It seems obvious now, but at the beginning of the current crisis, I never expected the pandemic would change the way I shop.
For personal reasons, I’m accustomed to online shopping, but under lockdown, I’ve seen an exponential rise in products being offered online. Before the crisis, I would routinely buy something online from an outlet based in New York, but I would be unaware that a few miles from where I lived was a nice small local business offering high-quality products which, for a small fee, they could deliver to my doorstep.
Lockdown has changed the game, and all businesses have needed to make the best of it and change the way they operate.
Big companies have money and the technical know-how to embrace massive change, but small and microbusinesses have had to raise their game without the benefit of a safety net.
I’ve seen many small business owners debating on social media about opening an e-shop, creating an e-business or wondering about e-commerce. For many, having to deal with e-this and e-that just adds extra tension to an already stressful situation. Where to start?
WHAT’S THIS “E” ALL ABOUT?
The “E” stands for Electronic: electronic commerce, electronic business, electronic shop. Simply put, it means that services are provided and money transacted using electronic media.
Browsing the internet can be quite addictive, especially when I’m bored. I start looking for items I don’t usually give the time of day to. Bespoke throw-pillows decorated with images of my cat. A head-scratcher the blurb for which describes it as a ‘must have’. You get the idea. Sometimes, the temptation to press the ‘buy now’ button is just too strong.
E-commerce is the performance of commercial activities, i.e. buying and selling, done on the internet.
EXAMPLES OF E-COMMERCE
Buying and selling products online
Online payment of tax
Online accounting software
Online customer support
Like many others in my industry, I worked in an office for quite some time, and was accustomed to going to a supplier for my stationery, going to my bank to make payments, booking appointments with clients that took place at a physical location, and so on – and now you know how old I am! Then came the internet, and suddenly it was possible to do all these things from the comfort of my own home (or home office). E-business is about running a business using electronic media. I can also create an e-shop where I can sell products and services.
There are two different kinds of e-business:
PURE-PLAY: a pure-play business is a business that exists only online. Example: bloomandwild.com
BRICK AND CLICK: this is a business that exists both online and at a physical location. Example: ASDA.com