What Is eCommerce In Simple Words (3 Types Of Ecommerce)

eCommerce has become crucial to buying and selling products or services today.

It makes shopping easy and convenient for consumers, who can browse, compare, and purchase products from the comfort of their own homes. 

On the business side, eCommerce allows entrepreneurs to reach a broader market and compete globally.

eCommerce is showing no signs of slowing down. Predictions say it’ll surpass sales of $8 trillion by 2027. For business owners, this presents an opportunity to thrive online.

If you want to enter the world of digital marketplaces, you need to understand their basics—from what they are to how they work. This comprehensive beginner’s guide will help you get started.

What is eCommerce and How Does It Work?

Have you ever browsed an online marketplace, checked out an item, paid for it electronically, and then received it at your doorstep? 

If so, you’ve participated in eCommerce. 

For electronic commerce, eCommerce is the buying and selling of goods and services over the Internet. 

What is ecommerce

It happens on various online platforms, such as websites, apps, or social media. Some well-known ones include Amazon, eBay, and AliExpress. 

But eCommerce is not just about buying and selling. It also involves paying online, tracking deliveries, and getting customer service through chat or email.

4 Types of eCommerce Business Models

Each eCommerce business model has unique characteristics, advantages, and challenges, catering to different products, services, and target markets.

Business-to-consumer (B2C)

Business-to-consumer is a type of commerce where businesses sell things directly to consumers. It happens in everyday situations. 

For example, when you browse an online bookstore and purchase the latest novel or download a new game now from the developer’s website, you engage in B2C transactions. 

Here, businesses focus on reaching you, the individual consumer. 

Business-to-business (B2B)

In this model, businesses sell products or services to other companies. Unlike B2C, which targets individual consumers, B2B focuses on providing the needs of different companies.

It could involve selling raw materials, software, or services that help other businesses operate and grow.

For example, ingredients, cookware, and packaging materials are usually produced by companies and sold directly to restaurant owners. Or a software company that offers business management tools to other companies. 

Consumer-to-consumer (C2C)

C2C is a type of commerce where individuals sell goods or services to others. 

It happens on platforms facilitating these transactions, like online marketplaces or classified ads websites.

Imagine you’re selling a bicycle you no longer use on an online marketplace, or perhaps you’re offering your handmade crafts on a platform specializing in unique, artisan items. 

In these situations, you’re engaging in consumer-to-consumer transactions. 

Consumer-to-business (C2B)

In the consumer-to-business (C2B) model, individuals directly offer companies their products, services, or insights. 

This approach completely changes the traditional way businesses operate, with consumers setting the terms and often dictating their prices.

For instance, if you’re a talented photographer, you could sell your landscape photos to a travel agency for their marketing materials. 

Or, as a tech enthusiast, you might create an app businesses could use to streamline their operations.

Five eCommerce Revenue Models

eCommerce revenue models define how online companies generate income. Here are five common types:

Sales model

It is the most straightforward model, where businesses make money by selling products directly to customers online. Businesses typically mark up the cost of the products to cover expenses and generate profit. 

Subscription model

In this model, customers pay a regular fee, like every month or year, to keep using products or services. It could include subscription boxes, online streaming, and software services. Famous examples of this model are Amazon Prime and Netflix.

Advertising model

Here, websites or platforms make money by showing ads to those visiting them. They can earn from ads every time someone clicks on them, banner ads, sponsored posts, or affiliate marketing, where they get a commission for sending customers to other companies.

Affiliate model

In this model, companies team up with affiliates who will advertise their products or services on the affiliates’ platforms, like websites, blogs, social media, or email newsletters. The affiliate will receive a commission every time someone purchases through a unique affiliate link.

Freemium model

From the words “free” and “premium,” freemium is an eCommerce model offering free essential services while charging for premium features or content. Spotify, the music streaming platform, uses this model as a growth strategy. They provide a basic, limited, ad-supported service at no cost and charge a subscription fee for an unlimited premium service.

10 Pros and Cons of Running an eCommerce Business

Running an eCommerce business has become popular and accessible, but like any business model, it has advantages and disadvantages.


Reaches a wider audience

eCommerce businesses have a significant advantage: they have the opportunity to sell to people all over the world. Unlike brick-and-mortar stores stuck in one place, online stores can reach customers anywhere.

This broad reach means a small shop in Paris can sell clothes to someone in Tokyo, or a bookshop in New York can find readers in London. This means more customers and more chances to sell.

Inexpensive to start

Running an eCommerce business typically involves lower initial costs than establishing a physical store. It is because there’s no need for a physical storefront.

