What exactly is e-commerce?

A dozen years ago the vision of shopping over the Internet. was for most of us an abstraction. Nowadays, the e-commerce market in Poland is growing every year, and during the pandemic it gained a gigantic popularity. We all use platforms that offer online shopping, but do we know what exactly e-commerce i

Let’s start from the beginning. The term e-commerce is derived from the English electronic commerce or internet commerce. In free translation, it refers to all kinds of transactions that take place online and e-commerce. Thanks to the dynamic development of the Internet, currently this term is associated mainly with online shopping. In fact, the industry is much broader. It includes online banking, auction portals, online betting and online currency exchange. E-commerce is mainly based on B2C but also B2B, C2C and sometimes even C2B trade.

The virtual world puts practically the entire shopping experience in the hands of consumers. In an easy way, with a few clicks, we can find a product that interests us. The Internet can be compared to a huge, global shopping mall bringing together millions of sellers and even more customers.

Consumer behaviour

The way customers shop depends on a number of factors, including demographics. The consumer behavior of online shoppers varies widely. Some customers are enthusiastic shoppers – they do not check product descriptions carefully, do not need additional information, shop spontaneously and are usually satisfied with their order. Customers representing older generations prefer to act cautiously. They are afraid of being cheated, security and details of the purchase are important to them. The whole process will take them much more time. They value quality customer service, so once they are satisfied with a purchase, they are more likely to return. Good experiences have a positive impact on loyalty and build customer lifetime value (LTV or customer lifetime value CLV). Another type of consumer is a bargain hunter. He loves to use portals which enable him to bargain with the seller. This person will spend his/her free time to find a product at the lowest possible price and will be able to complain if the purchase does not meet his/her expectations. There are many types of consumer behaviour, but usually all patterns are highly repeatable. It is worth doing a behavioral analysis to understand the factors underlying each behavior.

Advantages of e-commerce

There are definitely many benefits of e-commerce for both sellers and customers. For people who own their own businesses, by far the biggest advantage is cost reduction. Online stores, unlike stationary stores, do not have to pay for the cost of renting premises and interior design and do not have to employ a large number of staff – as is the case in traditional trade. Stationary stores usually operate for several hours a day. In the case of online trade, a store can earn for itself 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of the time of day or night, holidays or, as we have seen in 2020, sanitary restrictions related to pandemics. Another advantage is the lack of restrictions related to the location of the store – apart from server limits, logistics or geoblocks.

Characteristics of the e-commerce market in Poland

The Gemius report “E-commerce in Poland 2020” shows that as many as 73 percent of the surveyed Internet users have become e-consumers at the same time – they have made online purchases at least once. Looking at the 2019 statistics, we can see an 11 p.p. increase. The time of the pandemic has tamed Poles with online shopping. Previously, they associated such a service mainly with buying things that they would not get in any stationary store. Now Poles buy clothes, chemicals, cosmetics, books, food and many other products online. The report shows that the most frequent online shoppers are people aged 35-49 (32%), living in cities with population over 200,000 (30%).

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