E-commerce, digital markets and goods are ubiquitous; it means that they are available in any place with an Internet connection. Furthermore, they are global because the electronic transactions are possible regardless any national borders. Besides, the e-commerce websites are interactive; they provide customer`s engagement in the process of choosing, creation and presentation of a good or service. Moreover, the e-commerce, digital markets, and goods show a high degree of flexibility; due to the technologies they can easily adapt to new economic trends and customers` needs.
Business Trends and Technology Trends Shaping e-Commerce Today
- Personalized and customized products suggestions. The vast majority of the modern e-commerce websites monitors the preferences of their customers and remembers them to suggest the most relevant products and increase the effectiveness of the trade. (Smale 2015).
- Video marketing. In the variety of media content, proposed by the e-commerce websites, short, entertaining and helpful videos (product demonstrations, live streaming 360 rotation of the good etc.) are the most efficient means to increase sales and made customers want to get a product (Smale 2015).
- Using of storytelling to introduce the content. To be more successful, business has to appeal to the feelings and emotions of the customers. Some great story as a background for presenting a product will definitely increase the public interest and attract attention to this item (Yadav 2016).
- Great attention to the holidays and big buying days. Holidays and such days as Black Friday, Super Saturday, etc., are the periods of the most intensive shopping. Therefore, modern companies pay a lot of attention to the behavior of the customers and try to use such favorable opportunities to sell more goods and services (Gilmore 2014).
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- Improving of mobile commerce practices. Today mobile commerce is growing intensively; it provides huge influence on e-commerce. The use of the smart phones and tablets eases the trade and creates new ways for the companies to reach their customers. For instance, some retailers offer live chat support, which provides the direct connection between a seller and a buyer (Smale 2015).
- Real-time analytics tools. Precise data is an extremely important instrument in running a business but the traditional methods of data analysis require a lot of time. Therefore, a lot of companies try to use real-time analytics tools to get the information about its sales in a timely way. Immediate identification of the existing problems provides for finding fast solutions (Smale 2015).
- Location-based marketing. The invention of beacon technology has greatly influenced e-commerce. Now companies can detect where a customer is at any given moment and provide him or her with a relevant promotion of goods or services with the help of the push notification (Lacoste 2015).
Principal e-Commerce Business and Revenue Models
Michael Rappa, the director of the Institute of Advanced Analytics at North Carolina State University, suggests that there are nine main types of business models relevant to e-commerce. In fact, this following classification is based on the sources of revenue, so the following models are both business and revenue ones.
- Brokerage model. The brokers bring sellers and buyers together and facilitate transactions between them.
- Advertising model. The websites provide content mixed with advertising in the form of the banner ads
- Infomediary model. The analytical summaries and surveys of the customers` behavioral patterns and habits are provided to the companies.
- Merchant model. It is all about selling goods and services to the customers.
- Manufacturer model. A company, which creates a good or service, directly reaches a customer to sell this product.
- Affiliate model. This model is based on affiliating partner web sites to enable people to buy things wherever they are searching.
- Community model. It is based on the customers` loyalty; the revenue is received due to the selling ancillary products or voluntary contributions.
- Subscription model. It is based on the fees paid by the customers for the content they receive from the certain web site.
- Utility model. This is “on demand” model; in other words, it is based on the “as you go” approach, so people pay fee only for the time they really use the web page (2010).
How has e-Commerce Transformed Marketing?
The key purpose of marketing is to predict the needs of the customers and create the most relevant proposition for them to satisfy their demands and expectations. Therefore, due to enormous development of the technologies, which enabled the emergence of the e-commerce, marketing has acquired effective tools to influence a certain customer directly and to monitor his or her behavior to accomplish its key purpose.
How Social Networking and the “Wisdom of Crowds” Help Companies Improve Their Marketing
A social networking increases the effectiveness of the marketing in a few possible ways. First, it makes a brand to be more recognized within the great amount of people. The vast majority of the population uses various social networks on the everyday basis. Therefore, the possibility that advertising will reach a particular person is extremely high. Moreover, when a person notices a certain brand frequently he or she is more likely to choose it while making a purchase. Second, the social media is a perfect platform for a discussion. Every post is an opportunity for people to react; that is how a particular good or service can attain more attention from the bigger audience. Third, the humanization of the brands really matters. The companies, which are brightly represented in the social networks, are much easier to reach people; social networks create a direct channel of the communication between the companies and its customers (DeMers 2014).