Traditional retail spaces often have hefty expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, and maintenance costs.

By operating solely online, eCommerce businesses can skip these overhead expenses and allocate resources to other parts of their business.

Open 24/7

With an eCommerce website or app, your store is open 24/7 unless a glitch causes it to crash. It means customers can shop whenever they want, giving you more opportunities to make sales.

You can add chatbots to your online store to improve customer service. These chatbots provide round-the-clock customer support, so shoppers can get help whenever they need it, whether it’s daytime or nighttime. It’s like having a helpful assistant available to answer questions and solve problems whenever they arise.

Data collection and personalization

While shopping online may not offer the same face-to-face interactions you’d find in a physical store, it does have its perks for giving you a personalized shopping experience.

Online businesses use data about you to tailor their marketing efforts to your tastes. 

It means they suggest products they think you’d like, send you messages about your interests, or even offer quizzes to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. They also give you options like choosing different colors or customizing products to suit your preferences.

This personal touch can make your shopping experience feel more special and unique. 

It’s like having a store assistant who knows exactly what you like and helps you find the right thing. 

And when businesses go the extra mile to make you feel valued, you’ll likely return to shop with them.



Let’s face it: competition in the digital marketplace is challenging. Imagine starting a small shop in a big city where many stores sell similar things. It takes a lot of work to get noticed. It’s the same for new online businesses. With so many choices online, standing out is a big challenge.

But it’s not just about having good products. Businesses need to connect with customers and make them feel special. 

Think about when you see a brand on social media that you like. They share incredible stories, and you feel like you know them. That’s what businesses aim for online.

And they have to keep up with what customers want. Reviews are a big deal.

 If you’re looking at two products, one with great reviews and the other with mixed ones, which would you choose? That’s why businesses work hard to make customers happy.

So, while online business presents many opportunities, it also requires hard work. 

IT issues

Running an online store can be challenging sailing. You need to know your way around the technical stuff to set up and keep your website running smoothly. 

Sometimes, the website might crash, or security problems could risk your customers’ information. 

Payment issues can also pop up, causing headaches for you and your customers. 

These technical challenges can be a hassle and make customers lose trust in your business.

Shipping logistics

Handling shipping and logistics can be a real challenge for online businesses. 

These hiccups in shipping can lead to disappointed customers and even damage a business’s reputation.

And it’s not just about delays – shipping costs can add up, especially for businesses sending products overseas. 

So, for online businesses, managing shipping and logistics involves keeping customers happy and ensuring their purchases arrive safely and on time.

 It’s a big responsibility that requires careful planning and attention to detail to avoid disappointing customers.

Customer trust and security

When you’re shopping online, it’s natural to worry about the safety of your personal and financial information. After all, you’re entrusting sensitive details to a website you might not know much about. 

For businesses, earning your trust and keeping your data safe is a big responsibility that requires constant attention.

Think about it like this: a customer wouldn’t give their credit card to anyone, right? Your business must work hard to show your customers you’re trustworthy and take their security seriously. 

It’s not a one-time thing—it’s an ongoing effort to ensure your customers feel safe whenever they shop with your business.

Choosing the ideal platform for your online store is like finding the right tool for the job. Let’s take a look at three of the most popular eCommerce platforms.


Squarespace might be your ideal choice if you aim for a visually captivating online store that reflects a high design standard.

Its platform has an aesthetic appeal that caters primarily to creatives and small businesses that value design highly.

Squarespace’s user-friendly interface and customizable templates allow for an elegant display of products. 

However, while it excels in design, Squarespace may only partially support the scalability and advanced eCommerce functionalities that growing businesses require.


Shopify is a go-to for many businesses because it offers various tools and features for selling online, whether you’re just starting out or have an established company. 

What is ecommerce business

It has everything from multiple apps that work with it to tools that help you keep track of your inventory. 

It also has options for selling on different platforms online and tools to help you market your products.

Shopify costs more because of all these features, but for many, the price is worth it for its growth and options.


Wix is great if you’re new to setting up websites and on a tight budget. It’s user-friendly, with a simple way to build your site and many templates to customize it. 

While Wix is good for essential online stores, it might not have all the fancy features that something like Shopify offers. 

What is ecommerce

But if you’re starting or have a smaller shop, Wix is an affordable choice that still offers incredible marketing tools.

When deciding which platform to use for your eCommerce store, think about what’s most important for your business now and in the future. 

Consider your budget, how good you are with technology, and what you need your website to accomplish. 

