What Is E-Retailing? Guide to Types and How It Works

E-retail, also known as e-tail, internet retail or online retail, stands for electronic retail. In e-retail, a business or individual sells retail products and services through online stores. An e-retail company can be a purely digital presence, meaning there is no physical store for a customer to enter.

Too many times to count, but you probably still remember how frustrating that experience can be and how that frustration could lead you to just give up on the purchase entirely when you were browsing through a brick-and-mortar store and came across an item of interest, but you weren’t able to get the attention of a store associate to provide more information or answer some questions.

When selling products online, your store can not only give thorough descriptions of each item but also supplement that written content with images. Some online shoppers may be persuaded to make a purchase if they can examine the stitching on a pair of shoes or read every ingredient on a bag of dog food up close.

Another annoying part of shopping in person: standing in lines. And every time you wait in line at a store, it seems like someone is at the head of the line asking a gazillion questions, whining about their expired coupon, or doing something else to waste everyone’s time.

Once more, e-retailing saves the day by allowing customers to completely avoid lines. You should make sure that your online store’s checkout process is as quick and easy as possible to prevent your customers from having a frustrating experience followed by another. The ability to do that depends in part on having a top-notch merchant service provider (MSP), and in part on how your purchasing process has been designed.

Have obvious CTAs (calls to action) so that customers can easily navigate through your store Select an MSP that supports a variety of payment methods, such as PayPal, Google Pay, and various credit cards. One last piece of advice regarding e-commerce payments: allocate funds to creating a solid cybersecurity plan. Avoid becoming a victim of online predators, as they can target even small businesses.

Fostering a personalized customer experience in a physical storefront depends on you and your staff remembering names and backstories. Ideally, you’ll have a lot of customers, which will obviously make it very difficult (if not impossible) to give every customer a personalized shopping experience.

In addition to that straightforward fix, there are many apps and plugins that can collect customer data and use it in original ways to interact with customers in a personalized way. You could, for instance, incorporate a tool that automatically displays a list of suggested products to returning customers based on their previous product searches or purchases. Making unique boxes for your brand is another choice. The more you treat your customers like VIPs, the more likely they are to come back and even recommend your store to their friends.

Selling in-person still has benefits over online retail, especially in terms of customer service. Since customers expect customer service during business hours, providing it in a physical storefront can be much simpler. Customers are aware that they must wait until you reopen the following day to get the assistance they need once the doors close and the lights go out.

However, customers who shop online are deprived of the opportunity to hold and feel a new device, smell a perfume, or try on a pair of shoes before making a decision. Therefore, if they purchase something and later discover that it isn’t what they expected, they will almost certainly contact your customer service. They’ll also probably anticipate a prompt response from a real representative given that the store is “open” 24/7.

Some customers may actually view offering customer service online as a strength. For instance, even if your online store doesn’t have staff available to respond to customer support requests around-the-clock, you can still use a chatbot to assist customers when business is slow. Using the power of technology can help you ensure that you provide at least some level of assistance to customers at all hours of the day—something that many (if not most) brick-and-mortar stores don’t.

Even though it certainly helps, an e-retailing company’s success isn’t solely dependent on how many sales it generates. It involves creating a clientele that regularly visits your store to make purchases. Customers can undoubtedly find products similar to yours elsewhere, after all. For them to come back to you, you must provide an unforgettable customer experience.

Use custom boxes that open in an unusual and interesting way so that the process of opening them becomes an experience in-and-of-itself. Other examples include choosing an attractive bottle shape for your organic hair conditioner, including cool designs on the informational leaflets you include in the box with the electronic devices you sell, and so forth.

Presenting customers with other products they might be interested in is one of the best ways to get them to return and make more purchases. By analyzing the products that customers are viewing and then using email marketing to send them similar product previews, that can be accomplished quite successfully. That tactic might initially be somewhat ineffective, but the more frequently a customer visits your online store, the simpler it is to execute successfully.

Online shoppers love to feel special and loved, so they demand this treatment. You can achieve this by creating exclusive, time-limited deals that are “just for them” and/or by informing them that a specific product they might be interested in is reserved just for them until a specific date.

By providing customers who have registered on your e-commerce website with coupon codes, you can also create special offers on a larger scale. Establishing a referral program to give both current and new customers a percentage off of their subsequent purchases is another discount strategy. Imagine what you would want to see as a customer; the options are endless!


How does e-retailing work?

Depending on the type of business and the goods and services it sells, different e-retailing strategies may be used. Here are some steps in the e-retailing process that the majority of businesses adhere to:

Marketing strategy

Strategies for online marketing and branding can help your company stand out from the competition. This is your first chance to interact with the client and draw their attention to your offering. Effective advertising campaigns, social media strategy, website design, and SEO best practices are all beneficial tools for lead generation and marketing strategy. One of your most effective marketing resources for e-commerce is your website. The best place to demonstrate what makes your products distinctive is here.

