The worldwide expansion of the Internet has contributed to the e-commerce sales expansion in the past few years. In 2015, e-commerce accounted for 1 462 billion in the world, including 424 billion only in Europe.
Let’s talk about e-commerce phenomenon.
What is E-commerce?
E-commerce also called electronic commerce or e-business refers to the buying and selling of products and services through an electronic network, which is the Internet. These transactions can be made via many connected devices such as computers, tablets, smartphones, connected TV and connected watches. The e-commerce includes the online shopping, automated exchanges between companies called Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), the purchases made via a mobile application or renting a movie on our connected TV. Consequently, e-commerce works without any paper documents.
The major e-commerce actors in France are Amazon, Cdiscount, Fnac, eBay and voyages-sncf.com.
And the major e-commerce actors in the world are Alibaba, Amazon and Asos.
Moreover, e-commerce is divided into 3 parts:
- Business-to-business (B2B)
- Business-to-consumers (B2C)
- Consumer-to-consumer (C2C)
Two types of e-commerce business models can also be differentiated: transactional models and relational models.
The transactional models are represented by 3 kinds of websites. First of all, the commercial websites, considered as resellers, that are buying products to sell it to customers. The FNAC, selling Apple products, is a good example of it. Then direct selling websites, like the apple.com website selling its own Apple products. And private selling websites, such as vente-privee.com selling end-of-series products at discount prices.
Regarding the relational models, it concerns models that are connecting sellers and buyers, without selling anything, but only by taking a compensation corresponding to a percentage of the transaction. 4 kinds of relational models can be identified. First, the trading websites. Then, the infomediaries corresponding to price comparison websites. There are also virtual shopping malls, such as brandalley.com or placedestendances.com, having the role of structure welcoming different brands. And finally, C2C websites correspond to the fourth type of relational model. It concerns websites linking two customers to have a direct exchange, such as leboncoin.fr or blablacar.fr.
How can we make the websites attractive for the consumers?
Beside the tremendous market research, the value proposition and the fundamental configuration certainly had been made prior to the launching of an e-commerce. Different methods are often used for e-commerce in order to appeal customers, both technically and tactically.
For the e-commerce tactics, we can first talk about the fact that a website has to be a beautiful and convenient store. In fact, a friendly interface is compulsory because the first impression counts. Moreover, the neat and descriptive information displayed in the website is also a factor of creating trust towards online customers.
Second, promotion always has its power. Discount percentage, when purchasing for the first time, is used to draw new customers. Moreover, incentive customer referral can be a more effective way of marketing.
Then, the offer of new products or services. In fact, the store provides exclusive value that customers could not find anywhere else and gain the fame and access for the store in return.
Partner up with other quality brand is a great way to make your website attractive because this would help to build customer engagement and expand your e-commerce among other brands in the market.
Customer care is also very important because customers may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
Moreover, social media participation and online advertisements are very useful. It consists in selecting the proper social media platform to connect to the appropriate community, to connect to your target. For the ads, Google AdWords is a really good tool to sharpen a target market.
Finally, the use of email marketing is a strong way to be attractive because it helps to stay connected with customers by informing them about new promotions, after sales service, or private sales, etc.…
Concerning the technical method, we can talk about the Eye tracking.
Eye tracking is used to ensure the proper content or icon that attracts human eyes when making a link to the landing page. Therefore the less important information should be displayed as normal and not too eye-catching.
This technical method is used in order to know and understand on which elements consumers pay much attention.
In most research, people found that the most favor part of the screen to human eyes is in the left side. When consumers analyze a full page, they read it in an “F” pattern.
E-commerce sites are attractive, but why do we use them? …
There are a lot of reasons to adopt online shopping.
First, because of the “convenience“. In fact, you can access e-shops 24/7, anywhere there is an Internet access provided, and on several types of devices. Thus, customers can easily compare products and prices, and can save a lot of time.
Second, the choice of products, services or offers is much larger than in stores, and the comparison is easier between the products and services available.
Then, savings are also a great reason. In general, prices are lower, partly because fewer intermediaries come in. Customers can also benefit from additional discounts such as coupons, reduction codes, group buying or special offers.
Finally, you can consult comments from other customers on e-shops, and see how customers who already bought it rate the product you want.
… Or not?
Unfortunately, buying online is not perfect, indeed there are some reasons not to adopt this purchasing method.
The dematerialisation is not always an advantage. Actually in e-shops, customers cannot touch the product, there is no talk face to face, and you cannot always enjoy personalized advice from a seller.
Then, security and privacy are also points that we have to take into account. In fact, when you buy something online, you always have a little fear of being stolen or hacked of your banking and personal information, or that this information will be used for fraudulent purposes. We thus strongly encourage you to check that you are on a secure and trusted website before making any purchase.
Then, online purchases have a delivery delay, which is sometimes not reliable. Nevertheless, it exists solutions to track purchases or to be delivered faster, but you often have to pay for it.
Finally, customer service and return have also to be considered. A lack of simplicity can sometimes be noticed concerning the returning products stage. And regarding good after sales service, it cannot always be taken for granted.
- M. Rouse. (June 2016) definition: e-commerce (electronic commerce or EC) http://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/e-commerce
- N.N What is e-commerce? http://www.investorwords.com/1637/e_commerce.html
- D. Chua. (July 2014) 10 Tactics To Attract More Customers To Your Online Store [Infographic] http://www.referralcandy.com/blog/10-tactics-to-attract-more-customers-for-your-online-store-infographic/
- G. Ciotti. 7 Marketing Lessons from Eye-Tracking Studies https://blog.kissmetrics.com/eye-tracking-studies/
By Gabin Gravier, Audrey Neirinckx, Phuong Chau Ngo, Marine Paquet and Lisa Pardo-Ricklin