As noted above, ecommerce is the process of buying and selling tangible products and services online. It involves more than one party along with the exchange of data or currency to process a transaction. It is part of the greater industry that is known as electronic business (ebusiness), which involves all of the processes required to run a company online.21
Ecommerce has helped businesses (especially those with a narrow reach like small bussiness gain access to and establish a wider market presence by providing cheaper and more efficient distribution channels for their products or services. Target supplemented its presence with an online store that allows customers to purchase everything from clothes and coffeemakers to toothpaste and action figures right from their homes.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Ecommerce
E-commerce offers consumers the following advantages:
Convenience: E-commerce can occur 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Increased selection: Many stores offer a wider array of products online than they carry in their brick-and-mortar counterparts. And many stores that solely exist online may offer consumers exclusive inventory that is unavailable elsewhere.
But there are certain drawbacks that come with ecommerce sites, too. The disadvantages include:
Limited customer service: If you shop online for a computer, you cannot simply ask an employee to demonstrate a particular model's features in person. And although some websites let you chat online with a staff member, this is not a typical practice.
Lack of instant gratification: When you buy an item online, you must wait for it to be shipped to your home or office. However, e-tailers like Amazon make the waiting game a little bit less painful by offering same-day delivery as a premium option for select products.
Inability to touch products: Online images do not necessarily convey the whole story about an item, and so e-commerce purchases can be unsatisfying when the products received do not match consumer expectations. Case in point: an item of clothing may be made from shoddier fabric than its online image indicates.