What is ECommerce? Examples in Canada

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Many of us shop online every day. Amazon. Wayfair. eBay. These are all popular shopping websites that are used by millions of people daily. They’re also all examples of ECommerce or, simply put – online shopping. Today we’ll take a deeper look at the world of ECommerce, learning more about what it is and whether or not it’s profitable. So let’s not waste another minute.

What is ECommerce?

In its simplest form, ECommerce is online shopping. It’s the process of buying and selling things online and is a form of shopping that can be done via computer, tablet, or cell phone. As a rule of thumb, if you can buy it in a store, you can probably buy it online as well. 

How does it work? It’s simple. The customer browses a website until they find the product that they are looking for. They then place an order, and that order is sent to the seller. The seller then packages and ships the product to the buyer. And that’s it. If you have ever participated in this act, then you have participated in ECommerce.

Of course, ECommerce is a little more complex than that and incorporates other online transactions like online banking, stock investments, and online auctions. 

ECommerce can be from:

  • Business to Business
  • Business to Consumer
  • Consumer to Business
  • Consumer to Consumer

You can purchase almost anything online through ECommerce – clothes, electronics, toothpaste, and even the kitchen sink!

Examples of ECommerce in Canada

As mentioned previously, ECommerce involves the act of online shopping, but it’s much more than that as well. In addition to the purchase of retail items, ECommerce can also involve purchasing wholesale items or drop-shipped items. It can also include the sale of products via subscription or the sale of services.

In addition, ECommerce can involve the sale of entirely digital products like e-books or online tutorials.

Some of the top ECommerce websites in Canada include Mallecule and Mango. Large retailers like Walmart, Canadian Tire, and Costco all participate in ECommerce as well. 

What are the Advantages of ECommerce?

The main advantage of ECommerce is its convenience. Consumers can shop from the comfort of their own homes at any time of day. So whether you want to shop first thing in the morning before you get ready for work or at the end of the night in the comfort of your pajamas, ECommerce allows you to do just that because it’s available 24/7.

ECommerce also allows for a lot more choice. If you can’t find something in a store, you’ll definitely be able to find it online. Many online stores focus solely on selling inventory that cannot be purchased anywhere else, so you’ll never run out of options when it comes to product variety. 

For the consumer, ECommerce can also be very beneficial because there’s lots of competition. There are millions of online sellers worldwide, all competing for your attention. The good news for you is that to gain your business, many sellers offer competitive prices. So you can often find the same product you would find in a store online for much cheaper. 

What are the Disadvantages of ECommerce?

The main disadvantage of buying online is that you don’t have the opportunity to see a product before buying it. As you can guess, this can often lead to disappointment. Unfortunately, what you see isn’t always what you get when you buy online. And often, the inconvenience of returning a product simply isn’t worth your time, so you just end up losing money. So, in essence, online shopping can be a gamble. 

In many cases, online customer service is also minimal. Though you may be able to speak to a customer service representative over the phone or virtually, this isn’t always as beneficial as it is to speak to someone face-to-face. 

In addition, you have to wait for your product to be shipped to you. Depending on where you purchase from, products can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to be shipped, so if you need something quickly, online shopping probably isn’t the best way to do it. 

Is It Worth Starting an ECommerce Business?

Those who decide to sell online can be highly successful at it, but can also fail. The difference is in the amount of time and dedication you want to put into your sales. If you’re willing to put the time and effort into your sales, the outcomes are promising.

According to 99Firms’ ECommerce Statistics, the ECommerce business became a $4.13 trillion industry in 2020. Not only that but by 2040, over 95% of all sales are expected to be ECommerce based. That means that ECommerce is a huge industry with a lot of potentials if you are willing to put in the work. 

The biggest problem that people have when starting an ECommerce business is attracting customers. There are millions of ECommerce websites out there, and the competition is fierce. To succeed, you need to have an attractive product that people want or need, you need to have excellent customer service, and you need to have excellent marketing capabilities. If you are missing any one of these things, you will get lost in the mix. 

5 Tips for Succeeding in the ECommerce Business in Canada

  1. Focus on what the Customers Want

It’s not enough to create a product and hope that customers come to you. Instead, you need to focus on what the customers want and need and then bring it to them. Do your research and learn about the buying habits of your audience. It’s only once you completely understand their needs that you will be able to convert them to buyers and make the sale. 

2. Focus on Experience

Today’s generation is all about experiences. Even when it comes to shopping, people don’t want to just go to the mall, they want to experience the mall. And the same goes for online shopping. People don’t want to just shop online, they want a great experience. Engage your customers. The more engagement you can create through reviews, conversations, rewards, contests, videos, and more, the better you will be at selling.

3. Always Be Improving

Companies that succeed in ECommerce don’t stay stagnant – they progress with the times. You must constantly be up to date with the latest and greatest products, marketing techniques, and optimization tactics. You can even ask for your consumers’ input as to what areas you can improve your business. 

4. Be Creative

As mentioned previously, there’s tons of competition when it comes to selling and making money online, so you need to be on top of your game. Sell creative products and services, find creative ways to market, generate creative content – the more you can stand out, the more attention you will receive.

5. Dedicate your Time

The only way you will succeed in the ECommerce business is if you put your time and dedication into it. Because there is so much competition, ECommerce takes a lot of effort to succeed. Unless you already have a business started, you’ll also need to dig some money into it to begin.

Having said that, if you can dedicate your time and efforts, the ECommerce business can definitely pay off. There’s lots of money to be made here for those who push themselves forward each and every day. 

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Avid researcher, freelance writer, and personal finance enthusiast passionate about financial education and literacy.

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Kareena Maya

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Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.

Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.