At one time, people were concerned about what would happen with the rise of e-commerce and what it might mean for retail. Retail opportunities may be spread across a range of mediums, but how are these industries adapting to a world where shopping happens virtually?
With more and more aspects of our lives taking place online, we may not even think of our online habits as practical applications of e-commerce. From mobile banking to one-click online shopping, e-commerce has become fully integrated into our daily lives and continues to influence our behaviors and expectations.
E-commerce has applications in many aspects of modern life, influencing the ads we see online, how we interact with our banks, the stock exchange, our favorite stores, educational institutions, home office, and our favorite sources of entertainment.
In the rest of this article, I’ll look at each of these applications in greater depth. Then, we’ll cover how e-commerce touches various industries and how it shows up regularly in our modern, fast-paced lives.
Data Collection, Online Marketing, and Advertising
Before the digital age, we were used to seeing advertisements on tv, billboards, or in magazines. However, with the development of e-commerce, the field of marketing and advertising has changed as well. The internet and its many platforms have provided a brand new frontier for ad placements and optimization that could only be dreamed of in times past.
If you open apps on your phone or a browser on your computer, it won’t be long until you encounter your first ad. We’ve become used to seeing ads on websites, articles, or at the beginning of online videos.
What’s interesting about these ads is how they have become targeted. Before the digital age, everyone saw the same image on a billboard or the same picture in a magazine. Now, according to online data collected about you, the advertisement you see can be different from that of your friends.
This new advertising model has become a powerful application of e-commerce. Ads can now be shown directly to people most likely interested in the product or service. This is highly valuable in the marketing world. From data collection to advertising campaigns to innovative online marketing plans that follow you around the internet, e-commerce has forever changed the advertising world.
E-Banking and Finance
E-commerce has also had a large impact in the world of finance. If you look at your phone right now, you probably have an app for your particular bank. The ability to digitally make deposits, transfer funds, check balances, send money and pay bills have all been a result of the financial industry applying e-commerce in their field.
In fact, many small banks that don’t yet have the ability for online banking services like remote check depositing is now considered archaic.
The applications of e-commerce in the field of finance don’t stop there either. Transferring money overseas with the best exchange rates has become an attractive application as well as stock market trading. If you want to keep an eye on your investment in the stock market, you can easily do so by using an app on your phone without ever having to talk to anyone.
People can monitor, buy, sell, and analyze stocks as a result of e-commerce.
New Ways to Shop
As online banking has made it easier and easier to send money and make payments, online shopping has exploded in popularity.
There are countless ways that e-commerce has been applied in the world of internet purchasing. Some online shops are stores that existed before e-commerce and have extended their business, while other shops that failed to answer the call of growing e-commerce demands find themselves going out of business.
Other platforms, however, have developed completely online. The company and the customer can find each other on an online platform and conduct their business without any relation in the real world. If you have the space, you can operate a store completely online out of your garage. Products can be selected, paid for, and shipped, regardless of location.
Online shopping has reached all corners of the retail market. From handmade crafts on sites like Etsy to commercial giants like Amazon or Alibaba, e-commerce has completely changed our shopping methods in the modern world.
You can shop at any moment of the day from the comfort of your home. Fast and free shipping has made online shopping an incredibly attractive option for many.
Distance Education and Online Learning
Another place where the world of e-commerce has offered innovation is in the field of education. As seen at the height of the pandemic, traditional schooling can even be transformed into an electronic model.
Online education has taken unexpected forms like MOOCS (massive online open courses) and flipped classrooms that refuse to acknowledge physical textbooks.
In fact, with e-commerce at the helm of these new educational methods, they have been able to offer what traditional schools can’t.
- First, students are motivated by the opportunity to learn all the things they couldn’t fit in their schedule of school and work.
- Second, they’ve been able to lower fees due to the lack of labor required for each individual student. This has allowed online schools the opportunity to open doors that were previously closed due to financial limitations.
Private education companies can be found for just about any topic, and students no longer need to waste their time with course materials unrelated to their educational goals that traditional colleges would enforce. If you’re interested in finding a music teacher or a language tutor, for example, this can be done through an online platform.
Additionally, pre-recorded courses for purchase have become increasingly popular. If there’s a skill you’re looking to develop, sites like Udemy or Skillshare offer courses on demand for the price of a subscription. Even Youtube can be considered an educational platform with its countless free tutorials and experts sharing their knowledge.
Home Office Innovations
In addition to distance education, e-commerce communication technologies have been vital in transitioning to the home office.
E-commerce has had an opportunity to expand in the days of the pandemic as more and more people looked for solutions to work at home and far from their colleagues. Companies like Zoom or other similar platforms are a modern example of how e-commerce is always expanding.
No longer are long commutes to the office needed now that businesses are discovering the flexibility and power of the internet.
Besides helping people to move from traditional work environments to the home office, e-commerce has also created a space for many to start their own businesses. E-commerce has made many markets more accessible to entrepreneurs across many fields. For example, because of e-commerce, it’s easier than ever to open an online shop or offer a course online.
Entertainment and Subscription Services
One of the e-commerce sectors we might be most familiar with is entertainment. Companies like Netflix or Spotify have become so integrated into our daily life that it can be easy to forget that digital services are part of the e-commerce boom. The subscription model is a popular model for entertainment e-commerce companies.
For the price of a monthly subscription, companies offer a streaming service of some kind. It might be music, videos, podcasts, or something similar. Sometimes free versions are available, but they’re offered free to you because of the advertising potential they contain.
In addition to subscription streaming services, some companies offer digital downloads. While in the past we used to buy CDs or books from a store, now we consume and pay for these products digitally. You can purchase an album from your favorite band, download the files and listen—all from your phone or computer.
With books, e-readers have become hugely popular, Amazon’s Kindle being a great example. However, you don’t necessarily need a special device to enjoy an e-book. All you need is to purchase and download books digitally. Then, read it from any compatible device, including your phone or computer.
One final application of e-commerce in the modern world is the services we can now order with our phone. There are countless platforms that allow us to order a car and driver at a moment’s notice or a hot meal from our favorite restaurant when we’re hungry. You usually select and pay for these items digitally and make them arrive in real life within a short time.
As people around the world stayed home during the pandemic, this field of e-commerce became even more urgent. People turned to e-commerce for groceries, supplies, and meals when it became complicated to leave home and interact with others.
E-commerce has experienced great success spreading through different industries and parts of our lives. From our finances to our shopping habits to our entertainment needs, innovative entrepreneurs are constantly finding new ways for e-commerce platforms to meet our needs and make our lives easier.
Digital ride-hailing services, streaming providers, distance-learning options, and online shops are all examples of e-commerce applications. The ads you constantly pump into your browser or other digital settings, online food and package delivery services, and the international remote payments have also taken e-commerce to new heights.