Development of e-commerce: opportunity or threat?

Still in its infancy during the emergence of the internet in the 1990s, e-commerce is now deeply rooted in the mores of French households. With 85% of French people having access to the internet today, e-commerce has obviously taken off and has conquered most individuals and businesses. The principle of electronic commerce, commonly known as e-commerce, is based on the use of an electronic medium for the realization of a commercial transaction …
Many internet users and companies are giving in to the temptation of selling and buying via the internet. Intuitive interfaces, multiple choices, immediacy of purchase, deliveries in record time, etc. e-commerce has all the necessary assets to attract Internet users. However, some users are still chilly about using the internet to make their transactions and purchases. Should we still be wary of online shopping? This dazzling success is it to be feared? Or is it just an opportunity to seize?

It goes without saying that the e-commerce market is experiencing a meteoric rise. The French are also in second position in this field in Europe, just behind Great Britain. The craze is such that online shopping platforms like Amazon are thriving and growing around the world.

The development of the sector does not seem to have any limit. With almost 15% growth in turnover in 2016, the market today weighs more than 72 billion euros in France. Companies are increasingly adhering to this promising system, which now accounts for an average of 33 transactions every second.

Online sales channels are successful and are growing at breakneck speed. It must be said that the number of cyber-shoppers is increasing every year, so that it reached 36.7 million in 2016. Individuals are attracted by this online purchase method which brings them many economic benefits, but also in terms of saving time.

The success of e-commerce is inevitably based on cyber-shoppers who multiply and diversify. People of all ages and all social categories are becoming more and more involved in online buying and selling.

The benefits are indeed undeniable. It suffices for the user to type his product search on a search engine to see the number of replies to his request multiplied. You do not have to go around several stores in the hope of finding a specific product, the search engine gives a result corresponding to the keyword used. For the user, it is a considerable time saver that he will use to compare the prices and products of the various online sales sites.

Immediate access to information is unique to the internet and now allows users to obtain comprehensive product information, as well as customer reviews that have already experienced a purchase of this product. on a given site. Online shoppers function as a community that will be able to judge the quality of the product upon arrival as well as the service of the manufacturing company. Online sales sites also have the considerable advantage of being available anywhere, anytime. Internet users can for example make the choice to buy shoes on the internet in the middle of the night if they want to.

Beyond saving time, users are also looking to save money. And the sale of low-cost goods on the internet is flourishing. The products are sometimes sold around the world at very competitive prices or sometimes insignificant for the consumer. While shipping costs can sometimes reach new heights, Internet users are attracted by the affordability of the prices of these products and the diversity of choice that is offered to them. A craze that has not stopped evolving in favor of digitalization of commercial transactions.

With today 182,000 active merchant sites in France, companies have clearly seen the opportunity and the competitive advantages offered by e-commerce. More than half of the companies that own an online sales site even plan to increase their payroll to focus more on the e-commerce sector.

For businesses, e-commerce is the promise of greater visibility, national or even international, and therefore the expansion of the customer base. A website gives the possibility to be visible everywhere and at any time, it acts as the showcase of the company in all circumstances to all users.

While some companies want to keep their offline sales channels, others only develop on the internet and have no physical sales outlet. Young companies see this as a considerable cost advantage: setting up a website costs much less than buying a room and fitting it into a shop. For companies that already own their shops, online commerce is not an alternative, but a complement to offline sales.

For small start-ups, however, online sales will be a springboard for the growth of the company. The online sales site acts as a scout on the market, it will determine the extent of success of the product, the consumers to target and the communication strategy to adopt. The development of a company can depend on the success of its product on the internet and most young companies with innovative products act carefully by first engaging in online commerce before considering the opening of a physical store.

For shops that have not passed the digital era, competition is tough. Companies sometimes suffer from this mode of consumption which bypasses the traditional sales network. Manufacturers who sell their products directly to Internet users undeniably remove market share from their usual resellers. Although companies still consider the e-commerce sales tunnel as marginal and targeting a different customer base than traditional stores, the phenomenon is becoming more and more worrying.
Online sales are causing resentment among resellers who sometimes go so far as to threaten to boycott manufacturers if they deign to expand their online sales network. Stores are pushing to avoid the decadence of traditional selling by claiming the dangers of online sales for manufacturers. The main reason for fearing e-commerce for businesses remains counterfeiting. Indeed, the exposure of products and their details on the internet is a gateway to counterfeit the brand.

To mitigate vendor complaints, some manufacturers have committed to selling only surplus inventory and unsold stock. A compromise that allows stores to maintain their primacy over new products and manufacturers to get rid of a surplus of products at a profit. If the customer knows how to wait, he can have the opportunity to get the good half price as soon as he is no longer in the store.

In the past two years, the growth in the number of cyber buyers has been slowing and stalling. If e-commerce has been a meteoric success and almost immediate, it is struggling today to conquer the few consumers who are reluctant to this mode of consumption. If for some households the problem is based on access to the internet, most customers who miss the call are those who fear the use of the internet for their purchases. Online payment especially raises a lot of concerns.

Consumers have been conditioned to never communicate their bank details, difficult to trust a computer system that does not master all the secrets. Some users fear that their banking information will be made public and distributed to malicious Internet users who will use it for their account later. Others are afraid to pay for a product and never receive it.

Some sites are structured to attract the customer and encourage purchase without actually offering the product. These are online sales sites set up to scam the consumer. It is often difficult to discern a secure site from a fraudulent site. Consumers, well aware of the existence of these sites, do not take the risk of buying online for fear of a bad experience.

It is nevertheless possible to locate when the payment is secured thanks to a certain number of indications present on the

It is however possible to locate when the payment is secured thanks to a certain number of indications present on the site and in the bar of URL. Some banks even offer an additional service that consists of confirming the purchase online through a code sent by SMS to the customer. A double security supposed to reassure the users, but which, obviously, is not enough to conquer all the consumers.
If many users are aware of these precautions from the real commercial sites, the reluctance for e-commerce also lies in the uncertainty as to the quality of the product.

Order a product via the internet does not guarantee its quality and some users have already had unpleasant surprises, especially for lack of information on the product or simply because the property sold does not meet their expectations.

Internet users are even more wary when it comes to ready-to-wear. Clothes are products that consumers prefer to try before buying. To order a garment online is to take the risk of choosing a product on the basis of indications on measurements, colors and a photo to support everything. Impossible to know if the sizes are the right ones and if the color of the picture corresponds to the reality. Many customers have had the unpleasant surprise of discovering a product totally inadequate for them and out of step with their expectations. Online clothing sales sites have every interest in forging a good reputation and offering products in line with the product description.

To overcome this problem, most companies offer an after-sales service that includes the exchange of the product or even its refund if the customer is dissatisfied. Prudent steps that prove that e-commerce platforms are looking for customer satisfaction and market expansion. But these additional benefits are not enough, the conversion of the latest reluctant Internet users to e-commerce may still be laborious!

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