What is Ecommerce - Definition and Examples (2023)

1. What Is Ecommerce?

2. Ecommerce on the Rise

3. Benefits

4. Business Models

5. Sell Online

According to a recent survey, 56% of organizations expect the majority of their revenue to come from ecommerce within the next three years.

This presents a ton of opportunity for business owners to take their businesses online and sell products through ecommerce.

The answer to the question “What is ecommerce?” is multifaceted. Beyond simply the act of selling online, ecommerce extends to different types of businesses and can involve selling across a variety of channels.

Savvy business owners see the potential in putting their products in front of where their customers are: online. Ecommerce is revolutionizing how businesses market their products, process orders, and offer support to their customers.

In this guide, we’re defining what ecommerce is, how it works, and how you can establish a successful ecommerce brand that thrives online.

What Is Ecommerce?

Ecommerce (electronic commerce) refers to all online activity that involves the buying and selling of products and services. In other words, ecommerce is a process for conducting transactions online.

When you go to your favorite online retailer to buy a new pair of shoes, you’re engaging in ecommerce. If you pay online to attend a music concert or buy a plane ticket through the airline’s website, that’s ecommerce, too.

Ecommerce doesn’t only occur on desktop, though. In fact, most ecommerce traffic is driven through mobile commerce. Spurred by the influence of smartphones and the comfort of online shopping, mobile commerce sales are expected to account for more than half of all ecommerce sales by 2021.

Ecommerce on the Rise

It’s predicted that worldwide ecommerce will reach $5 trillion by 2021 according to eMarketer.

To stay ahead of the curve, many business owners are taking their businesses online — not only by having a website but by selling their products and services directly through their website and other ecommerce platforms.

The latest ecommerce statistics highlight the fact that online shopping behavior is changing and that customer preferences are driving ecommerce growth:

To maximize sales and provide the tailored experience customers are looking for, it’s important to stay on top of the latest business trends. It’s clear that ecommerce is booming internationally, so now is the time to consider ecommerce as a viable business. With 95% of all purchases expected to be transacted via ecommerce by 2040, it’s not too late to ride the ecommerce wave.

The Benefits of Ecommerce

While there are many reasons to start an ecommerce business, there are some amazing benefits you can expect once you get your business off the ground.

The benefits go far beyond the convenience of running your business online. Here are a few of the benefits to look forward to once you launch your online store:

  • Convenience. Ecommerce provides the best in convenience and accessibility. Customers can find exactly what they need, at any time, directly from their desktop or mobile device. More convenience for the customer translates into more business for your company.

  • Earnings While You Sleep. The internet never sleeps. With a physical store, you likely operate during regular business hours. With ecommerce, your products are available for purchase at any time to customers around the world.

  • Scalability. As your customer base grows, you can expand your ecommerce businesses to accommodate more sales. While expanding your physical store typically means relocating or renovating (which can be expensive), you’ll simply need to increase the bandwidth on your ecommerce platform to accommodate more traffic and orders. And, you can predict future sales based on past sales data and scale your platform up or down accordingly.

  • Personalized Experiences. With ecommerce, you can leverage the power of AI to create a personalized shopping experience for your customers. With AI-enabled up-selling and cross-selling, you present customers with products they’re most likely to be interested in, increasing your business’s sales.

  • Access to Innovative Technology. As technology continues to improve, you’ll find more ways to streamline your business processes — saving you time and money. With a physical store, there can be limitations to what technology can do. With ecommerce, you’ll find a range of apps and integrations that help you market your products, improve team collaboration, and provide faster customer service.

  • Affordable and Effective Marketing. Rather than rely on traditional marketing methods like print ads to drive traffic to a physical store, you’ll have a range of affordable marketing channels to drive customers to your ecommerce business. Search engine marketing, organic and paid social media ads, and email marketing allow you to reach a segmented market for a lower cost.

The Different Types of Ecommerce Business Models

Whether you sell products directly to customers or sell services to other businesses, you can sell online with ecommerce. In fact, there are many types of ecommerce models for you to consider before launching your online store.

Here are some of the different types of ecommerce businesses to choose from:

B2C — Business to Consumer

B2C ecommerce refers to selling goods or services to individual customers. B2C is what most people think of when they hear the term “ecommerce business.”

Traditional B2C sales occur between a business and a single customer. In this model, a shopper finds a business online and places an order, and the business sends the product to the customer. A B2C ecommerce strategy, then, involves leveraging consumer data to get a full view of consumers across their online shopping journeys.

