What is The Difference Between eCommerce and eBusiness – Learn Key Differences
People who are just stepping in the online world often wonder what is the difference between eCommerce and eBusiness.
Both eCommerce and eBusiness have become buzzwords today. But they are often used interchangeably, leading to the confusion that they refer to the same thing.
Though both are similar in some ways, there are subtle differences between them. And it’s important to know the difference between eCommerce and eBusiness clearly before you set out to start a business online.
What is eCommerce?
Commerce refers to any activity of buying and selling. When that activity is conducted online, it’s simply called eCommerce.
eCommerce is when you, as the business owner, sell any type of goods or services online, on any platform of your choice. Whether you sell your products on your own online store, on a marketplace like Amazon, or on social media like Facebook Shops, it all falls in the realm of eCommerce.
ECommerce traditionally involves many processes, including but not limited to, placing the order online, making online payments, and getting the product delivered to your doorstep. However, any business that has at least one of these processes done online will be called an eCommerce business.
For example, an eCommerce business can choose to sell online but have their customers pick up from the store. Or they can sell online but have their customers pay cash on delivery.
What is eBusiness?
eBusiness is actually any type of business that’s done online. eCommerce is a subset of an eBusiness. However, unlike eCommerce, eBusiness involves a lot more than just buying and selling.
In an eBusiness, all business processes are done online from hiring employees to HR, from dealing with clients to selling and marketing.
While an eCommerce business requires an eCommerce platform to start off, an eBusiness would require an ERP, CRM, and other business process automation solutions.
With that said, every eCommerce business can be called an eBusiness but every eBusiness isn’t necessarily eCommerce.
With the difference between eCommerce and eBusiness clarified, let’s talk about eCommerce for a bit, the most popular eBusiness and the talk of the town these days.
Types of eCommerce Business Models
Now, there are several eCommerce business models that should be understood before starting an eCommerce business. Here are three of the most popular ones.
A Business to Consumer or B2C is a business model in which you, as a business, sell to end consumers. A good example of this type of eCommerce model is Amazon that sells to end consumers.
Also read: How to start an online B2C store
A Business-to-Business or B2B model is when a business sells to other businesses. A good example is Alibaba, which is a marketplace for manufacturers and wholesalers to sell to other businesses like retailers.
B2B eCommerce has been gaining a lot of steam especially after Amazon launched its wholesale channel called Amazon Business. And as the younger generation, the millennials, enter the workforce, having a B2B eCommerce channel has become integral for many traditional B2B sellers.
The C2C model is when consumers sell to other consumers. This can be a trading platform where consumers sell their used items, for example, to people who might need them.
What Can You Buy and Sell in eCommerce?
When it comes to starting an eCommerce business, people often have the misconception that they can only sell physical goods in their online store.
That’s not true, however.
In fact, you’ve plenty of options when it comes to what you can sell through your eCommerce channel. Some examples are physical products, downloadables, eBooks, tickets to events, bookable products like hotel rooms and airline tickets, online courses, and even your time.
You can sell anything that others will find value in.
If you’re an expert, you can easily sell your time in the form of consultation services. An online store with a bookings system will enable your customers to book time slots online.
What are the Prerequisites of starting an eCommerce Business?
To start an eCommerce business, you obviously need something to sell. Need product ideas for eCommerce? Here are some top eCommerce niches that are expected to do well in the near future.
Once there’s a product or service to sell, you then need an eCommerce platform. And that’s when you’re literally spoilt for choice. First, you need to decide whether you want to sell on a marketplace like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy or you want your own online store with your own branding.
To read about these in detail, download our free ebook in which we go deep into the nitty-gritty of eCommerce. Click here to download The Complete Roadmap to eCommerce Success eBook.
If you decide to have your own online store, you then need to pick an eCommerce application or the software you’ll use to set up your online store.
Here, you can choose between self-hosted and hosted platforms. Self-hosted eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce, Drupal, and Magento offer higher flexibility and more power while hosted platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce have less flexibility but increased convenience and ease of use.
Which eCommerce Platform is Best for Your Business?
Picking an eCommerce platform isn’t as simple as it may sound. There are several good choices out there with the most popular ones being Shopify, Wix, and WooCommerce. Shopify and Wix are Managed eCommerce platforms, which are available for a monthly subscription. WooCommerce, on the other hand, is open-source and is free to use. However, price doesn’t differentiate them. Though WooCommerce is free to use, the ‘free’ can be taken as free speech rather than free cost. So you’ll still have to pay for hosting and maintenance charges if you go with WooCommerce.
Check out these detailed comparisons between these popular platforms before making your choice.
- Shopify vs Wix – An Ecommerce Comparison for 2021
- Shopify vs. WooCommerce – Which Platform To Use For Your Online Store?
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