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Also known as B2C e-commerce, business-to-consumer e-commerce is the process of buying and selling products using the Internet rather than methods like catalog orders or maintaining a brick and mortar retail establishment. With this type of business strategy, the consumer locates the products online and places the order electronically. Payment is usually rendered at the time of purchase, or the purchase is charged to a credit account established by the merchant for use by that consumer. Once the order is approved, the merchant arranges to ship the purchased items to the delivery address supplied by the consumer.
With business-to-consumer e-commerce, consumers enjoy the convenience of shopping and placing orders around the clock. Online stores are configured to allow customers to browse any time of the day or night, and place orders that are either processed automatically in a real time fashion, or are confirmed by return email the following business day. Along with the benefit of shopping anytime, consumers also can shop with merchants that are across town, across the nation, or in a totally different country. Conversion software makes it possible to convert prices into the consumer’s local currency, allowing the consumer to know what he or she is paying in their own currency before placing the order.
Companies that utilize business-to-consumer e-commerce also benefit from the arrangement. The presence of the online store allows the merchant to reach consumers who otherwise would never have known the merchant existed. Since orders can be processed around the clock from most places around the world, there are no geographical or time restraints on who may become a customer. This has led a number of retailers who operate brick and mortar establishments or include mail ordering as part of their sales strategy to establish an online presence and actively promote the site to consumers all over the world.
There are many service providers today that can help interested companies develop a viable business-to-consumer e-commerce platform, including a store front, shopping cart, and electronic payment process. On the back end, providers can also help automate the order fulfillment process, streamlining the procedures so that each customer order is prepared and shipped in as little time as possible. As part of the overall business-to-consumer e-commerce strategy, marketing and promoting the online store using various online and traditional approaches will greatly enhance the chances for attracting consumers and building up a vibrant online clientele.
@GreenWeaver - I agree with you. Some companies even give consumer’s rebates just for shopping with them on top of all of the other promotions. I really like that E-Commerce companies also send you emails that confirm the purchase and allows you to track your package.
It is also nice when they let you know about upcoming promotions and sales that they will be having.
I had a problem with a shipment of chocolate strawberries that I was sending for my husband for Valentines because the company could not change the date for delivery and my husband was going to be out of town.
They issued me a new basket on the day that I needed it and said that I did not have to pay for the first basket that was going to be sent. They also sent me a huge coupon off my next order and they said that they were really sorry. I was happy with how this company resolved this problem for me and it made me want to shop with them again.
I love the idea of E-Commerce retail. I rather shop at home than in the stores because I really hate the crowds that form especially during the holidays. Last year during Black Friday, I was able to get some really good deals early in the morning and I didn’t have to fight the crowds or stand in long lines.
I also like that many stores offer free shipping, so it gives me even more reason to stay home. They offer additional promotions online that they omit for people traveling to the stores. The bookstores do so this all of the time.
I remember the other day I was looking for a recipe book that was available online for $15.95 and at the store it was $24.95. That was a huge difference. The only thing that I don’t like about e-commerce retail is that I can’t touch the merchandise and with books I like to skim them to make sure that they are worth the price.
I always request a sample from my E-Reader so that I can see if the book is worth it, but for this book I had to go to the store because it was unavailable for purchase on my E Reader.