It’s never too late to get into the ecommerce industry. Not only are times changing when it comes to retail shopping, they have changed. It’s a done deal – ecommerce is thriving.
There’s an estimated 20 million+ ecommerce stores and the industry is expected to generate $4.5 trillion in sales in 2021. According to WPForms:
- It’s estimated that 95% of all purchases will be through ecommerce by 2040,
- 93.5% of global internet users have purchased products online,
- 46% of American small businesses still don’t have a website,
- The ecommerce industry is growing 23% year-over-year, and
- Globally, 57% of online shoppers buy from overseas retailers.
So, if you’re thinking about starting up your own ecommerce business, and we highly recommend that you do, chances are you’ll fall into one of two central business models: B2B or B2C. Each has its own benefits and challenges, but knowing what they are might help you think about potential opportunities in the market. We’ll discuss this below, along with the different types of ecommerce websites. But first, for any newbies, let’s briefly explain what exactly “ecommerce” means.
What is ecommerce?
Ecommerce, or e-commerce, is defined as the buying and selling of goods or services electronically using the internet. While e-business refers more broadly to all aspects of running an online business, ecommerce specifically refers to any online transaction of goods. It’s a popular business model and perfect for entrepreneurs who are looking for the many benefits of doing business online.
There’s online retail shopping that goes directly to consumers through mobile apps, websites, and sometimes even chatbots on social networking apps. Then there’s also sellers who are part of an online marketplace, where third-party transactions take place.
In other words, there are primarily two ecommerce business models, as mentioned before: B2B and B2C.
What is a B2B ecommerce model?
Simply put, a Business-to-Business (B2B) model operates by providing products from one business to another. This is usually done through online marketplaces or auctions.
Online marketplaces for B2B usually offer discounts for bulk quantities of goods. The buyer can either be the end user or a reseller, and the order value is generally high.
These websites allow buyers and sellers, domestic and international, to find each other to trade goods and services online. They vary according to the size and number of companies using them and the type of commodity traded.
Online auctions for B2B are computerised versions of traditional auctions, where buyers set the prices and bid against one another.
What is a B2C ecommerce model?
The most common business model is Business-to-Consumer (B2C). B2C businesses focus on selling goods and products directly to individual customers, who are the end users.
B2C purchases are typically lower in value, but have a shorter sales cycle than in B2B as it requires less decision making. Any online shopper has participated in B2C transactions.
In order for customers to browse products online, a B2C ecommerce business requires a website with an online store or marketplace. This allows them to decide on their purchase and proceed to an electronic checkout with some type of a payment processing gateway.
Typically, this transaction is completed through a merchant provider such as PayPal or Stripe. While it’s a smart idea to utilize one of those established providers, it’s an even better idea to have a backup plan, if and when one of those freezes your merchant account.
That’s why we recommend that you apply for a GroovePay™ account.
Deciding on your business model is just the first step in the process of getting your ecommerce store up and running. Next, with that in mind, you have to decide what type of ecommerce store you want.
6 Examples of the Most Popular Types of Ecommerce
- Dropshipping & POD – selling items on your website that are manufactured and shipped to your customer by a third party
- Wholesaling – buying products in bulk and storing them in a warehouse
- White-labelling – applying your brand name to a generic product
- Manufacturing – creating and fulfilling product orders
- Subscription-based – delivering products or services to customers at scheduled intervals
- Digital products – selling downloadable digital goods or media that must be purchased for licensed use
Dropshipping & Print-On-Demand
An ecommerce business that has one of the lowest barriers to entry is dropshipping. Usually, entrepreneurs would have to spend a large amount of capital on inventory before they are able to start selling products. Dropshipping allows them to start an online business and start selling without having to stock any of the items.
What this means is that once a customer makes a purchase, a dropshipping store then purchases that product from a third-party fulfilment provider and has the item shipped directly to the customer.
So, a highly accessible and easy way for entrepreneurs to sell online is with products on-demand and print-on-demand – which is possible to create free of charge using GrooveKart (… or with a paid Shopify account, your choice!).
Print-on-demand (POD) is an order fulfilment method where printed items are made as soon as a transaction is made. You can create customized designs for your brand and sell a variety of products using an automated system, without ever having any physical inventory to warehouse.
Unlike dropshipping, wholesaling actually requires inventory and warehousing. It is the sale of products in bulk quantities, often to a retailer who then resells directly to consumers. Starting this up comes with a great financial burden, like fronting the costs of purchasing inventory, but the rewards can be well worth it.
It requires more than bulk purchasing and warehousing, but also the management of inventory and tracking of shipping information – no easy feat for a small team. And it can get pricey if you use a fulfillment company. That being said, there is great earning potential when it comes to generating revenue.
That’s because it is the best business model for maintaining autonomy and control over your supply chain, which can be leveraged for consistent and sustainable business partnerships with sellers.
Not looking to reinvent the wheel, or should we say the fidget spinner? White-labelling allows you to legally put your name on a generic product as if you are the manufacturer of it but, in reality, you purchase the product from a manufacturer, then simply rebrand and repackage it.
This ecommerce business is based entirely on current market trends, and allows you to pour your strategic efforts into marketing and advertising, instead of design and production. Most often, white labelling is for already successful products that have seen results. However, as soon as demand falls, profit earning capabilities plummet. Keep in mind a product’s shelf life and market expectancy before overstocking your inventory.
It’s entirely your responsibility to manage this process, although the majority of these operations can be easily outsourced. (Do some – or a lot of – due diligence, of course.)
There is a rising trend and exponential growth happening in the subscription-based ecommerce space. It is a type of business that allows customers to automatically repurchase a product or service at a set interval period, usually every month, until such time that they decide to cancel their subscription.
This recurring revenue model means there is an increase in both business predictability and customer lifetime value, which allows your business to grow and scale fast. The flexibility and convenience of subscriptions for consumers makes for greater satisfaction and loyalty – especially when the products are tailored and delivered according to usage.
Generally speaking, if you find a very specific niche to pair with your specialized products, it’s worth considering the new norm in ecommerce.
Everybody living in today’s world is a consumer of digital products, be it in the form of music, software, documents, videos, courses, ebooks, or graphics. Digital products are, in essence, any kind of downloadable digital goods that must be purchased for licensed use.
Although these goods are intangible, entrepreneurs have built global businesses based on them. Digital products, in comparison to physical products, are appealing because they’re easy to distribute and easy to automate for passive income.
So, yes, it is relatively easy to create a digital product once-off, with little overhead costs, and then retain the majority of your sales in profits. However, there are some challenges that are specific to selling digital goods, such as being susceptible to piracy, standing out against free online content, and low barriers to entry for potential competitors.
When it comes to wanting to sell products online, either digital or physical, remember that all the challenges that you will potentially face can be overcome with the right tools and the right strategy. Never let that deter you from trying, but especially so when it comes to selling your own digital product online.
The projected market growth of the ecommerce industry is promising – so much so that it is undoubtedly a viable business structure in 2021 and beyond. But selecting your business model and ecommerce type is only just the beginning, as you’ll have to delve into strategies that are specific to your chosen ecommerce business.
So, make no mistake, there will be a learning curve when it comes to getting your ecommerce store up and running. But that’s why we have a bunch of free training videos available in the GrooveDigital Academy, as well as the 3-Day GrooveKart Challenge which has everything you need to get you started on your online business venture.