The Basics of Ecommerce
Mar 18 2021
Ecommerce is a catch-all term for the buying and selling of goods over the internet. This simple concept has changed how entire industries do business, be it retail goods, B2B sales, subscriptions, or services. The development and normalization of conducting business digitally impacts everyone, from the largest wholesale juggernaut to the smallest individual crafts enthusiast.
Ecommerce has made it possible to showcase and sell physical and digital goods to anyone with a wifi connection. The world of ecommerce is a fully-functioning ecosystem, able to deliver nearly every conceivable need to consumers and businesses with greater ease than ever before. It has revolutionized the way the world does business, and for brands that understand and successfully harness its potential, it provides the ability to reach millions of new consumers around the globe.
The Age of Ecommerce is Now (and it’s Not Going Anywhere)
As ecommerce becomes increasingly commonplace, a successful transition from brick-and-mortar to digital commerce can make all the difference in a company’s survival — there’s a reason Netflix is among today’s largest subscription streaming services while Blockbuster is a distant memory. Technological shifts have pressured businesses to adapt quickly, and the digital landscape continues to transform even basic business models to match rapidly-changing consumer behaviors.
This was the case even before March 2020, but the impact of the pandemic and its associated stay-at-home safety precautions only accelerated the need for businesses to establish a viable digital presence. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, ecommerce hit $245.28 billion in Q4 of last year, representing a leap from $185.70 billion during the same quarter the prior year and putting the rising trajectory of ecommerce a full year ahead of schedule. Online orders made up 20% of retail sales in the quarter, emphasizing an already-growing trend: consumers are getting comfortable shopping online.
Businesses, even those in traditionally off-line industries, must think creatively to find customers where they are and create content that is both shoppable and shareable. Harnessing the power of social media and the digital marketplace isn’t just the key to a brand’s evolution — it’s likely the determining factor for many businesses’ ability to function post-pandemic. Local grocery stores and restaurants were among the first to recognize the wisdom in accepting online orders and creating an infrastructure for delivery, proving even within small communities it pays to be found online.
How Product Feeds Help Your Business
Central to the success of brands shifting to digital commerce is the emergence of the product feed, or the online catalogue funneling your brand’s updated product data to various sales platforms. A product feed is the backbone of ecommerce, working alongside existing shopping platforms to create a functioning online storefront. The feed is also the foundation of industry-standard marketing techniques, like the ability to deliver dynamic remarketing and shopping ads to qualified audiences.
The last essential element to the ecommerce formula is a platform for your business. Platforms can refer to existing channels like Google, Facebook, and Instagram which offer online partners shoppable in-app or on-site storefronts, or the actual platform with which your branded website is built. Common site-builders for ecommerce brands include Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, BigCommerce and Weebly, each of which offers different advantages and capabilities to all manner of businesses.
The importance of cultivating a digital presence and utilizing the powerful tools made available through ecommerce has reached critical levels, and it’s likely to stay that way even after the Covid-19 pandemic subsides. Every brand needs an online presence, and every business has an opportunity to expand its reach in the growing world of ecommerce.