Long gone are the days when you had to venture through 7-8 shops before buying a desirable mobile or shoes. It didn’t take long to get all of those suitable things you crave to be present on your few clicks which was quite unimaginable back in a decade or so.
The growth of E-Commerce escalated with double or even triple digit annually around mid-1990s and this escalation was a result of the launch of the first web browser, aptly named “World Wide Web”. Also, the sheer development of internet and its usage was a major catalyst in the E-Commerce boom. By the end of 2020, 60-70% of the world has connected to internet. Amazon, eBay emerged as the major dominators in the world of E-Commerce with Amazon still keeping up its level till date.
The development and evolution of e-commerce has made our life easier and less hectic. One can give countless advantages of it like convenience, security etc. but what about the benefits which get cloak under the blanket of the obviously known advantages?
1) Economy – The Indian E-commerce market is likely to grow to US$ 200 billion by 2026 from US$ 38.5 billion as of 2017. Much of the progress for the industry has been prompted by an upsurge in internet and smartphone penetration
- On October 23, 2020, Flipkart acquired a 7.8% stake in Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, a subsidiary of the Aditya Birla Group, for Rs. 1,500 crore (US$ 203.8 million). (IBEF, 2021)
- In October 2020, Amazon India collaborated with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to enable users to book and reserve train tickets on Amazon. (IBEF, 2021)
- In October 2020, Flipkart acquired a 140-acre land at Rs. 432 crore (US$ 58.87 million) to establish their largest fulfilling center in Asia, in Manesar, Gurgaon, in a bid to scale their fulfilment infrastructure to cater to increased demand post COVID-19. (IBEF, 2021)
- In October 2020, Amazon India invested over Rs. 700 crore (US$ 95.40 million) into its payment unit, Amazon Pay. (IBEF, 2021)
2) Cost reduction – E-commerce is affordable and requires less investment when compared with a physical store. This is also a good opportunity for an individual and a new seller who wants to earn an income but doesn’t have the required capital to run his business. Sellers also don’t have to spend a lot of money to promote their product. The world of e-commerce has several affordable and quick ways to advertise a product. E-commerce is a virtual channel and sellers can easily show off their products. In e-commerce sellers can compare the products on their own by using different tools. This gives them a good idea of product alternatives available, the standard rates, if a product need is fulfilled. This one is more benefit for the customers too so the people are more confident about the product they are buying. (Amazon, 2020)
3) Boon in the current COVID situation – World wouldn’t have asked a better boon than getting your essentials and suitable needs at home without going out in this deadly pandemic which has been haunting the world now for more than a year. This doesn’t only keep you safe but also keeps the fatal infection from contracting.
By now, we all have at least got an idea that internet has become an amazingly powerful tool to conduct business electronically. Many companies have jumped into e-commerce realm after seeing its potential and profit margin. Now here kicks in the concerns related to e-commerce business. Increasing relevance of this field also increases privacy concerns. The dearth of consumer protection legislations also starts lurking around. Indeed, the dark side of e-commerce is not short listed.
1) Security – One of the biggest drawbacks to ecommerce can be the lack of reliability and security due to poor implementation. Online transactions are mainly processed via debit card, credit card and internet banking and in very few cases via the “cash on delivery” option. Website owners try to take all available precautions to protect card details. However, what if the website is hacked by cyber criminals? This is a harsh reality with ecommerce websites. It is important to remain vigilant and proactive in protecting the website and, primarily, customer-related information. Security has been an issue from the start and is considered to be one of the main disadvantages of e-commerce.
2) Lack of Privacy – The privacy invasion problem is a serious drawback of e-commerce. A customer must provide their personal information before purchasing. Some websites do not have advanced encryption technology that can protect their personal information from hackers, and this is very important. The leakage of this confidential information can create many problems for a consumer.
3) Huge technological cost – E-commerce requires advanced platforms to improve performance. If you run into issues in the form of software, network, or domain issues, you will not be able to offer smooth transactions. The right technical infrastructure is expensive and requires large investments. It also needs to be updated regularly to accommodate changing times. The cost of running a successful business is a disadvantage of the e-commerce portal.
E-commerce is generally defined as the automation of routine business processes and operations and their transfer into virtual space. This process significantly increases business efficiency and simplifies daily routine work. Recent research has shown that businesses are moving quickly between local businesses. Many companies are using the internet and e-commerce in more convenient ways to market their products in the local market. Most of the online retailers are cheaper than the same products they sell, which is the main reason why today’s online stores are gaining market share. Some online stores have exceptional terms where you don’t have to pay for a certain amount for home delivery. For e-commerce sales as the reports are automated. It is convenient for small businesses to go online as they can easily compete with the larger ones. In addition, online sales save costs, there is no need to rent an in-store point of sale, and storage is not always required. It is much easier to access overseas markets through the internet. The biggest shortcoming of online stores is that they cannot display a product before buying it.