Ecommerce, also known as electronic commerce or internet commerce, refers to the buying and selling of goods or services using the internet, and the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions. Ecommerce is often used to refer to the sale of physical products online, but it can also describe any kind of commercial transaction that is facilitated through the internet.

Whereas e-business refers to all aspects of operating an online business, ecommerce refers specifically to the transaction of goods and services.

Types of Ecommerce Models

There are four main types of ecommerce models that can describe almost every transaction that takes place between consumers and businesses.

1. Business to Consumer (B2C)

When a business sells a good or service to an individual consumer (e.g. You buy a pair of shoes from an online retailer).

2. Business to Business (B2B)

When a business sells a good or service to another business (e.g. A business sells software-as-a-service for other businesses to use)

3. Consumer to Consumer (C2C)

When a consumer sells a good or service to another consumer (e.g. You sell your old furniture on eBay to another consumer).

4. Consumer to Business (C2B)

When a consumer sells their own products or services to a business or organization (e.g. An influencer offers exposure to their online audience in exchange for a fee, or a photographer licenses their photo for a business to use).

5. Retail

The sale of a product by a business directly to a customer without any intermediary.

6. Wholesale

The sale of products in bulk, often to a retailer that then sells them directly to consumers.

7. Dropshipping

The sale of a product, which is manufactured and shipped to the consumer by a third party.

8. Crowdfunding

The collection of money from consumers in advance of a product being available in order to raise the startup capital necessary to bring it to market.

9. Subscription

The automatic recurring purchase of a product or service on a regular basis until the subscriber chooses to cancel.

6. Physical products

Any tangible good that requires inventory to be replenished and orders to be physically shipped to customers as sales are made.