What is Ecommerce - Definition and Examples (1)

B2B — Business to Business

B2B ecommerce refers to selling products or services to businesses. B2B companies typically have a higher order value and more recurring purchases.

B2B ecommerce products may include manufacturing equipment, distribution, website hosting services, financial services, or software solutions for businesses, just to name a few. These businesses provide other businesses with the products or services they need in order to grow.

(Video) What is eCommerce?

What is Ecommerce - Definition and Examples (2)

D2C — Direct to Consumer

D2C ecommerce is similar to B2C in that the end customer is an individual consumer, but differs in that it gives manufacturers the opportunity to sell directly to consumers instead of or in addition to using third-party retailers or wholesalers.

Sell Online with Ecommerce

Ecommerce is a proven business model that helps drive revenue growth for some of the world’s largest brands. By getting started with ecommerce, you can reach more customers online and significantly increase your business revenue.

Visit Commerce Cloud today or check out our latest ecommerce resources and learn how to connect commerce to the full customer experience. To explore more about how partnership helps you scale and succeed, download the “Commerce Growth from Day 1 and Beyond” guide.

Next Chapter

What is Ecommerce - Definition and Examples (3)


Salesforce B2C Commerce can help you create unified, intelligent digital commerce experiences — both online and in the store.


(Video) What is E-Commerce? Definition, Types, and Business Models

What is Ecommerce - Definition and Examples (4)


Salesforce B2B Commerce offers buyers seamless, self-service online shopping experiences with all the B2B functionality they demand.


Getting Started with Ecommerce


What is ecommerce?

(Video) What is ecommerce? Definition and Meaning (2020 Version)

Chapter 1

How has ecommerce transformed business?

Chapter 2

How do you choose the best ecommerce platform?

Chapter 3

What are the key features of an ecommerce website?

Chapter 4

What are the vital metrics for ecommerce success?

Chapter 5

What are the keys to a winning ecommerce strategy?

(Video) e-Commerce Vs e-Business: Difference between them with definition, types & comparison chart

Chapter 6

Why Commerce Cloud is the world’s leading ecommerce platform.


What is Ecommerce - Definition and Examples? ›

E-commerce (electronic commerce) is the buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network, primarily the internet. These business transactions occur either as business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), consumer-to-consumer or consumer-to-business.

What is ecommerce in simple words? ›

Ecommerce is a method of buying and selling goods and services online. The definition of ecommerce business can also include tactics like affiliate marketing. You can use ecommerce channels such as your own website, an established selling website like Amazon, or social media to drive online sales.

What are the 3 types of e-commerce with examples? ›

There are three main types of e-commerce: business-to-business (websites such as Shopify), business-to-consumer (websites such as Amazon), and consumer-to-consumer (websites such as eBay).

What are the 4 types of e-commerce? ›

The Most Common Types of Ecommerce Business Models
  • B2C (Business-to-consumer). B2C businesses sell directly to their end-users. ...
  • B2B (Business-to-business). ...
  • B2B2C (Business-to-business-to-consumer). ...
  • B2G (Business-to-government). ...
  • C2B (Consumer-to-business). ...
  • D2C (Direct-to-consumer). ...
  • C2C (Consumer-to-consumer).

Which is the most popular example of e-commerce? ›

Top Examples of Ecommerce. There are some pretty major examples of ecommerce businesses that have made it big, including Amazon, FlipKart, eBay, and Myntra.

What is ecommerce called now? ›

E-commerce is the buying and selling of goods or services via the internet, and the transfer of money and data to complete the sales. It's also known as electronic commerce or internet commerce.

What is the purpose of e-commerce? ›

An e-commerce website is one that allows people to buy and sell physical goods, services, and digital products over the internet rather than at a brick-and-mortar location. Through an e-commerce website, a business can process orders, accept payments, manage shipping and logistics, and provide customer service.

What are the benefits of e-commerce? ›

Here's a full breakdown of some of the biggest e-commerce benefits.
  • Reduced overhead costs. Running an e-commerce store is a lot more cost-effective than running a physical store. ...
  • No need for a physical storefront. ...
  • Ability to reach a broader audience. ...
  • Scalability. ...
  • Track logistics.

What are the 3 most important types of e-commerce? ›

Types of ecommerce include business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), and consumer-to-consumer (C2C).