By investigating each option, you’ll find the right platform to help you turn your idea for an online business into a reality.

eCommerce Business Ideas You Can Try 

Whether you’re a creative visionary, a tech-savvy innovator, or a passionate advocate, there’s a perfect eCommerce business idea for you. Let’s explore some options to kickstart your journey into online selling.

  • Niche product store. If you’re passionate about a particular niche or industry, consider launching an online store focusing exclusively on products within that area. Whether it’s eco-friendly household items, pet accessories, or unique handmade goods, specializing allows you to cater to a specific audience and become a go-to source for your chosen category.
  • Subscription box service. If you love the idea of surprising customers every month, think about starting a subscription box service. By curating and delivering themed boxes—beauty, gourmet foods, fitness, or crafts—you can tap into consumers’ desire for new experiences and products tailored to their interests.
  • Print-on-demand merchandise. A print-on-demand merchandise business might be perfect for those with a creative streak. This model allows you to design apparel, accessories, or home decor and offers personalization options, with products made only when a customer orders.
  • Digital products marketplace. If you’re skilled in creating digital content, setting up a digital products marketplace could be lucrative. Selling eBooks, online courses, design templates, or software licenses caters to the growing demand for digital learning and resources.
  • Dropshipping storeConsider starting a dropshipping business if you’re eager to sell physical products but want to avoid the complexities of inventory management. This model involves partnering with suppliers who ship products directly to your customers, allowing you to focus on marketing and customer service.
  • Handmade or artisanal goods marketplace. For those who appreciate craftsmanship, creating a marketplace for handmade or artisanal goods can provide artisans a platform to reach a wider audience while offering customers unique products not found in mainstream retail.
  • Online consulting or services. If you have expertise in a particular field, offering online consulting or services—from business coaching to personal development or fitness training—can be a rewarding way to share knowledge and help others achieve their goals.
  • Print and design services. For creative entrepreneurs, print and design services offer a wide range of opportunities. From custom-printed business cards and promotional materials to personalized gifts and products, this business can cater to corporate and individual clients.
  • Event planning and supplies. Event enthusiasts might find their calling in an online store focused on event planning and supplies. Specializing in party decorations, themed packages, and planning services can make you the go-to source for memorable celebrations.
  • Tech gadgets and accessories. If you’re a tech enthusiast, the key is identifying the latest gadgets and accessories. Catering to tech-savvy consumers with innovative products and smart devices can position you at the forefront of the technology trend.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. The key is to identify a niche or market demand and tailor your eCommerce business to meet the needs and interests of your target audience.


We’ve just walked through everything you need to know about selling stuff online, from the different ways you can sell to making money and picking the best platforms for your shop. 

There are many chances to make it big with an online business.

With more and more people shopping online daily, now is a great time to start your online business. 

Whether you love coming up with new ideas, want to bring change, or want to try something new, there’s a perfect online business idea for you.

If you’re thinking of starting, consider leveraging tools offered by eCommercebot. 

We have a suite of online tools that work well with eCommerce stores. These tools help you connect with customers, keep things running smoothly, and grow your business.

Ecommerce Bot Designed to manage your Ad campaigns, Social media, & Customer interactions across multiple channels.

If you’re interested, signing up with eCommercebot early can get you a good deal, giving you access to everything you need to succeed in your online store.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is eCommerce?

eCommerce, short for electric commerce, refers to the buying and selling of goods or services using the Internet. It includes online transactions, electronic payments, and digital marketing.

How does eCommerce work?

eCommerce occurs online, where customers can browse and purchase products or services from an online store using their electronic devices. 

The process typically involves:

  • Selecting items.
  • Adding them to a cart.
  • Completing the purchase through a checkout process that includes payment and shipping information.

What are the types of eCommerce?

The main types include B2C (Business to Consumer), B2B (Business to Business), C2C (Consumer to Consumer), and C2B (Consumer to Business). 

Each type caters to different transactions and relationships between buyers and sellers.

What do I need to start an eCommerce business?

Starting an eCommerce business requires a product or service to sell, an eCommerce platform or website to sell on, a payment processing system, and a strategy for handling logistics like shipping and customer service.

Can I sell services through eCommerce?

Yes, eCommerce is not limited to physical products. Many businesses sell services online through eCommerce platforms, such as consulting, digital marketing, online courses, and more.

What are the benefits of eCommerce?

Benefits include the ability to reach a wider audience, operate 24/7, lower operational costs compared to traditional retail, personalized customer shopping experiences, and access to global markets.

What challenges does eCommerce face?

Challenges include:

  • Intense competition.
  • Cybersecurity threats.
  • Managing customer expectations.
  • Navigating shipping and logistics.
  • Maintaining a seamless user experience across devices.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.