COVID-19, the new normal, we all are familiar with what I am talking about. The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed everything, including work from home, online school, online college, and shopping. Well, e-shopping or e-commerce was present in pre-COVID times, but no one recognized the power of e-commerce back then. COVID-19 has given a push to all the digital things which were present right there, but we are not much concerned about it. E-commerce saves a lot of time but not many used it before COVID times, but now everyone relies on the internet for shopping from the convenience of their home.
Now the question arises: what really E-commerce is? Well, let’s start with the term itself, here E stands for Electronic and commerce, the activity of buying and selling, so if we join both the term together it can be concluded buying or selling through an electronic medium is called E-commerce. Now we need connections between one computer to another, and thus the internet plays a crucial role in E-commerce.
So, anyone who can access the internet can participate in E-commerce activity. E-commerce consists of two types:
- Trading Stocks
We all are aware of e-shopping and most of us must have used it at least once. Amazon, Flipkart, and Tata Cliq are some good examples of e-shopping. There are some sites that provide only a certain type of product like JIO Mart which offers only groceries, whereas Flipkart and Amazon sell everything. On the other hand, if we talk about trading stocks, a few years back it was so difficult for common people to understand it. As they did have not much knowledge. But, now many are actively using stocks and the awareness about that has reached many. This is because of the use of the internet even by the common people.
Influence on the User
E-commerce has changed the perception of business. It has affected every individual which was part of the business, whether a consumer, seller, advertiser or the business model itself. Today the internet becomes part of our life, which saves us a lot of time. We can not imagine going to banks every day for small transactions and all. We are engaged in so much work that we do not have time for shopping and here E-commerce comes into the picture, which offers comfort, convenience, and most importantly, time.
There are many advantages of e-commerce but, at the same time, it has some limitations. Let’s evaluate E-commerce closely:
Advantages of E-commerce
E-commerce is not only beneficial for the customers but is also beneficial for the sellers. Let’s discuss some advantages of using E-commerce:
E-commerce has the potential to expand your business without any geographical barriers. For example, if Ram owns business electronic equipment in Ghaziabad, then he can sell only in his city, but when he runs the same business online, then he can target his audience globally. That is why E-commerce has a huge potential.
Save operational cost:
E-commerce can save operational costs which again helps the seller to earn more profit. For example, Riya wants to sell a book, so she needs a good place where she gets strides, as well as a goods and design store in a way to attract customers. But when she starts to sell her books online, she only needs a good website which is way more reasonable than the offline store.
In online stores, consumers have many choices of goods as they can buy their products from anywhere in the world. Also, the seller does not have to worry about space as the store is online, so they can offer a lot of products as much as they wish.
E-commerce also saves time, as well as the process of selection and payment in online shopping, is quite short. There is no requirement to go to traditional stores, so here you can save travel time too.
In an offline store, many middlemen are involved Due to this consumers have to pay more. In the case of online shopping, the consumer can directly purchase from the producer. Also, the online market is expanded globally which increases the competition between producers and results in lowering the cost ultimately benefiting consumers.
Availability of information:
In our country, we have a right under consumer protection law called the Right to inform where every individual has the right to know about the quality, quantity, purity, and price of the product to protect consumers against unfair trade practices. This right is offered by online stores. Any individual can compare the goods, read the review and afterwards they can purchase the product.
One of the advantages of e-commerce is convenience, by sitting on the sofa or on an office chair you can order your product and after some time you will get your product at the doorstep. You do not need to visit stores, but only you need a device and good internet.
Digital products like music and eBooks can be purchased and downloaded at the same time. The consumer has no need to go to offline stores and wait for their product.
Many people ignore this point while discussing the advantages of E-commerce. E-commerce has expanded the scope of advertising. Nowadays, the seller can market his/her product through email marketing, and social media marketing within a limited budget and can reach more people. Online advertising has a lot of potential.
Disadvantage of E-commerce
Everything in the world has two narratives one is good and the other is bad. We have discussed the advantages of E-commerce. Now, let’s discuss the disadvantages of E-commerce.
The first one is the start-up cost which is quite high compared to offline business. As you need to set up your business online you need qualified and skilled employee for your business which again cost you.
The second disadvantage is competition. Getting online means you are competing in a global market. So there is a risk that you will not earn profit and there are some times when the company get closed as they are not able to generate profits.
The third disadvantage is Security. As we all know data is going to become currency in the future, and today we are all concerned with data. Getting online just means you are compromising your privacy. Also, we have witnessed many data breaches where the personal data of customers was leaked or stolen.
Lacks the human touch:
The biggest disadvantage of E-commerce is that it lacks the human touch. We human beings are social animals, we love to interact with new people. Also, the human touch creates a relationship of trust between a seller and a customer. For example, jewellery businesses, have to face some barriers to gain the trust of their customers.
There is no guarantee of product quality as the person buying the good depends only on the quality of the images. There are many times the image of the product and the product do not match. For example, you went to an E-commerce site and purchase a blue color dress but after delivery, the color blue looks quite different.
Since E-commerce targets customers from all over the world. Every country has its own culture and history which affects consumer behaviour. Sometimes there is a language barrier and this creates an obstacle for the seller.
We all know law varies from country to country and also many countries are in the stage of developing laws related to e-commerce. So, when some breach has happened it is very hard to deal with that situation as not every person is aware of cyber laws.
So far we have seen What is e-commerce and how powerful it is. At the same time, we understand there are some problems that need to resolve. E-commerce has become so powerful during COVID times. Millions of people purchased their goods online as they don’t want to risk their lives. E-commerce is beneficial for both customers and sellers but at the same time, it has some demerits like a threat to privacy, lack of human touch, etc.
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