E-commerce – A modern way of shopping.
Since the popularization of the Internet, e-commerce started growing rapidly. More and more sale is being conducted through the Internet. Although e-commerce is beneficial to both, consumers and retailer, it is also challenging and requires fast decision making.
What is e-commerce?
E-commerce is nothing else but selling and buying with the help of the Internet. In recent years this way of shopping became very popular. Many might think that e-commerce is a creation of the last decade. Surprisingly, the first system for Internet shopping was designed much earlier, in 1979, by Michael Aldrich who connected modified TV to a computer via a telephone line. In 1980’s a system was created that connected businesses’ and allowed them to conduct transactions.
Since the World Wide Web, a retail platforms were created. Therefore selling online became accessible to virtually anyone. Retail systems allow for swift transactions. However, a big part of the vast development of e-commerce played the development of different methods of payment. Such services as PayPal or Skrill allow making a fast payment that is available to the retailer in a matter of minutes. Not only it creates a safe environment for buyers and seller, it speeds up the entire purchase & shipment process.
A company that wants to offer its products online can either develop the system on its own or use multiple platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce or Yo!Kart. Alternatively (or additionally) such company can sell goods on one or more marketplaces (Amazon, eBay, Etsy). Recent updates of Facebook made possible to set up an online store on this social platform. Other social media start to open up to e-commerce as well, for instance, Instagram.
E-commerce in numbers
Currently, there are over 110 000 e-commerce websites. Since 2014 the sales online grown by 43,34% to approximately $1.915 Trillion in 2016. This number, according to estimates, is supposed to double by 2020.
In 2016 it was established that there are 1.61 billion digital buyers worldwide. 66% of these users aged 16-74 in EU have made an online purchase, in UK, Germany and Denmark than the number was over 80%. 
Benefits of E-commerce
For shoppers, the biggest advantage is the convenience of online shopping. Presently it is possible to purchase virtually everything through the Internet without setting a foot out of the door. Everything is delivered to a desirable address. So the entire transaction is very convenient for the customers. Also, generally the items are cheaper online than in the traditional shops.
Sellers can benefit from cost reduction of the business. To sell online, a business owner doesn’t have to rent expensive retails space, there is no cost of running such space (electric, staff etc.). On top of that, companies that are present on the Internet can sell globally with ease. As the Internet is not limited to the certain area. Therefore expanding the market is much more affordable and easy compared to traditional retail.
Challenges of E-commerce
Since more and more companies decided to sell online, especially new companies might struggle to get customers at first. Most companies choose to pay for advertisement of different sorts to increase their visibility online (Google Adwords, link building, sponsored pages etc.). Some companies might also struggle with margins as some of the sellers offer dumping prices. Nevertheless, e-commerce proves to be profitable with over $1.915 Trillion sales worldwide in 2016.