Ecommerce:- the process whereby you can market, distribute, buy and sell products online is said to have originated in 1994, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon.com out of his garage! People describe ‘ecommerce’ in all sorts of ways. Commonly it is referred to as: Online commerce, Web commerce, eBusiness, eRetail, eTailing, ecom or EC.

Leading retail analysts Verdict Research have revealed that one in four UK consumers regularly purchases goods online, which makes ‘ecommerce’ a potentially lucrative proposition for business owners everywhere.

For a retail business, setting up an ecommerce shop is a relatively straightforward affair. Many online software companies now provide ‘off the peg’ trading solutions for a monthly fee, whereby it’s possible to have your shop up and running on the Web in a matter of hours.

So what are the benefits of trading ‘electronically’?

For the merchant, the main advantages to doing business online are that it’s generally faster, easier and cheaper. For the consumer, the main benefits are money savings, choice and convenience.

As a business owner, having an ecommerce presence means you can:

Attract Customers 24/7
Being open for business 24 hours a day, seven days a week, gives you a massive advantage over traditional high street stores, as people will be able to browse and buy at their convenience. Imagine Jack and his wife are out to dinner when he suddenly remembers it’s Aunt Marion’s birthday in two days’ time. A quick scroll through his iPhone finds your website and reveals the perfect present for Auntie. So Jack places an order on the spot, without moving from his seat, let alone disrupting his evening. How easy was that?
And from the business owner’s point of view, ecommerce means you will have the capacity to receive orders while you sleep – even when you’re on vacation should you choose.

Increase Brand Awareness – and Loyalty
Maintaining an online presence means you are not restricted by geography. You can literally reach out to customers all over the world and tell them about your brand and the benefits of doing business with you. This is a fantastic way to attract repeat business and establish brand loyalty.

Create New Relationship Opportunities
Once you have an ecommerce presence it can open up a world of possible connections. Looking for additional product suppliers or manufacturers? Introductions to new business associates or partners, perhaps? With a professional e-commerce store, you might be surprised just how many people approach you wanting to do business.

Reduce Outgoings
Maintaining an ecommerce store can limit your outgoings to a fraction of what having a physical shop might cost you. With a traditional bricks and mortar shop, you would have leasing costs, staffing costs, heating, lighting and phone bills to meet regularly. There are many other operational costs to take into account also.
And if you currently run a conventional shop, why not consider expanding your offering online by using ecommerce as well? It’s a proven way to drive sales from and to either location.

Enhance Your Ability to Market and Promote Your Products
Being visible to anyone in the world with an Internet connection provides a HUGE opportunity for you to open your business up to many more people. Just think what impact ecommerce could have on your future marketing strategies, particularly if you combine your ecommerce presence with a range of social media activities (of course, that’s a whole vast subject in itself, but I’m sure you can see the potential.)

Author's Bio: 

Chris Jenkinson’s company Jenkinson & Associates Ltd provides business consultants to companies looking to grow their sales and profits.