Nowadays, “wisdom of crowds” became a driving force for the business; such initiatives as Kickstarter or Wikipedia are bright proofs for this statement. An engagement of the groups of people in the realization of certain business projects makes them to be more interested in a certain activity. Engaged people are more motivated; for companies, which deal with the concept of “wisdom of crowds,” it is easier to endear new customers.
The Way e-Commerce has Affected Business-to-Business Transactions
The E-commerce with a wide network of websites, social media and technological innovations has made B2B transactions significantly easier. The E-commerce has created a more favorable digital environment for a business to sell and buy goods, to analyze the current situation on the market, to make deals with the suppliers and to discover public opinion considering products. Moreover, the e-commerce has globalized B2B transactions and allowed companies to establish business partnership worldwide.
The Way Internet Technology Supports Business-to-Business Electronic Commerce
First, the Internet helps to fasten B2B e-commerce and also saves money for companies. Today, Internet enables direct communication between companies through such services as an e-mail, Skype, etc; it is the easiest way to make deals. The web pages and online analytics help people engaged in a business to be always updated about any innovations and developments on the market. Generally speaking, the Internet serves as an enormous pool of information, which helps to run a business successfully.
The Role of m-Commerce in Business and the Most Important m-Commerce Applications
The mobile commerce is a sub-group of the electronic commerce, which involves using smart phones and tablets instead of making a purchase on desktop or laptop computers. As mentioned above, the growing of m-commerce practices is one of the major trends in today`s e-commerce. It happens simply because the quantity of the devices users is constantly growing, and business has to adapt to this new reality and create mobile friendly web pages. In fact, such mobile friendly sites or apps are one of the most crucial determiners of the success of a certain business. If a web page is comfortable to use on a smartphone, a customer is 67% more likely to by a product or use a service; in turn, if the page is uncomfortable to use a customer is 61% more likely to leave a website and switch to another one (Khaliq 2014).
Among the most important and at the same time innovative m-commerce applications may be indicated the following:
- Spring – online shop of clothes and accessories of different brands (from luxury ones to emerging ones).
- The Product Hunt – an application for discovering trending products, especially in the sphere of technologies.
- Wanelo – mall on a phone, which provides streaming of different kinds of products (from clothes to furniture and decor).
- Uber – an innovative taxi service, which helps to connect drivers and passengers and reload city transportation system.
- Handy – this application helps to find home cleaners and handymen, encompassing 20 cities in North America and the UK (Ueland 2015).
Issues that must be Addressed when Building an e-Commerce Website
Websites are the driving forces of e-commerce; therefore, the people engaged in this kind of business has to pay great attention to the creation of the website. The web design and media content are powerful instruments to present goods and services. The strategy of a website creation must be based on the main principles: it should be easy to use, web pages must be good looking and attractive, and content has to be introduced in a creative manner. Thus, for a customer ,it should be easy and comfortable to use such website both on a laptop and on small screen devices (smartphone or tablet);he or she should get aesthetic pleasure from visiting a certain web page. In that case, a customer is more likely to choose suggested good or service.
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Four Types of e-Commerce Presence
WebSites are the main sources of information about goods and services. They serve as a platform for posting visual content about products as the tools to create a base of clients and as cannels for the advertising.
E-mail is one of the most important channels of direct communication between companies and its customers. In e-commerce, e-mail is used to send newsletters, to provide important updates and exercise sales.
Social media includes social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and blogs; it encompasses extremely large audience. As it was indicated above, social media is a considerable platform for public discussion. Therefore, it enables sharing the information, stirring the interest of the customers to the particular product and providing them with valuable advice.
Offline media. TV, radio and printed media are also important ways of delivering information about products. They may be used for educational purposes or for branding.
In general, the most significant difference between the answers in the essay and those ones in the presentation is the form. In the presentation, they are formulated as short and concise theses; moreover, the considerable part of the content is introduced in tables and schemes. In turn, the essay suggests more wide answers, which aimed at presenting some new aspects of the discussed matters.