E-commerce is basically the act of physically selling or purchasing of goods over the Internet or via electronic means. The e-commerce industry is estimated to reach $70 billion by the year 2021, and is predicted to expand at a rapid rate. In recent years several new terms have entered the e-commerce lexicon, and among them are virtual stores, web shops and web portals. Virtual stores are websites that allow consumers to order goods from an Internet website, without leaving their homes.

Web stores, or e-commerce as they are also known, are very popular with small businesses because it helps them cut costs associated with having a physical retail outlet. By opening an online store, a business owner can cut operating costs significantly, especially expenses such as rent, utilities and payroll. Several brick-and-mortar marketplaces have closed down due to the increased competition from online e-commerce portals. Online store owners benefit from lower overhead costs, more choices for consumers and lower returns of investment.

Another advantage of an ecommerce business model is its cost-effectiveness. Since customers can transact directly with the business, the inventory of items can be kept at lower costs. Also, since electronic commerce reduces costs associated with delivery, the company does not incur expenses for storage, transportation and insurance. This translates into a higher profit margin. Another advantage of electronic commerce over traditional methods of marketing is speed.

Ecommerce has taken the business world by storm. Many people now use ecommerce websites to purchase their favorite products and services. Ecommerce has provided many advantages over the traditional retail system. Digital goods can be sold quickly and without the hassle of physical inventory. A wide variety of payment methods such as credit cards, electronic checks, PayPal and others are widely available. It is safe and convenient to transact money electronically which further reduces risks associated with the conventional methods of conducting business.

With e-commerce, you are empowered to create your own marketplace. You are in control of pricing, product availability and other variables. Ecommerce allows you to expand your reach by reaching new geographical areas or marketing your products online via social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and others. This gives you an opportunity to interact directly with your customers. It also enables you to make better sales and service connections thereby increasing sales and improving service levels.

Ecommerce platforms give you an opportunity to adopt a multi-tier business model. You can start with a customized ecommerce platform and then decide to further utilize a drop shipping, wholesale or other third party wholesale sources. Ecommerce platforms help in decision-making because of their searchable databases that make it easy for you to locate suppliers who can provide products that meet your specific needs. It also helps you find reputable suppliers who offer the best rates and quality of merchandise.

Ecommerce store development enables you to take advantage of the emerging online marketplaces such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and others. These social media marketplaces have millions of users posting their items for sale. Millions of buyers visit these sites every day to buy products online. Ecommerce developers use these sites as a perfect place to promote their products. They use social media sites as a forum to interact directly with the consumers. With the help of a good ecommerce development team and creative ideas, you can create an online store that has the potential to pull in huge traffic.

Your online store needs to be easy to browse, fast loading and navigable. You also need to provide sufficient information and detail about your products. A user-friendly online store is essential to attract visitors and to convince them to make a purchase. With ecommerce development work done on your ecommerce site, you can rest assured that your business will flourish. A quality ecommerce platform gives you a better chance at success.