What Is eCommerce?

E-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services via the Internet. This can be done through a website, social media page, or online advertisement.

At times, it’s also called electronic commerce or internet commerce.

Back in 1994 was a CD from the musician Sting bought via a website known as NetMarket — and eCommerce was born. This is believed by many to be the first-ever online sale that took place!

Over time, eCommerce has grown and grown to become the primary revenue source for many brands.

Examples of eCommerce

So, the question is, what qualifies as eCommerce?

Well, let’s take a look:

  • Retail: Selling goods directly to a consumer without an intermediary.
  • Dropshipping: Selling (or re-selling) products manufactured and delivered to customers via a third party.
  • Digital products: Downloadable items such as e-books, courses, software, templates, or most recently, NFT that must be purchased for use. 
  • Wholesale: These are goods that are sold in bulk. Wholesale products are typically sold to a retailer (B2B), who can then sell them directly to consumers.
  • Services: These include services or skills such as coaching, writing, and marketing that can be purchased and accessed digitally.
  • Subscription: Subscription services such as Netflix or Spotify are when users sign up for a recurring purchase of products or services (often billed monthly or yearly).
  • Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding lets sellers collect startup capital from people so that they can start a new brand or bring a new product into the market. Once enough consumers have purchased such an item, only then is it created and shipped.

Why eCommerce Works

Now that we know what eCommerce is, let’s talk about its advantages. 

Why is it that eCommerce ends up successful?

1. Convenience

For starters, digital commerce means that customers can buy products with the click of a few buttons, making the entire process quick and convenient. There’s often the option of quick delivery and easy returns right from your doorstep.

2. Personalization & Customer Experience

E-commerce markets can collect useful data on customers which can then help them create personalized products better suited to the needs of customers. 

While browsing an online shopping site, you may have noticed that you’re often recommended other similar products that may be of interest to you.  Overall, eCommerce has improved customer experience and helped sellers to manage their stock more effectively.

3. Global Market

Online commerce means that goods and services can reach potential customers around the globe. Companies are no longer restricted by physical barriers or their store’s location! Thanks to the power of the Internet, Businesses can reach people all over the world 

4. Reduced Costs

Lastly, the kind of money sellers can save because they no longer need to operate physical stores is immense! People can essentially launch completely new “stores” from the comfort of their homes.ECommerce also saves money for consumers because the cost of traveling to a store is eliminated. 

Types of eCommerce Models

As eCommerce has become more dominant in the business world, various models have come up. 

Here are some of the most common ones:

1. Business to Consumer (B2C)

B2C e-commerce is the leading eCommerce model in business right now. It means that brands sell directly to consumers, for instance, when you buy makeup products from an online retailer.

2. Business to Business (B2B)

B2B eCommerce is when a business sells a service or product to another business, for example, the relationship that a manufacturer and wholesaler have is B2B. This process typically involves products such as raw materials, software, professional services, and labor. Manufacturers may also sell directly to retailers via B2B eCommerce.

3. Direct to Consumer (D2C)

Direct-to-consumer eCommerce is the newest model there is today.  It implies that a brand (that creates a product or service) sells directly to the end consumer without going through a retailer, wholesaler, or distributor. One of the best examples of D2C is subscription-based services, such as Netflix or Disney+. 

4. Consumer to Consumer (C2C)

C2C eCommerce is a relatively less common kind of eCommerce model but becoming fairly prevalent with time. Consumer-to-consumer sales can take place on platforms such as eBay, Etsy, Fiverr, etc.

5. Consumer to Business (C2B)

Finally, consumer-to-business is the flip side of B2C. When a consumer sells something back to a company, this can be anything from information to professional services such as photography, consultancy, copywriting, content creation, and more.


Key Takeaway

With its many different models, eCommerce can be a great way to sell or trade products and services in the modern, digitally-driven world. Businesses and customers alike can benefit from online trade due to its easy access, cost-effectiveness, and convenience.