E-tailing is a term that is used to refer to the selling of goods and services using the internet as the medium. It is a short term for the words ‘electronic retailing’ and it has been in the market discussion from 1995 up to date. E-tailing is therefore basically the selling of retail goods on the internet through email solicitation. E-tailing goes hand-in-hand with the business to customer transactions as the term inevitably substitutes e-business and e-mailing as well. E-tailing can be considered as another form of non-store retailing and it has over the years gained some insight into its potential impact on the retailing market.
E-tailing requires businesses to tailor traditional business models to the rapidly changing face of the internet and its users. They are not restricted solely to the internet and rather some brick-and-mortar businesses also operate websites to reach customers as well. Many companies that created the online retail industry by putting the entire customer experience – from browsing products to placing the orders to paying for the purchases- on the internet, have seen and reaped success and have therefore encouraged many more to venture into e-tailing as a form of business transaction. E-tailing made it easy for customers to shop at their own convenient time no matter the position or time of purchase and has greatly become an important part of the retail environment.
Why should Companies Use E-tailing?
E-tailing has certain advantages over many retail services that could really prove helpful to many companies especially in the UAE. It includes some advantages to the consumer that no other form of retailing can provide, as the hypertext nature of the medium allows for more flexible forms of transactions i.e. growth of C2B and C2C clearly illustrates it’s benefits. The following are some benefits or advantages that come along from using e-tailing services;
- Companies should use E-tailing services to be able to create a larger pool for accessibility of the companies’ products. By this, the consumers have a much wider choice at their fingertips from the many e-tailing websites available. Thus the web/ E-tailing create a bazaar style marketplace that brings together many consumers and retailers.
- Companies that plan to start or commence are therefore the main beneficiaries of e-tailing services i.e. a company can be able to start with lesser investment as compared to starting a retail shop physically. Compared to traditional offline retailing, e-tailing does not require companies or businesses to send a lot of capital for showrooms, outlets, shops, and renting commercial areas so as to make them visible.
- A major advantage of using E-tailing services is that it enables the company/ business to personally interact with its consumers. By this consumers can give their immediate feedback about a particular product or products and hence ensures quality in services provided. The companies will be able to improve where criticized and at the end it will certainly increase the rate of satisfied customers and hence more profits to the businesses.
- E-tailing services provide the companies with great and different promotional platforms. A physical store or building is only restricted in its place of visibility and accessibility, this means that the company can only operate are best if the location can be seen and be accessed by the public either at the store , the mall or as the case may be. Websites E-tailing on the other hand creates greater access and visibility even worldwide allowing business to reach a wider market.
- Companies and businesses should use E-tailing services for ease of location for the business. With variable search engines, consumers can be able to locate your business or company and also its branches easily. By this, consumers just search the type of product the company offers and the next available branch near them. This increases the business pool of profits and hence enlargement of the companies.
- E-tailing makes it convenient for both the company and the consumer compared to offline transactions, as it allows the companies to provide more complete information on the website as about the products prices, warranty, negotiations and so on. This is better than the information in the brochures that is being supplied by sales representatives.
- Customers can be able to execute transactions via the same medium the information is provided. By using E-tailing services ensures that there is no disconnection between the desire to purchase a good and the ability to do so. This is greatly due to the fact that payment schemes are still changing and therefore this advantage is likely to become more apparent in the near future.
These evolutions can create less friction in market places, and therefore, increases the use of E-tailing services as a retail environment. This will effectively benefit marketers who provide products with real value, and consumers in general. E-tailing services also embraces the different types of payment available globally i.e. credit card transactions are becoming more and more preferred mode of payment for the web as compared to cash payment. Credit card providers take a percentage of the transaction, and this is higher for the web than in traditional offline retail store. These modes of payment includes, PayPal used in EBay services and smart cards. But for markets to grow potentially these modes of payment needs to be standardized to reduce friction in markets.
E-tailing as a service has ensured the success and growth of most businesses and companies at large. It is therefore a sure way to make money, create employment and reach consumers from different parts of the world. Although e-tailing has proved to be helpful, it has some shortcomings that may face a company using it. Not all consumers targeted have access to the web as some of them only acknowledge postal systems. Delivery channels can also pose a major problem to the companies using E-tailing as consumers come from different parts of the world and the delivery might take long or simply not secure enough for goods to be transported. This will penalize most marketers and increase costs in the firm.