What is eCommerce?

You are here:
Estimated reading time: 3 min

What is e-Commerce?

E-commerce is a term that describes sales that occurs online. It s abbreviated to E-commerce from Electronic Commerce. It refers to the art and act of making trade exchanges via online methods. The system depends a great deal on technology and the internet. It employs the use of online shopping tools, online financial transactions for currency exchanges, and conversational tools like live chat, chatbots, and voice assistants.

Stocking, delivery of customers’ orders, advertisement, payment, and all that is entailed in the trade happens electronically. It is opposed to the traditional commerce that we are used to. By principle, every kind of good and service can be sold using e-commerce methods.

When did it start?

As an industry, e-commerce started in the 1960s. Although it was a far cry from what it is now. It wasn’t until the 1990s before it began to take shape.

The 1990s featured the very first online purchase on 11 August 1994. As in the early 2000s, more people had gained access to computer systems in their homes, and this made for increased online purchases. And ever since that period, the industry has continued to grow with the advent of significant technological innovations. Pioneer companies of the e-commerce movement were Amazon and eBay, amongst some others.

What is the market size?

Research shows that the e-commerce industry has, over time, recorded immense growth. Ecommerce retailing, which is only a part of the industry, registered worldwide sales of 3.53 trillion U.S. dollars in 2019, and it is projected to scale up to 6.54 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022.

The industry is projected to hit a whopping estimated sale of 4,206 billion U.S. dollars at the end of 2020.

Types of e-commerce

There are several types of E-commerce presently in operation, but based on the nature of the participants in the market, E-commerce is categorized into five, as will be explained succinctly.


B2B E-commerce is called Business to Business electronic commerce. It points to a commercial arrangement that involves two business enterprises. It typically takes place when a business sells products that are not meant for final consumption but are the inputs for another company. E.g., production of manure, salt, graphic designing software tools, etc.

Business-to-Business enterprises are the second most rampant of E-commerce businesses, ranked after Business to Customer (B2C) enterprises.


B2C is the most common of all e-commerce methods. The Business to Customer enterprise deals in the sales and delivery of goods to customers. It is typified with customer reviews and offers businesses a vantage point where they can maintain a personalized relationship with their customers.


C2B is the reverse of B2C e-commerce. Here, consumers sell their goods and services to companies. It is not a very popular type of e-commerce.


C2C E-commerce occurs among customers. It is called the consumer to consumer e-commerce.


This explains a working commercial relationship between the government and her citizens, with exchanges like taxes, and vehicle registration.

Example of E-commerce Business

Below is a list of examples of E-commerce businesses according to the type of goods being sold.

Digital products

This category of e-commerce business deals in the sales of digital content for online consumption. Examples are blog posts, YouTube video tutorials, webinars, etc.


These are e-commerce trades that involve products that are not tangible. These products include graphic designs, content writing, language translation, delivery services, etc.

Physical products

Physical product e-commerce businesses involve the sale of tangible goods. The goods sold here range from hair, bags, accessories, cosmetics, utensils, name it.


The dropshipping E-commerce company doesn’t have physical contact with either manufacturer, buyer, or goods.


Examples are Etsy, Houzz, Jet, and Newegg. The r-commerce market is likened to an actual marketplace where different sellers bring their wares to sell but are regulated by the market forces. It is the same thing here, only that it is online.

The Different Ways to Start an E-commerce Business

  • Determine what to sell. Don’t pick an overly crowded niche to trade in.
  • Select an appropriate business model.
  • Know your target audience and know what suits them.
  • Create the brand. Answer the questions: What is the personality of my business? What does the store stand for?
  • Search for a supplier and order samples.
  • Determine your pricing system.
  • Get licensed.
  • Set up the online store. It is effortless once you have the right tool. Check out Shiprocket 360, the process of building your online stores is as simple as signing up for an account with Facebook.
  • Take product photos
  • Curate content for blogs, contact influencers.
  • Create social accounts.
  • Drive targeted traffic
  • Make sales
Was this article helpful?
Dislike 1
Views: 215

Continue reading

Previous: Who is a Liquidator?
Next: What is B2C E-Commerce?