What is an E-commerce Website?
E-commerce websites are online portals that provide facility of online transactions for services and goods availed or ordered after transfer of funds, as well as information related to products available on these portals. Different E-commerce websites are accessible, and customers can purchase goods or easily avail services using such platforms. Various facilities are provided in the E-commerce sector to consumers, and some include convenient, easy, and multiple types of payment options, product exchange and return, festive and seasonal offers and discounts, annual subscription, product and price comparison, on time product delivery, and others. Furthermore, consumers can shop online from anywhere and anytime using smartphones, laptops, desktops, and other Internet-enabled devices.
The most common types of E-commerce websites are digital product E-commerce websites, physical goods E-commerce websites, service-based E-commerce websites, and dropshipping E-commerce websites.
Types of E-commerce Models
There are four types E-commerce models, including business to business (B2B), business to consumer (B2C), consumer to consumer (C2C), and consumer to business (C2B).
- B2B: – This model is used when businesses sell services or goods to other businesses (Example – Alibaba)
- B2C: – In this model, businesses sell services or goods to consumers (Example – Amazon and Walmart)
- C2C: – In this model, consumers sell goods or services to other consumers (Example – eBay and Craigslist)
- C2B: – In this model, consumers sell their own products or services to organizations or businesses (Example – photographers sell their photos to businesses)
- 24×7 Service availability: The E-commerce industry automates businesses of enterprises and are always open and serve customers anywhere and anytime round-the-clock (24X7X365).
- Non-Cash payment: E-commerce industry provides facility to use debit cards, credit cards, smart cards, electronic fund transfers through bank websites or banks payment apps, and accepts other electronic payment options.
- Improved sales: E-commerce industry provides many facilities to customers while purchasing products anywhere and anytime using electronic tools. This boosts growth of sales volumes.
- Advertising or Marketing: E-commerce platforms increase reach of advertising or marketing of goods or services of businesses through various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.
- Inventory management: E-commerce platforms provide facility to businesses to automate inventory management using specific tools. In addition, product inventory management enables maintaining product records efficiently. It also helps to save inventory and operational costs of businesses.
- Support: E-commerce industry supports different services, including post-sales and pre-sales assistance to customers.
- Communication improvement: E-commerce platforms provide efficient, reliable, and faster communication with partners and customers across the globe.
Traditional Commerce vs. E-Commerce
|Basis for Comparison||Traditional Commerce||E-commerce|
|Definition||Traditional commerce is a type of business which focuses on exchange of products and services, including all activities which encourages product exchange||E-commerce refers to the selling and buying of goods and services via the Internet|
|Processing of transactions||Manual||Automatic|
|Physical inspection||Products and services can be inspected physically before purchase of selected product and services||Products and services cannot be inspected physically before purchase of selected product and services|
|Scope of business||Limited area||Across the globe|
|Resource focus||Supply side||Demand side|
|Marketing||One way marketing||One-to-one marketing|
|Delivery of goods or services||Instantly||Requires some time|
E-Commerce advantages are broadly classified into three major categories, including advantages to consumers, advantages to organizations, and advantages to society.
- Advantages to Customers:
- Customer can search for various services or products on online portals anywhere and anytime
- E-commerce websites are open round-the-clock (24 x 7)
- Availability of a wide variety of products and services on E-commerce websites, coupled with fast product delivery and provision of other related services
- Before product purchasing, a customer can conduct product or service price comparison and explore other related aspects and details, including product rating, product reviews, product photos, and others.
- E-commerce platforms provide attractive discounts on products or services, seasonal offers, festival discounts etc. to consumers.
- Advantages to Organizations
- Organizations can expand their business to international and national markets easily with minimum capital investment. In addition, organizations can easily locate the best suppliers, suitable business partners, and expand customer base globally.
- E-commerce platforms help to reduce product distribution, retrieval, and other costs, and increase digitization in the E-commerce sector.
- E-commerce industry helps to build brand image of a company and increases visibility of products on a global scale.
- E-commerce industry helps organizations to provide better customer service and experience.
- E-commerce industry helps to simplify business processes and makes them more convenient, efficient, and faster.
Some popular E-commerce websites across the globe are Amazon, Alibaba, Walmart, Jingdong, and others.
- Amazon.com, Inc. was founded in 1994, and it engages in retail sale of consumer products globally. The company operates through Amazon Web Services (AWS), International, and North America segments. In addition, Amazon manufactures and sells various electronic devices, including Fire TVs, Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, and Echo devices. The company provides database, storage, compute, and other AWS services coupled with digital content subscriptions, advertising, publishing, co-branded credit card agreement services, and other services. Furthermore, the company offers Amazon Prime membership program, which provide several benefits to consumers. Some include free and fast shipping of products, access to streaming of TV shows, movies, music, and other services. Amazon is in a strategic partnership with automotive manufacturing company – Volkswagen AG – to develop cloud-based Industrial digital production platform, which helps to connect Volkswagen warehouses and vehicle factories.
- Alibaba Group Holding Limited was founded in 1999, and operates through its subsidiaries as a mobile and online commerce company. The company retails and distributes machinery, chemicals, consumer electronics, sports products, apparel, and a wide range of other products globally. The company’s business model includes three major web portals such as Taobao, Alibaba.com, and Tmall, and all are connected with several types of sellers and buyers. In addition, Alibaba has six more subsidiaries, including 1688.com, Aliexpress, Alibaba Cloud, Alimama, Cainiao Network, and Ant Financial. Furthermore, Alibaba focuses keenly on the business to business model, and also supports other types of models through its various E-commerce web portals.
- Walmart Inc. is one of the top E-commerce companies globally, and offers a wide range of products. These include small appliances, apparel, musical instruments, electronic products, houseware, pharmaceutical products, automotive tools, and others. The company provides supreme quality products across different categories, and also provides daily discounts and other offers to customers. In addition, the company operates through Walmart International, Sam’s Club, and Walmart U.S. segments globally. Walmart U.S. operates as retail stores in the US, Walmart International operates in different categories, including wholesale, retail, and others, and Sam’s Club provides access to different types of products to its members through mobile commerce applications and websites.
- JD.com, Inc., known as Jingdong, operates through New Businesses and JD Retail segments globally. The company offers mobile handsets, home appliances, laptops, desktops, printers, household goods, furniture, cosmetics, apparel, luxury goods, fitness equipment, sports gear, automobiles and accessories, nutritional supplements, e-books, and other products globally. In addition, the company provides online marketing services for merchants, suppliers, and other partners. It offers a wide range of products through its website jd.com and mobile apps. Furthermore, Jingdong offers online marketplace to third-party sellers for selling a variety of products to customers. It also provides value-added fulfillment, transaction processing and billing, and other services.