from the comfort of their own homes, and track the shipment while staying in close contact with the seller. The straightforwardness of e-commerce is the reason for its simplification and growing popularity.
- Cost-Effective Business: the simplification of business operations also means economically doing business. It makes all capital investments in each business step cost-effective by making them at a reduced rate or no cost. While a capital cost may be associated with establishing a website or purchasing a domain name, these are long-term investments and do not require ongoing fees.
- Digitalized Business: E-commerce is cost-effective because company processes have been automated and digitalized. From establishing a business, financing and marketing to customer service have been digitalized, making it possible for a single person to handle a sizable portion of the work efficiently and effectively. Additionally, it fosters constant one-on-one interaction between the buyer and vendor, adding a personal touch to an otherwise purely professional conversation. Digitalization takes the burden off the owner and provides ample time to invest in business growth and expansion.
- Flexible Business: E-commerce is a preferred option by customers as it enables them to make purchases whenever and wherever they choose. E-commerce provides a shopping experience that is easy and convenient. With websites developed to be mobile-supportive, customers are engaged in constant browsing for their desired items. The flexibility of E-commerce has only contributed to the rise in its product sales.
- Scalable Business: Business growth is about expanding to new locations and having a broader customer base. E-commerce makes it possible to scale a business with minimal capital, time, and resources. The business owner can easily expand. Investing in more effective payment alternatives, a better user experience on their website, and improved collaboration to deliver services to clients professionally.
What Product To Sell?
While opting for e-commerce, entrepreneurs should determine whether their products are viable in an online market. The product should be able to find an e-commerce niche to understand whether the product suits the e-commerce market structure and its trends. To understand the product’s suitability in an e-commerce market, the business owner should conduct extensive and in-depth research on the market and their products to understand the existing gap that can be filled by launching the product in the e-commerce industry.
The product and brand should stay ahead of the trends to make them unique, stand out, and offer something new to the customer. For example, some popular online products include fashion, jewelry, home decor, grocery, and food items. Although many brands sell these products, they have a unique selling proposition that makes them stand out from their competitors.
Jewelry and fashion products stand out based on their designs and colors. The specific style appeals to a wider audience, making it desirable for customers. For example, there are jewelry brands that use Indigenous designs, gold-plated jewelry, and jewelry that uses stones with a spiritual and healing appeal. These specifications create a niche in the market and help the brand have an identity and position.
Due to the pandemic, home decor has become essential to daily living. This has created a potential for furniture, organizers, and other aesthetically pleasing products that enhance the appearance of the home and create an ambiance. Following the long pandemic lockdowns, stay-ins and work-from-home options, people prefer to create a warm and comfortable atmosphere at home. Therefore, people are looking for unique, stylish, and comfortable furniture and accessories to make their homes a reflection of their identity and to make themselves feel good.
Online grocery items are one of the best e-commerce goods that are currently available. However, the profitability depends on how it is sourced, marketed and sold. The buzzwords in online grocery include organic, ethically sourced, and sustainable. People are willing to purchase goods when products are acquired in an environmentally friendly manner. A company owner can launch a modest, neighborhood-based online grocery store by building strong relationships with the farmers, which can be easily scaled up as sales increase.
Where To Sell?
Choosing the ideal and suitable platform for e-commerce is another important step in the success of the online business. An eCommerce platform is a software application that allows online businesses to manage their websites, marketing, sales, and operations. The right platform for the product greatly influences the business’s long-term growth. It will also support the company’s growth, expansion, and scalability by providing business tools that help coordinate operations and optimize sales and marketing efforts.
A good eCommerce platform will help customers easily traverse through the website without difficulty and support employees in implementing their business requirements and strategies, which eventually help in the growth and expansion of the business.
Entering the e-commerce industry is a significant step for business growth. The possibilities that e-commerce opens up for businesses are wide-ranging. But to ensure that the expansion of the business is viable and successful, one must conduct thorough research into every aspect of their own company and the market as a whole.
E-commerce is a booming industry, which can help small-business thrive. To read about the online possibilities, subscribe to Indigenous SME Business Magazine. For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @IndigenousSme.