E-commerce is a method of doing business where goods and services are bought and sold over the internet. Businesses and consumers can engage in e-commerce via a computer, smartphone, tablet, or another device with a wifi or internet connection. Here are a few types of e-commerce to be aware of whether you are a customer, manufacturer, or business owner.
Business-to-business e-commerce involves online transactions between businesses, such as one between a wholesaler who stocks goods and a retailer who sells those goods to consumers, or one between a manufacturer that produces goods and a wholesaler that purchases the goods for resale. The ordinary consumer is not directly involved in business-to-business e-commerce, as it involves processes further up the supply chain. Some industries where business-to-business commerce is common include construction, food service, healthcare, and manufacturing. E-commerce is not going anywhere, so if you are a business owner it might be wise to further your education and learn more about technology, online marketing, and compiling data.
Once a business has a product or service that is ready to be distributed to the consumer, or end-user, this becomes known as business-to-consumer commerce. Most business-to-consumer e-commerce models involve a store with an internet presence that allows customers to purchase those products online and then have those products shipped directly to their homes. An online retailer may or may not have a brick-and-mortar location as well as an online shop. Business-to-consumer e-commerce can also refer to companies that sell services via the internet. Some examples of platforms that sell services include:
- Businesses that sell online fitness or yoga classes that customers can access via video
- Online banks that make it easy for people to manage their money from home, 24 hours per day seven days a week
- Educational websites that offer various classes or certification programs to people for a fee
- Grocery delivery services that sell the service of delivery only, and not the grocery products themselves
- Rideshare apps that connect customers looking for a ride with a driver who can get them where they need to go
Business-to-consumer commerce is the e-commerce model that most people are familiar with, provided they do not own businesses themselves.
Consumer-to-consumer e-commerce occurs when two customers exchange goods or services over the internet. One common way this is done is through auction websites like eBay, or classified advertisements like Craigslist or those that you would see in a local online newspaper. The online environment allows customers to shop for a wider range of goods and services than they would find locally, as well as sell goods and services to a larger audience. This is especially important to consumers looking to buy or sell a niche product or service. The main issue that can arise with consumer-to-consumer e-commerce is the potential lack of a third party to help mitigate issues surrounding product quality or pricing.
Whether you are a customer, business owner, or both, it is good to be knowledgeable about the many types of e-commerce that exist today.
Also read Types of E-Commerce