E-commerce is a buzzword and I am sure you must be addicted to it. No wonder it has emerged such an exciting Industry within a short span. From 1 or 2 Online shopping websites in early 2000 to more than 1 Lac+ Online shopping websites by 2018 and the number tends to grow day by day.
From buying Books online to ordering food on an App, thanks to Technology, which has transformed the way we use to shop.
Generally, e-commerce has mistaken to an online destination where a product or service can be bought and sold, but it’s only one side of the picture, e-commerce is much more than simply selling and buying.
e-commerce has its own ecosystem which keeps it running & contributing in its growth. With time E-commerce Ecosystem has evolved itself & added new components to thrive. Few components phased out with the change in Technology, few face fierce competition from new components and few joined hands with new components to sustain.
In the early days of e-commerce, it’s ecosystem is limited to Internet, Website, Payment Gateway, Merchant & Customer but in today’s scenario this Ecosystem has evolved & added many components like Shopping Carts, Apps, Marketplace, Omni-channels, Cash Cards, E-Wallets, Logistics, CRM’s, Social Media and lot more.
Let’s cover each component for better understanding:
Internet: Needless to say it’s the back bone of e-commerce & entire Industry rely on the Internet. Due to a surge in internet users, Online Shopping Sites are witnessing Ache Din. As per data available, only 30% of the population has internet access in India and by 2020 it’s expected to reach 75%. The Internet has few sub components like Internet service providers, Webhost, Servers etc.
- Internet Service Providers: Telecom companies like Airtel, Vodafone, Idea & others are also part of an e-commerce ecosystem, as they provide Internet services to users to access Online Shopping websites. With the 3G & 4G Internet speed has gone up & so the Internet users.
- Domain Name: Like your physical address, domain is your digital address and
- Hosting: Companies like Godaddy & Bigrock provide Webhosting services to host websites similarly there are companies providing dedicated servers to meet Online Shopping Websites requirement. You can pick any on the basis of budget & data you have. Dedicated servers are always considered more secure & enhance website performance.
Website/ Apps: Since the emergence of world wide web, website are treated as an online identity of a Business. Websites are transformed a lot, from a single page site to multi page site, from a simple site to highly customizable site. Websites enabled you to display your product online the manner you wish. Website talks about your products to your users. Apps are in trend now, with the surge in Mobile users, Apps are the second most preferred destination for online shopping. It comes with a lot of features for both for entrepreneurs as well as users. Most of the Online Shopping Webistes are bullish on their Apps & marketing is aggressively.
Shopping Cart: Shopping Cart, however it’s a part of a website, but it is entirely a new component. It allows a user to place an order on a website. Generally, it collects basic details to process order like product, quantity, price, address & mode of payment. Once user share desired details, a user is redirected to a Payment Gateway to complete his transaction.
Payment Gateways: With the introduction of Payment Gateways, Ecommerce became reality and the advancement in Technology, its booming day by day. Payment Gateways are adding new sub components regularly to become stronger day by day. Few are
- Net Banking
- Credit/ Debit Card
- Cash Cards/ Gift Card
Logistics: Lot more things happen, once your order is successfully placed & the most important of all is successfully shipping your order within time. Logistic Companies have played a significant role in streamlining ecommerce. With the surge in demand, logistic has enabled themselves to match & outperform the demand. It’s a vital component of Ecommerce which has been grown day by day.
Omni Channels/ CRM: These are the tool which empowers Ecommerce. With the help of CRM’s a lot of raw data is funnelled to maximize your shopping experience. It’s a versatile tool which enables Ecommerce to keep acquainted with users. Parallel Omni Channels are designed for sellers to enable them to maintain inventory, Order Processing & other parallel activity to meet users expectations.
Apart from Technology, there are few more participants without whom Ecommerce Ecosystem can’t be thought off, they are the one who have defined the rules & regulations of the Ecosystem & contributed significantly to help this Ecosystem grow stronger day by day. Let’s discuss about people behind the Technology.
Entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurs are the one who identified the potential & come up with a concept to enable users to buy goods online. To get things rolling and manage the entire operations effectively there is a need of regular flow of funds to keep technology and offerings updated.
Investors: According to Wikipidea “An investor is a person who allocates capital with the expectation of a future financial return”. To help Entrepreneurs manage and enhance the ecommerce service level, a huge amount of fund is required as Ecommerce Company grows day by day. There can be many type of Investors and can be classified as below:
- Retail Investors:Retail Investors caters Investment coming from Individuals, generally known as self-funding, funding from friends & family. This group is majorly driven by Angel Investors, the one who invest in a business in exchange of equity.
- Financial Institutions:This the second generally known source of Funding, whenever any Entrepreneur is looking for a big amount they generally approaches these kind of Investors. Venture Capitalist & Banks are the most approached Investors for scaling Business. Entrepreneur need to share their business plan & potential with them and on that basis Banks take a call to provide investment or not.
Government: The Government wears multiple hats in its roles as a provider, facilitator, enabler and regulator in the industry. Government is a key policymaker to keep strict watch over funds flow & safe guarding Merchants & Consumers against any frauds. Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion which falls under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry defines ecommerce in India.
Merchants/ Vendors: You need either Product of Service to sell through your website. Ecommerce stores source these products & services either from manufacturers or retailers to sell through their online shopping websites. These Manufacturers & retailers are known as with the rise in demand many new entrants are getting into this to taste the success.
Users: One who uses online shopping services are termed as users. They are also known as Visitors & Customers. Visitors are those who visits a website in search of information, service or product. A user has two stages, till the time he is navigating through online shopping website, he is a visitor but the time he completes transaction is considered as a Customer.