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What is ecommerce? Meaning, advantages and disadvantages

5 min read

Electronic commerce, commonly known as “ecommerce,” encompasses all forms of trading conducted online, whether through a smartphone or directly via a PC or laptop. This article will delve into what ecommerce entails, the considerations necessary when launching an online store, the opportunities and risks presented by online trading, and how you can leverage consumer purchasing behavior through your online store for your benefit and marketing efforts.

What is Ecommerce

Ecommerce, or online commerce, involves the buying and selling of goods and services over the internet. This can occur between companies and consumers, between companies themselves, or between consumers. Achievable through various means such as websites, online marketplaces, and social media platforms, ecommerce leverages information technology for the sale of goods and services. Thanks to electronic integration and the interconnection of different systems, it allows companies and consumers to manage their business processes electronically.

Ecommerce Marketing

The success of ecommerce marketing hinges significantly on SEO and PPC. SEO provides a sustainable, long-term strategy to boost organic visibility and attract relevant, high-quality traffic. Over time, it builds brand authority and credibility, offering lasting benefits. On the other hand, PPC delivers immediate visibility, allowing businesses to target specific audiences and achieve rapid results through paid advertising.

Merging these two potent strategies can create a cohesive marketing approach where SEO lays a solid foundation for sustained growth, and PPC provides instant visibility and targeted campaigns for immediate objectives.

Types of Ecommerce

Ecommerce, a relatively young industry (having existed since the late 1960s with the first online purchase not happening until 1994), is an ever-evolving field. The most common ecommerce models have remained consistent. Here’s a summary:

  • Business-to-Business (B2B) is exactly what it sounds like: products or services from one company are aimed at other companies. This usually involves support services that aid companies with ongoing operations or growth.
  • Business-to-Consumer (B2C) is likely the most familiar form of ecommerce, involving direct transactions between a company and consumers. Anyone who has ever made a personal purchase online has engaged in B2C ecommerce.
  • Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) sees consumers selling their services or goods directly to other consumers, requiring no middleman except for a payment gateway.
  • Consumer-to-Business (C2B) involves individuals selling their own products or services directly to businesses. This could be a creative service, such as photography or freelance writing, or is common in crowdsourcing projects where a large number of individuals offer their services or products for sale to companies, which then choose to buy from one of them.
  • Business-to-Administration (B2A) includes all transactions conducted online between companies and public administration. B2A encompasses a range of services mainly in areas like fiscal, social security, employment, legal documents, and registries, etc.
  • Consumer-to-Administration (C2A) refers to all transactions conducted online between individuals and public administration. Examples include education, social security, tax management, and health services. The last two models aim for efficient and easy use of government-provided services by citizens.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of ecommerce?

The digital revolution is increasingly influencing sectors that cannot escape the necessity of offering their products and services online. Ecommerce brings a host of advantages for both merchants and consumers, alongside several disadvantages. Let’s explore these in detail.


  • Market Reach and Accessibility: With globalization and the ability to reach a broader audience via the internet, retailers and businesses can significantly expand their customer base.
  • Cost Efficiency: Starting and operating an online store comes with minimal expenses compared to traditional brick-and-mortar establishments.
  • Enhanced Customer Engagement: Ecommerce platforms enable businesses to interact with customers in real-time, offering tailored marketing solutions such as targeted ads, affiliate marketing, or special deals based on browsing and purchasing history.
  • Convenience: The process of buying or selling online is more straightforward, quicker, and saves time.
  • Personalization and Customization: By analyzing purchase history and customer preferences, online stores can tailor their offerings to meet individual needs.
  • Inventory Management: Ecommerce platforms often come with tools that make inventory management more efficient, such as automated stock tracking alerts.
  • Data Availability and Analytics: These platforms allow businesses to monitor customer behavior, preferences, and demographics, enabling better understanding of customers and optimization of marketing strategies.
  • Improved Conversion Rates: Conversion rate, the percentage of visitors who make a purchase, can be enhanced through targeted marketing made possible by analytics.
  • 24/7 Operations: Websites operate around the clock, allowing people to shop at their convenience.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: Businesses can easily adapt to trends by adding or removing products, changing prices, and tweaking marketing strategies.
  • Integration with Business Systems: Connecting ecommerce to systems like CRM or accounting software can increase operational efficiency.


  • Security Risks: Mitigating security breach risks requires investment in robust security measures such as SSL certificates, firewalls, and encryption.
  • Technology Dependence: Contingency plans for technological failures and resources for ongoing maintenance and updates are necessary.
  • Increased Competition: New businesses face competition from numerous merchants, including established players.
  • Customer Service Challenges: Providing timely and efficient customer support is essential.
  • Limited Physical Interaction: Ecommerce platforms offer limited options for personal interaction with customers. Social media and email marketing can be used to engage customers.
  • Potential Shipping and Handling Issues: Cooperation with reliable logistics providers is crucial.
  • Trust Building Difficulties: Building reach and investing in online marketing is necessary to establish trust.
  • Inability to Try Products: Platforms must provide quality images and videos, detailed descriptions, customer reviews, and clear return policies.
  • Compliance with Laws and Regulations: Ecommerce platforms must adhere to legal and regulatory requirements in their industry and region.
  • Initial Investments and Ongoing Maintenance Costs: Establishing an ecommerce presence requires significant initial investment in website development, technological infrastructure, and marketing. Ongoing expenses include hosting, domain, and operation costs.

Ecommerce Statistics

Online marketplaces account for the largest share of online purchases globally, with Amazon leading in global traffic rankings. Market surveys indicate that these platforms are the primary spots for product searches on the internet before making a purchase.

Top Ecommerce Platforms

The success of an online store can hinge on various factors. Proper customer service, an appealing store design, unique ideas, and more are all crucial.

Shopify – This is the most globally utilized platform for creating online stores, known for its simplicity and wide range of applications. It offers an extensive array of plugins, themes, and add-ons, with services priced between $29 to $299 per month and a 14-day free trial.

Webnode – This platform offers a range of advanced features like SEO assistance and the ability to set up multiple language versions. It can be integrated with Google Ads or Facebook Pixel and supports various payment methods. It offers its services with a free trial option.

Final Thoughts

With ongoing digitalization and the digital economy, the ecommerce sector is experiencing explosive growth. While brick-and-mortar stores are not likely to disappear in the near future, the fact remains that the number of online stores is continuously increasing. Every day, new technologies emerge, enabling you to prepare for the future in this sector.

All content in this article is for informational purposes only and in no way serves as investment advice. Investing in cryptocurrencies, commodities and stocks is very risky and can lead to capital losses.