What is E-commerce? Advantages and Disadvantages

What is the Future of eCommerce Business in India?
India is online, and India means business!

In today’s times, especially when people are staying at home due to COVID-19, one prefers to adopt shopping through e-commerce as it often provides products at inexpensive rates than physical shops in the markets. Therefore, let us understand e-commerce in this article.

E-commerce refers to electronic commerce where the activity of buying or selling goods and services takes place. It is conducted on electronic devices such as computers, tablets or smartphones.

Following are the types of e-commerce:

  1. Business-to-consumer: It includes transactions made between a business and a consumer. B2C is one of the most prominent sales models in the eCommerce context. For instance, when one acquires shoes from an online shoe retailer.
  2. Business-to-Business: It consists of sales made between businesses, such as a manufacturer and a wholesaler or retailer. It does not face consumers and only occurs between businesses. These sales often emphasise raw materials or products that are repackaged accordingly before being sold to customers. The order values and quantities are in high numbers. 
  3. Consumer-to-Consumer: It is one of the widely adopted models of eCommerce. It links to the sale of products or services between customers. This comprises C2C selling relationships, primarily witnessed on platforms such as Amazon or eBay.
  4. Customer-to-Business: C2B is the opposite of the traditional e-commerce model, which implies individual consumers make their products or services use for business acquiring people. It has competitive pricing and includes affiliate marketing as well as freelancer websites. For example, the popular iStockPhoto business model where there are stock photos available online for buying directly from different photographers, and it is profitable and growing.

Pros of E-commerce

  1. Flexibility: E-commerce happens 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One can sit at home and place his order without having to travel to different places. A product can reach him from across the country easily with an option to return or replace.
  2. Increased selection. Many stores provide a more comprehensive range of online products, which are often not available in the markets. There are exclusive new products and discounts which a customer can avail.

Cons of E-commerce

  1. Restricted customer service. If one is shopping online for a laptop, then one can not request an employee to display a specific model’s features in person. However, some websites allow a person to converse with a staff member online. The service is not operational 24×7 and all days at various online stores.
  2. Devoid of instant gratification. When one procures an item online, they wait for it to be shipped to their home or office. It requires a lot of patience to open or view that product. However, retailers such as Amazon make the waiting period a little bit less difficult by providing same-day delivery as a premium option for select products.
  3. Unavailability to check products. Images or videos demonstrated online do not send the correct message or tell the whole story about an item every time. Hence, e-commerce buying can result in non-gratification when the products received do not match consumers’ expectations. For instance, clothing items may be composed of shoddier fabric than its online image shows on the platform.