What is B2C (Business to Consumer E-commerce)?
B2C E-commerce is a form of electronic commerce that describes transactions made directly, through the Internet, between company and the final consumer. The website where these transactions are carried out is often referred to as an online store.
The main advantage of such a platform is that it offers companies access to a new market, the only one that has grown even in crisis conditions, reaching 134 billion euros at European Union level. In Romania, the e-commerce market currently has 2 million users and a volume of approximately 1 billion euros per year, predictions for 2014 estimate double that value.
Among the distinctive elements of an online store, the virtual shopping cart or the short sale cycle, the purpose being an immediate purchase from the customer.
How does an online store work?
Through an online store, a company can present its products or services to final consumers. They, once reached the site, can analyze the offer and add the desired products in a virtual shopping cart. Subsequently, in order to complete the order, they will have to choose a payment method and provide the delivery data.
What are the benefits of a B2C e-commerce platform?
- Customers are no longer limited by the company’s work schedule because the online store is available 24 hours a day
- The platform can be accessed from anywhere with an available internet connection and from any type of device: desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone
- The costs of launching, promoting and maintaining an online store is lower compared to a physical store, and the coverage area is much larger: with a single online store, customers from any city, country or geographical area can be addressed.
- It does not necessarily imply the existence of inventory: some companies choose to order the products from suppliers / producers exactly when they are requested, which means that they will have minimal expenses with the stocks.
- The ways in which the product offer can be presented is extremely diverse: attaching an unlimited number of images or videos, dedicated pages for the latest offers or for the most purchased items, complete descriptions for each product on the same day.
- Customer’s access to desired products is made quickly by: dynamic search filters, wishlists – wish lists, the possibility to make comparisons between products, etc.
- Registering in the online store can be done according to the preferences of each client: by creating an account with detailed information, through a visitor account (if he does not want to provide personal data) or through an account on social networks (such as Facebook)
- Offers secure and varied methods of payment: online by credit / debit cards, cash or by card at delivery, by payment order or bank transfer
- The concept of virtual shopping cart allows the visitor to add products as they go through the site, and at the end of the visit to order all or only some of them. This ensures the reservation of the products throughout the visit to the site. Moreover, if he did not complete the order on the spot, he can return after a while and resume it, depending on the availability of the stock at that time.
- Promotion methods are extremely diverse, starting with newsletters, online banners, social networks, Google Adwords, voucher campaigns, promotions, discounts, etc.
- The costs related to promotion are easier to measure and control, and can be permanently adjusted according to the results obtained
Online stores integrated with ERP systems
The integration of a B2C E-commerce platform with an ERP system implies the automatic transfer of information between them, which means that:
- All orders placed through the online store go directly into ERP
- The prices established in the ERP system are also available in the store
- Product stocks can be viewed by customers directly from the online store
- Customer information provided when registering in the online store is automatically transferred to the system from headquarters
What are the advantages of integrating the online store with the ERP system?
- Customer orders go directly to ERP, and based on them the subsequent documents are automatically generated: notices, invoices, etc., so that they are processed much faster and reach customers in a shorter time
- Many of the operational processes are automated, and the personnel requirements and associated costs will be much lower, along with the possibility of human errors.
- Information accuracy is higher, considering that both prices and stocks are updated in real time and synchronized in the ERP system.
Through an online store, both consumer goods and services (such as telephone subscriptions or tour packages) can be sold. Moreover, in addition to the usual online stores, there are other types of e-commerce platforms Business to Consumer, such as “marketplaces” – sites that bring together sellers and buyers (eg Ebay.com), portals that offers integrated services and content (eg Yahoo.com), sites specialized in providing content (video, music, news) or specialized on certain services.