Engaging and easy-to-use selling platform

Once you have a potential customer’s attention, you need to keep them interested long enough for them to make a purchase. You can accomplish this by including vibrant patterns or special offers to keep clients interested and energized. For the customer, one of the biggest differences between traditional in-person shopping and online shopping is that the latter relies heavily on images rather than actual product inspection. This means that having high-quality images of your product on your website is also essential.

You can also focus on easy navigation. Customers are more likely to complete their purchase if they can access the necessary pages on your website quickly and easily. A user-friendly shopping platform may be made possible by e-catalogs or shopping cart features. To promote more sales, you might also incorporate links or pop-ups that point your customer toward additional products based on their interests.

Effective product distribution

Typically, expanding into e-retailing requires a larger product distribution system. If you’re selling physical goods, you might need to increase the number of shipping and handling employees and warehouse space to keep up with rising online demand. Processes for product delivery that are quick and effective could influence customers’ purchasing decisions. For instance, a customer might specifically search for online retailers that can meet their needs if they need a product in the next three days.

Additionally, it’s critical to include accurate delivery time estimates to promote customer loyalty and trust. This is particularly true for returns or exchanges. E-commerce implies that the customer has only interacted with the product online, and that the likelihood of returns may be higher than in a physical store. By making sure that your return procedure and policy are clear and that shipping and handling are quick and careful, you can account for this.

Customer data analytics

Keeping track of customer information can result in future sales and revenue growth. Along with sales, you can monitor and examine who visits your website, what they look at, and how long they stay on each page. Based on page views, this could help you identify new audiences to target or changes that might better streamline your website. You can also start online customer service systems or improve your customer relationship management tools using this information.

What is e-retailing?

Selling products or services online is referred to as electronic retailing, e-retailing, e-tailing, or internet retailing. This market is expanding quickly, providing customers with greater access and convenience and businesses with relatively quick and simple sales opportunities. Most e-retailers fall into one of two categories:

1. Pure play e-tailers

These businesses only conduct business through online retail. They don’t have a physical location where customers can come in and interact with the products; instead, they only make sales online. They can do so to avoid conventional costs like rent for storefronts, cashiers, or shopping assistants. Other benefits for pure-play online retailers include the capacity to provide a broad range of goods, 24/7 shopping options, and global reach.

2. Brick-and-click e-tailers

These are shops that offer both traditional physical spaces and an online shopping option. They could use their online stores to increase sales, target audiences, and company reach beyond what a conventional brick-and-mortar storefront could. Meanwhile, having a physical store may help encourage customer loyalty. It may also seek out casual bystanders and those who lack access to online shopping as potential clients.

Since most physical stores now have an online shop due to the popularity of online sales, they are known as “brick-and-click” e-tailers. An example of a brick-and-click e-tailer is a computer retailer that does the majority of its business online but still keeps a few physical locations where customers can visit to inquire about products or browse inventory.

Types of e-retailing

There are two main types of e-retailing:

1. Business-to-business (B2B) e-retailing

This type of retailing involves a company selling its goods or services directly to another company or business online. One typical B2B partnership involves a wholesaler and a smaller company. The smaller business can purchase an item from the wholesaler in bulk and then resell it to individual customers. As an alternative, a wholesaler may sell a component that a smaller business needs to make its product online. This category of sales also includes software developers, service providers, freelancers, and consultants.

Online B2B transactions often involve large quantities of the product. As a result, price is crucial because it could significantly affect the client company’s budget and decision-making process. Due to the possibility that the client company must receive the product before they can finish their own product process, responsible and prompt shipping and handling are also essential.

2. Business-to-consumer (B2C) e-retailing

When businesses sell their goods or services directly to customers online, this is known as “business-to-consumer e-retailing.” B2C e-retailing includes actions like a customer purchasing a branded mug from a business’ website. This e-commerce model can also use subscription-based models, which rely on regular payments (monthly or annually) to maintain access to a service or selection of goods. For instance, a lot of streaming services use B2C e-retailing transactions to sell their services directly to customers using subscription-based business models.

Consumers may base their purchasing choices for this type of online retail on the cost and anticipated delivery date. Additionally, customers anticipate that the product’s quality will correspond to its description. To entice users to post favorable reviews on your e-commerce platform, consider adding a rating or review section. This could help allay concerns about product quality from potential new customers, which could increase sales.


What is online retailing called?

Components of a Successful eCommerce Business Strategy
  • Customer Engagement. …
  • Quality of your Products. …
  • Standardization of your Product Prices. …
  • Ensuring your Store Security. …
  • Reliable and Trusted Customer Support. …
  • Enabling M-Commerce. …
  • Utilize the Power of Social Media.

What are the steps involved in e retailing?

Electronic retailing, also known as “e-tailing,” is an online marketplace that allows customers to buy and sell products directly from merchants without having to see them first.

Is e-commerce and e retailing same?

Building on the experience of our team in all-around ecommerce services, I will walk you through the key steps of launching an online retail store.
  • Find your market niche. …
  • Organize manufacturing and supply chain. …
  • Create a business plan. …
  • Build an ecommerce website. …
  • Launch the web store. …
  • Plan a marketing strategy.

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