e-Commerce, m-Commerce, m-eCommerce, me-Commerce. They are just too many and too confusing. And all it started with making shopping easy by including online shopping as an option to the brick and mortar stores; soon followed by banking and paying bills.
e-Commerce entered the arena powered by the internet and tools like desktops and personal computers. Mobile technologies ushered in a complete change of lifestyles, both at work and at home. Soon m-eCommerce sites were in vogue making e-Commerce enabled for mobile devices; followed by dedicated apps only approach, doing away with web access with m-commerce surfaced too.
And the latest on the block is me-Commerce. Personalization in technology enabled transaction based sites or the latest jargon added to our dictionaries is certainly fintech and we simply cannot have enough of this as well!
But, what drives commerce today? What propels the new ways of interacting for commerce? All in all technology does. The changing devices, lifestyles and preferences makes technology adapt and evolve; putting forward options of e-Commerce, m-Commerce, m-eCommerce and me-Commerce.
And adding to the chaos and confusion created by these terminologies. Let us simply call them New Commerce. Shall we?
E-commerce As We Know
Shopping on the internet is quite simply called e-Commerce. The simplest definition of e-commerce states that it is the trading of services, products or goods “online” or over the internet. The common perception is that e-commerce is a recent trend popularized in the last decade, however, the history of e-commerce has deeper roots than perceived.
Today, shopping online is a common phenomenon, a great time saver and an efficient means to procure any form of services or products ranging from household items to end-to-end managed support.
And the history and chronology of e-Commerce is thought provoking too!
The E-commerce Timeline
- The early seventies saw the predecessor of internet – Arpanet facilitating sales between students. The term e-commerce was coined to depict electronic business transactions using technologies that allowed information exchange, and opened the gateways of electronic invoices and purchase orders.
- In the eighties, the B2B & B2C online shopping systems setup. Launch of Electronic Malls, credit cards, telephone banking & ATM machines contribute to the fast pace growth of e-commerce.
- The early nineties saw e-Commerce become more structured. Browsers with secure transactions became available. First software available for sales online with online credit card transactions become possible.Commercial prohibitions on internet lifted from countries like UK and internet-only radio stations also initiated.
- In the late nineties, the first comprehensive websites for e-commerce are built in US & Western Europe. Increasing number of countries, besides the stronger economies of the western world join the e-commerce marketplace. Indiamart (India), ECPlaza (Korea), Alibaba group (China) gain fast visibility. Popular peer-to-peer software (Napster) launched.
- The new millennia saw – Amazon post first yearly profit. Quite many of mergers & acquisitions result into a mature e-Commerce market (such eBay buys Paypal). Product ranges keep adding and move beyond books, magazines, accessories, apparels, household goods and entertainment.
- Cut to Today – E-commerce is a multi-billion dollar industry with significant growth visible year on year. Online retail sales are at an all-time high and on the course of a trend sure to continue. Thousands of options on the internet are only a click away from the consumers who make the most of it.
m-eCommerce Adding to the Technology Chaos
The mobile way is here in a big way. In fact, e-Commerce available over mobile is not a recent innovation, rather it has evolved over a decade and exhibits significant growth and maturity in the last few years. Mobile e-Commerce refers to the delivery of electronic capabilities in the hand of the customer anywhere using mobile devices.
Quite simply put they are the e-Commerce website development which work on mobile devices as well.
The growth of smartphones in the last decade has only fueled the M-ecommerce market space, with forecasts of $700 billion market share by 2017.
The m-eCommerce Timeline
- Term “mobile eCommerce” was coined in 1997 at the launch of Global Mobile Commerce Forum. 100 organizations joined the forum within the first year
- The late nineties saw the financial platforms being setup to promote transactions on m-eCommerce based offerings.
- The later part of last decade hosted the phenomenal growth in terms of mobile based location services, banking and purchasing integrated with m-eCommerce features.
- Currently, almost every major e-commerce dealer on the web has a mobile app to cater to increasing demand of touch and delivery services. Wireless money transfer is also facilitated by m-eCommerce through devices of choice.
m-Commerce Fueling More Chaos
Quite simply put e-Commerce over mobile devices using app based touch points and no web based interfaces is the new rage today and is called m-Commerce. Enterprises see themselves moving away from maintaining websites for commerce and offer only app based services to users.
Experts and analysts globally believe that the mobile market within e-Commerce will continue to expand, but that will not be the end for traditional e-commerce. There will continue to exist a certain segment of users that will rely on desktop sites, or even their mobile versions, and not make the switch to apps quickly. On the other hand there would be users who would keep switching between mediums and devices forcing enterprises to offer all the options.
Myntra A Case of To Be or Not To Be
Consider the way one of the leading e-commerce portals in India, myntra.com, the online fashion retailer positioned itself in the last couple of years, and how they changed and eventually re-adjusted their strategy.
Looking at the increasing user base reliant on mobile phones for online shopping, myntra.com shut its mobile website in March 2015, followed by desktop website in May 2015 and switched to an app-only model.
This move was criticized by many experts during the last year as unnecessary and restrictive. But that was not what deterred Myntra. It was the customer responses that shook them up and forced them to re-think.
Last month Myntra reopened its mobile website to woo missing customers relying on large screen user experiences rather than app based. Today Myntra has no plans to reopen the original desktop site. However, to meet the ambitious targets they are aiming for, analysts believe they will need to consider all revenue streams.
In a Nutshell
The expectations and needs of customers drive technology. e-Commerce, m-Commerce, m-eCommerce, me-Commerce are all set to have equal importance and an enterprise needs to plan its strategies with a practical and realistic approach rather than an attitude to enforce technology.
A few big and established names in this new age commerce evolve with the changing needs.
A global company sells virtually everything
The biggest marketplace in China, comes next to Amazon
A China based online retail store
The Global version of a Chinese company, largest online B2B trading platform
A leading e-commerce Indian company, fashioned around Amazon
An American global retailer, needs no introduction
A US based consumer electronics shop with global branding
The Oldest marketplace, American company, however the Indian version ebay.in ranks high in terms of visitor traffic
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