Much like a traditional physical retail store, ecommerce websites allow consumers and businesses to buy and sell to one another on a designated platform. The main difference between e-commerce and physical commerce, however, is that e-commerce transactions occur entirely over the internet rather than at a brick-and-mortar location.
Types of e-commerce sites
The scope of e-commerce is vast, but the types of sites that host electronic transactions can be broken down according to the parties involved.
- Business-to-consumer (B2C): Probably the most familiar to the average person, a B2C site enables an exchange of goods or services between a business and a consumer, such as buying a T-shirt from your favorite online shop.
- Business-to-business (B2B): A B2B platform facilitates electronic transactions between two businesses. If you own a company that sells T-shirts, for example, you might buy those shirts from an online wholesaler.
- Business-to-administration (B2A): A B2A site facilitates electronic exchanges between an organization and a public institution, like the website of a company that designed your city’s web portal, for instance.
- Consumer-to-consumer (C2C): A C2C site, often known as a marketplace, hosts an exchange of goods between 2 or more consumers. Examples include websites like Etsy and eBay.
- Consumer-to-business (C2B): On a C2B site, individuals offer goods or services to businesses. This could be a freelance SEO expert who works with companies in a certain industry or an influence paid to promote a company’s products.
- Consumer-to-administration (C2A): Similar to B2A, this type of site allows a consumer to provide information, goods, or services to public administration and governmental organizations—think paying a parking ticket on your city’s web portal.
Types of products sold via E-commerce
The digital component of e-commerce allows sellers to offer a wide range of products, some of which wouldn’t be possible to sell in a physical location.
Items such as clothing, furniture, food, or supplies are tangible products that can be stored in a warehouse. Sellers display goods on their e-commerce website, where consumers can like, save, or purchase them. Upon purchase, the business ships the item to the customer.
E-commerce sites are also a popular way to sell services, like consultations, maintenance, tutoring, lessons, and more. Whether you want to learn to code a website or you’re looking for an experienced trainer to help fix your dog’s troublesome barking habit, there’s no shortage of assistance available online.
Digital products—like online courses, software, podcasts, music, and e-books—are becoming increasingly popular on e-commerce sites as well. The rise of digital products has opened up a new way to learn skills on demand.