When people talk about stores, there are a number of different words that get thrown around, and two of the main ones are eCommerce and retail. But, what’s the difference, what does it all mean? Which is better? Is there a better one? We take a look at eCommerce vs retail, in closer detail, to give you all the information you need.
What is eCommerce?
As per most things in the WWW space, eCommerce is an abbreviation. Strange, you might think, considering that it is pretty much a word as it is. Well, while eCommerce has become a fully-fledged term in its own right, it actually stands for electronic commerce. So more of the ‘email’ version of abbreviations rather than, say, for example, SEO.
Put simply, eCommerce refers so the buying and selling of things using the internet. It covers the transfer of money and of data that is required to carry out these transactions. eCommerce covers not only products but services as well.
What is the difference between retail and eCommerce?
Retail is the process of selling to customers. Pretty simple in the description, to be honest. Again, it applies to both goods and services. So, you might be asking yourself right now, “Wait, isn’t that what you just said?”. That’s where the difference is. The retail process takes place through multiple channels of distribution, whereas eCommerce is exclusively restricted to the internet.
So, what exactly is the difference? Who would win in an eCommerce vs retail head to head? Are they opposites? Well, also no. Put simply, eCommerce is a type of retail. Think of retail as a great big umbrella, with catalogs, physical bricks and mortar stores, warehouse clubs, corner shops and of course, eCommerce.
Is an increase in eCommerce a good or a bad thing?
To be honest, it can definitely be seen as both. Lots of people wonder “what is the impact of eCommerce on brick and mortar stores?” and again this answer is twofold. While there is an argument that being able to order everything you need online can be damaging, there are also many points to the contrary.
Bricks and mortar stores have that added convenience of someone wanting a thing that day and being able to get the thing that day or being able to try something on before you buy it. What a website does, is it allows you to research into it. To work out exactly what version of that thing you want, and often to pre-order and pay for it before you even leave the house. eCommerce can work hand in hand with physical stores, it doesn’t have to be a battle.
Benefits of eCommerce
The advantages of eCommerce are vast and plentiful, so it would be pretty tricky for us to add all of them in this post. So, we have summarized some of the main ones for you.
- Easy to overcome geographical locations
- Ability to extend your reach quickly
- Much lower costs, no rent, lighting, heating, etc
- Your trading hours are pretty much unlimited
- Offer a wealth of information all in one place
- Easy to scale up, or should you need to, down
- Customers can research at their own pace
- Once one person explains it once, all customers can read it
What is the future of the eCommerce industry?
So, is online eCommerce business profitable? Or have we reached the top and it’s all downhill from here? Past trends have told us that eCommerce is on the rise, and it has been pretty much since it began. With the introduction and development of smartphones, tablets and portable technology as a whole, it becomes easier and easier over time to just pop online.
The growth is astonishing and still increasing. In 2019 eCommerce sales made up 12.4% of all sales. This was up 1.6% on the year before, which was up 1.2% on the year before that.
Ecommerce vs Retail
It is estimated that by 2025 eCommerce will be responsible for around 25% of all retail sales. Equipped with that knowledge, there has never been a better time to get involved. If you fancy building your own eCommerce empire, then sign up for a drop-shipping account today!