E-commerce in the United Kingdom
E-commerce is the utilize and implementation of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the management and control of business processes and activities (Chaffey et al, 2012). It includes all forms of online transactions between organizations or individuals, such as buying and selling goods, services, information or payments (Rai et al, 2014). The utilization of e-commerce has grown rapidly over the past few years with the advent of new technologies and the increase in internet usage. In 2017, e-commerce sales in the United Kingdom (UK) amounted to £133.5 billion, representing a 14.2% increase from the previous year (Office for National Statistics [ONS], 2018). There are various reasons for this growth, including the increasing number of people shopping online, the wider range of products and services available online, and the convenience of e-commerce (Chaffey et al, 2012).
The UK has a well-developed infrastructure for e-commerce with a high penetration of Internet users and a high level of online spending per capita. In 2017, 91% of households had access to the internet and 94% of adults had used the internet in the last 3 months (ONS, 2018). Furthermore, UK consumers spent an average of £1,291 per person on online shopping in 2016, which was higher than any other country in Europe (Eurostat, 2017). This paper will provide an overview of the different types of e-commerce that are prevalent in the UK market.
2. Definitions and types of e-commerce
E-commerce can be divided into four main categories: business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), consumer-to-consumer (C2C), and consumer-to-business (C2B) (Rai et al, 2014). B2B e-commerce refers to transactions between two businesses, such as suppliers and manufacturers. B2C e-commerce involves transactions between businesses and consumers, such as online retail. C2C e-commerce occurs when consumers sell goods or services to other consumers through an online platform. C2B e-commerce takes place when consumers provide goods or services to businesses in exchange for payment (Rai et al, 2014). In this section, we will discuss three common types of e-commerce platforms that are used in the UK market: e-commerce platforms, collaborative platforms, and social computing platforms.
2. 1 E commerce platforms
An eCommerce platform is a software application that enables businesses to create an online store and sell their products or services electronically (Chaffey et al., 2012). There are two main types of eCommerce platforms: hosted and self-hosted. Hosted solutions are provided by third-party service providers who manage all aspects of the platform including hosting, security, updates, and customer support. Self-hosted solutions require businesses to install and set up the software on their own servers. They are typically more expensive than hosted solutions but offer more flexibility in terms of design and functionality. Some popular examples of eCommerce platforms used in the UK include Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, and PrestaShop.
2. 2 E auctions
E auctions are online marketplaces that enable buyers and sellers to bid on products or services electronically (Chaffey et al., 2012). E-auctions can either be open to all participants or restricted to pre-approved buyers and sellers. The auction process is usually managed by a third-party service provider who sets the rules of the auction and takes a commission on each transaction. E-auctions are typically used to sell high-value goods or services such as vehicles, property, and industrial equipment. Some popular examples of e-auction platforms used in the UK include eBay, Amazon Marketplace, and Alibaba.
2. 3 Collaborative platforms
Collaborative platforms are online platforms that enable businesses to collaborate with each other electronically (Rai et al., 2014). Collaborative platforms provide a shared workspace for businesses to exchange documents, share ideas, and work on projects together. They often include features such as real-time chat, video conferencing, and task management. Some popular examples of collaborative platforms used in the UK include Google Docs, Dropbox Paper, and Microsoft Office 365.
2. 4 Social computing
Social computing platforms are online platforms that enable users to interact with each other and share information (Rai et al., 2014). Social computing platforms typically include features such as social networking, blogs, microblogs, discussion forums, and user-generated content. They can be used for personal or business purposes. Some popular examples of social computing platforms used in the UK include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
In conclusion, eCommerce is the utilization of ICT in the management and control of business processes and activities. It includes all forms of online transactions between organizations or individuals. The UK has a well-developed infrastructure for eCommerce with a high penetration of Internet users and a high level of online spending per capita. There are four main types of eCommerce: business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), consumer-to-consumer (C2C), and consumer-to-business (C2B). The three most common types of eCommerce platforms used in the UK market are eCommerce platforms, collaborative platforms, and social computing platforms.