What are the three services of e-commerce? ›

There are three areas of e-commerce: online retailing, electronic markets, and online auctions.

Which ecommerce type is the most successful? ›

Business to Consumer (B2C)

This is the most popular e-commerce business model, and it typically requires the least amount of time to make a sale. It's typical for B2C businesses to use technology to connect with their target audience, employing things like mobile apps and retargeting ads.

What are the four C's in e-commerce? ›

The 4 C's of Marketing are Customer, Cost, Convenience, and Communication.

Which type of e-commerce is Amazon? ›

Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C).

One of the earliest forms of ecommerce, consumer-to-customer ecommerce relates to the sale of products or services between customers. This includes C2C selling relationships, such as those seen on eBay or Amazon.

What is the most used ecommerce in USA? ›

amazon.com ranked number 1 and is the most visited eCommerce & Shopping website in United States in May 2023, followed by ebay.com as the runner up, and walmart.com ranking at 3rd place as the leaders of the eCommerce & Shopping websites in United States.

What is the biggest e-commerce USA? ›

Amazon is not only the USA's leading e-commerce store but also the leading e-commerce store worldwide. According to Statista reports, Amazon's revenues crossed $33 billion in 2021, making them one of the largest businesses in the world.

Who uses ecommerce the most? ›

Walmart, eBay and AliExpress are the most visited e-commerce websites. There are countless e-commerce websites but Walmart, eBay and AliExpress win in the popularity department. As of December 2022, Walmart.com was the most visited e-commerce website with about 854.9 million monthly visits.

What is the biggest e-commerce shopping? ›


What is the difference between e-commerce and online shopping? ›

According to Candice V Cunningham, founder of the nonprofit organization The Black Ecosystem in Chicago, e-commerce refers to all aspects of operating a business online, and online shopping refers to the online selling and purchasing of goods and services.

Is e-commerce still a thing? ›

Year-to-date e-commerce sales in the US have grown 87% from the same period in 2019, before the pandemic. Total US e-commerce sales for the entire period of the pandemic (from Q2 2020 through Q3 2022) are more than $630B higher than pre-pandemic forecasts.

What are the main activities of e-commerce? ›

E-commerce (electronic commerce) is the buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network, primarily the internet. These business transactions occur either as business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), consumer-to-consumer or consumer-to-business.

How does e-commerce start? ›

Starting an e-commerce business is a lot like starting any company — you'll need to create a business plan, get licenses and permits and set up dedicated finances. You'll also need to choose an e-commerce website builder, source your products and market to online customers.

What are the pros and cons of e-commerce? ›

Comparison Table for Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Commerce
Order can be placed from anywhere at any time.There is no guarantee for the quality of products.
Eliminates the operating cost.Lack of personal touch.
3 more rows
Mar 30, 2023

Why are people hesitant to shop online? ›

The concern over personal data is usually because a shopper fears that the information will be sold to external sources or they are worried their email will be spammed. Put your customers at ease by showing them that you won't be selling any of their data.

What are the 8 key elements of e-commerce? ›

Top 8 Essential Elements of a Successful eCommerce website
  • Responsive design. ...
  • Web speed optimization. ...
  • User-friendly navigation. ...
  • Customer support. ...
  • Ecommerce website Security and Privacy. ...
  • Right eCommerce platform. ...
  • Products with Description. ...
  • Accurate Checkout option.

What are the six features of e-commerce? ›

Essential e‑commerce features for B2B companies
  • Easy navigation.
  • Real-time information.
  • Simplified pricing.
  • Online order processing.
  • Superior customer service.
  • Personalized marketing.

Which of the following is a major type of e-commerce? ›

Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) type e-commerce encompasses all electronic transactions of goods or services conducted between consumers.

What is e-commerce one word answer? ›

Electronic commerce is defined as selling and purchasing goods and services using the internet.

What is e-commerce definition for kids? ›

Kids Encyclopedia Facts. Electronic commerce more well known as e-commerce, consists of the buying or selling of products via electronic means such as the internet or other electronic services. This type of trade has been growing rapidly because of the expansion of the Internet.

What is eCommerce good for? ›

Shop from anywhere: Customers can shop at home, at work, or on vacation. Easy shopping from anywhere makes the whole process more convenient for customers. Browse a wide range of products: There's no limit to how many products you can sell in an online store, so customers get access to a wider range of products online.


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