If it wasn’t already obvious, most companies have adopted some form of an e-commerce store. It became common that to see some companies implementing a hybrid business model where they have a brick-and-mortar store paired with an online shop. Other companies have gone strictly e-commerce and don’t have a physical store. Slowly, we are seeing a shift as e-commerce dominates and alters the way in which we exchange goods.
E-commerce has definitely taken control of the market. Actually, for some companies and brands, e-commerce sales represent more than 50% of their receipts.
So what is e-commerce? E-commerce literally means electronic commerce. In the same way that electronic mail became email, e-commerce is a smaller version of the former.
With an e-commerce business model, most of the interaction between a company and its customers occurs through an internet connection. This means that any customer engagement via a company’s own app, a third-party app, or website falls under the realm of e-commerce. As long as a customer doesn’t set foot in a store, it’s e-commerce.
Rise of the Internet and E-commerce
Naturally, e-commerce is a relatively new business practice that has emerged. It is only possible due to the rise of the internet and advancements in technology. The World Wide Web became publicly accessible in the early 90s. One of the first companies to experiment with this business model was industry giant, Amazon, in 1994.
However, before the internet became a valuable tool, e-commerce took shape through telephones. Before we had on television channels dedicated to shopping. Anyone watching could simply call the number on the screen and put in an order for whatever was being shown.
E-commerce is not a new idea. It has been a practice for a while. As a result of the convenience that it offers, e-commerce has been able to grow. Though the current pandemic has solidified the importance of e-commerce business models. Many companies have since switched over to or have started implementing e-commerce platforms as a way to survive the Covid crisis.
Tools for E-commerce
It is likely that e-commerce is here to stay even well after the pandemic is a thing of the past. In order to host a successful e-commerce platform, there are a few tools that every business should be aware of.
Gorgias is a California-based company that offers an integrated help desk support system for merchants. To make things easier for a company’s customer service representatives, Gorgias connects all channels where customers can interact and ask questions. The most important part of running a good business is having great customer service. Gorgias helps to organize and analyze all the ways in which a company can better serve its customers. It also allows for the automation of responding to standard questions so that there is more time to focus on unique problems. Think of it as the little chatbot that appears at the side of an e-commerce site ready to answer questions.
Based in Washington D.C., Recurate has reinvented how brands use technology to interact with customers. With the help of Recurate, companies have been able to create platforms for users to buy and sell second-hand items originally purchased from the company. In addition to creating more site traffic, customers now have the option to practice sustainability without using a third-party e-commerce site. Recurate offers additional services, including marketing and customer service support, to guarantee a quality experience for all parties involved.
Autoretouch is a German company that offers artificial intelligence (AI) services for photo editing. An e-commerce store is much different from its physical counterpart. Online potential customers can only judge whether or not they want to buy a product based on pictures. In order to show off the true quality of your inventory, Autoretouch provides a menu of editing options. Through the use of AI technology, you are able to have a larger amount of photos edited and receive the edited copies much quicker.
Thus far, the companies and resources listed provide help with setting up and managing beautiful e-commerce websites. However, SupplyCompass makes it their goal to create a more seamless supply chain. The London-based company makes the process of ordering from manufactures much easier on suppliers. By creating a shareable workspace for manufacturers and suppliers to work from, important communication is kept in one place. Not to mention, it allows both sides to track the production process.
The India-based company, Stylumia, utilizes machine learning to help companies minimize their waste production. Through machine learning algorithms, Stylumia is able to help its partners in predicting e-commerce trends. After combing through and clarifying consumer data, Stylumia’s AI will be able to put together reports on the habits and demands unique to the people who interact with your marketplace. With insight into in-season and post-season sales, you can more accurately decide how to go about placing inventory orders.
New York-based Gooten is another company working to make the exchange between suppliers and manufacturers easier. Rather than the traditional route of ordering vast inventories of products, Gooten takes the approach of print on demand. Print on demand is when orders arrive over the manufacturer only after there has been a demand from customers. In this case, customer demand is in the form of them placing an order through your e-commerce site. Gooten can be used in industries other than fashion and provides the benefits of a single source and multiple source providers.
The Israeli company, Twine Solutions, has improved upon the traditional method of dyeing threads and fibers. In an effort to implement more sustainable practices into fashion, Twine Solutions uses a waterless method to dye their threads. More than that, the threads are colored to order. This means that a company orders the amount of thread they need and that the order will be processed accordingly. As opposed to dying batches of thread in bulk, there won’t be any wasted, unused thread. The thread is only dyed when an order is placed and the colors are dyed using color match technology. Due to their “digital dye to match algorithm-based application”, Twine Solutions is able to offer a wider variety of colors than companies that bulk dye.