How E-Commerce Has Changed Business (and What To Do About It)

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E-commerce has changed how we shop, what we buy and how brands can sell their products. The average consumer now spends over two hours per week browsing online stores, which is just the beginning of how e-commerce has revolutionized how businesses approach marketing engagements.

Companies that have dominated the market for decades are finding it hard to hold their place, and companies that were once considered too outlandish have come to be at the top of their field. 

E-commerce changes business by bringing greater accessibility to the business world, making it easier for entrepreneurs to get started. As it continues to dominate many aspects of business, entrepreneurs can keep up by creating engaging content that helps build a loyal community. 

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In the rest of the article, we’ll take a look at how e-commerce has specifically changed the business world. We’ll also see how businesses can adapt to the changes and stay relevant in the modern landscape.

How Has E-Commerce Changed How We Do Business?

Picture of someone ordering online with credit card

It’s undeniable that e-commerce has radically changed the way businesses operate. As consumers, we have become well adapted to the ease and accessibility that e-commerce has brought to us. In order to stay relevant and successful, businesses will continue to look towards the direction of increased online business. 

Perhaps the biggest change that e-commerce has brought to how we do business is how businesses market themselves.

With just a few clicks, it’s easier than ever for customers to find products and compare prices between different stores. This will only become increasingly important in the future as e-commerce continues to grow.

Accessibility

E-commerce has made many things about business much more accessible. For entrepreneurs, many aspects of business that previously seemed out of reach are now possible. Starting an online business is something that can be done without much upfront financial investment. For example, at $10 the yearly price of a domain name is significantly less than the yearly rent of a storefront in a prime location. 

Potential customers are more accessible as well. Before the digital age, the customer base would largely be determined by the business’s physical location. The goods or services offered by the business would need to match the demand of the area as well as being suitable for customers to arrive easily.

This change has allowed more and more niche businesses to thrive.

For example, someone looking to open a vegan bakery may have struggled in the past in a town with a small vegan population. However, that same entrepreneur can now sell his or her vegan goods online to enthusiastic customers—regardless of the physical location. 

Even in fields like marketing, small businesses have previously never had the access they do now to compete with big companies. A small company with an innovative, creative social media strategy can amass followers and attention the same way a big company can.

Social media campaigns don’t necessarily require big budgets the way corporate ad campaigns do. This means that more and more business owners have the chance to compete fairly in this arena. 

The New Normal

E-commerce has made a new normal possible when it comes to consumer habits. A few decades ago, the idea of clicking on an item, processing a financial transaction, and getting the item delivered to your doorstep in two days (sometimes, even less) wouldn’t have been impossible. Nowadays, this is very much the norm and something that consumers have become very accustomed to. 

Consumer habits have changed as a result of increased e-commerce and the normalcy it has taken on in our everyday lives.

For many people, it would be strange nowadays to dial a number for a taxi cab, explain where they are and where they want to go, haggle over the price and physically pay at the end. Consumers have become so adjusted to rideshare apps that the old way of doing things can seem strange now.

Because of this psychological shift that has accompanied the rise of e-commerce, it’s very difficult for businesses to survive that have not adjusted to the new consciousness. Additionally, even for those who didn’t find themselves fully participating in the digital business, the pandemic has forced many people to adjust. 

During the lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, many people found themselves using apps and other platforms more than ever before. Essential goods were being delivered to people’s doorsteps, office meetings were being conducted over zoom, and favorite entertainment was being streamed in high quantities around the world. 

What To Do About It

Picture of a computer with statistics on screen

To be successful in a dramatically changing landscape, it’s important to keep up with the times and adjust methods as necessary.

This is particularly relevant in the world of business, as e-commerce has forever changed the terrain. The old marketing and sales models that were highly effective decades ago can no longer be solely relied upon. New methods are necessary to stay relevant and successful in the new digital age.

For example, as product photographers we are no longer limited to a specific geographical area or have to operate in a big city— because of e-commerce, we can work with clients from anywhere in the United States simply by getting products shipped to us. What once was advertising on a billboard is now simply an ad on a website or social media.

Before the digital revolution, advertising typically flowed in one direction.

A company created an ad campaign that was shown to consumers. It could be a TV commercial, a billboard, or an image in a magazine.

This advertisement was consumed by the public and, if successful, influenced people into buying a particular product. This is a kind of top-down flow, where information from a source (the ad from the company) is distributed to the public.

Nowadays, advertising is no longer flowing in a single direction. Everyone with an Instagram or other social media presence can be viewed as a company as a type of advertising agency.

We’ve seen the rise of social influencers or ordinary people who gain a sizable social media following and can turn that into a profitable way to advertise for companies.

However, an individual doesn’t need to be an influencer to be involved in this peer-to-peer advertising. For example, let’s say someone posts a picture of their coffee on Instagram and tags the cafe they are in.

This person has become involved in advertising that business. It’s not just about the number of people who see the post, but about the larger concept of turning customers into promoters.

So, if you’re wondering what steps you can take for your business, let’s take a look at a few core principles of successful marketing in the digital age.

Focus on Engaging Storytelling

One of the biggest problems for businesses is how quickly information can go around. In a world before e-commerce, people would generally only discover new things that were directly in front of them or through advertising, word of mouth and other forms of one-way communication.

Nowadays we have so many different channels and sources to receive information.

Instead of the traditional method of creating an advertisement in isolation to be consumed, try adjusting your mindset to creating engaging, narrative content that people will authentically react to.

With most social media platforms, you have the chance to interact with the people you’re looking to reach. It’s easy to measure the enthusiasm people are consuming your content through quantifiers such as likes, comments, shares, subscribers, or followers. 

Storytelling can be visual as well as written. Think about how you can create your business’s story in a way that will make people feel something or even inspire them to take action in their own lives. It doesn’t have to be long, it just has to leave an impression.

Mindfully Build a Community

As your target audience reacts to your content, consider how to incorporate this into your future posts.

You can reshare content from customers when they tag you or incorporate different ideas you receive from their reactions. When people feel involved in your brand, their loyalty will naturally become stronger. They’ll be more likely to continue consuming your goods and services as well as spreading the word about your business both online and offline. 

The modern way of thinking is that you’re creating a community. You don’t want to come across as if you were talking at your audience (or worse, talking down to them). Create content and interactions with people in mind and how it can make them feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.

Consider Consistency

In a world where thousands of companies are fighting for our attention, how do you stand out? One of the answers is consistency. It’s a lot easier to become a household name when you know how to keep people engaged across all the platforms you use.

As you look to build up your business’s social media presence, remember to keep it consistent across the different platforms. You may find yourself using several different social media platforms at once.

You can link many of these profiles and have the posts go out simultaneously. Aim to keep your branding and design consistent and keep your posts and responses regular across all of the platforms you use.  

Final Thoughts

It would seem that e-commerce has changed the business world for good. Businesses are looking to be increasingly digital, even the ones that have been traditionally brick and mortar.

The accessibility that the digital age has brought with it has given everyone a shot at success, and this doesn’t have to be intimidating.

By adjusting business practices and marketing strategies to match the times, companies can maintain success and relevancy. 

Benjamin

Benjamin

Hi, I'm Benjamin, Digital Media Strategist and product photographer for Skyline FBA. I have been involved in content creation for over 10 years and love helping people develop strategies to grow their business. My wife and I are Product Photographers that are experienced in Amazon FBA, eCommerce, Lifestyle, and Advertising photography.

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