The Internet and new technologies are transforming our lives. We are witnessing a technological revolution that is generating important changes in consumer purchasing habits. All this makes electronic commerce or e-commerce grow by leaps and bounds, more and more purchases of all kinds are made through electronic devices such as a computer or mobile phone.


What is electronic commerce?

Electronic commerce or e-commerce refers to the commercial transactions of products or services that are carried out through the internet. This digital purchase and sale are carried out specifically on web pages and/or virtual platforms.

The consideration of e-commerce covers any transaction that has been carried out by electronic means: from the use of credit cards in the network to online stores. Consequently, the Internet stands as a sales channel through which the customer gets a product or service from anywhere, from any device.


Types of Electronic Commerce

There are various actors to consider in this type of trade. Commonly, the different types of models are linked to the acronyms of the actors they refer to. These actors are the company (B), the consumers (C), the administration (A), the investors (I), and the employees (E).

The most outstanding classification of the different types of electronic commerce is as follows:

Business to Consumer “B2C”

From the company to the consumer. This typology is the most used by online stores. Accessing our favorite store in digital format and interacting and requesting products or services as end consumers lead us to the B2C model.

Business to Business “B2B”

From company to company. This model focuses on a business relationship between the company and its suppliers or intermediaries, but not with the final consumer. It is one of the most common models, it is usually a wholesale, which you can only access if you are a company.

Consumer to Consumer “C2C”

From consumer to consumer. It is about taking advantage of the digital world and being able to carry out transactions between individuals. It is the commerce in which the final consumer obtains the product through a consumer who has put it up for sale on a digital platform at a lower price because he no longer needs it or does not meet his expectations.

Government to Consumer “G2C”

From administrations to consumers. The administrations have also established electronic commerce in their digital procedures. This type of business is linked to the digital authentication of the identity through portals that are accessed to make the payment of any fee that comes from the administration.

These four types that we have just seen are the most common, but there are also less used ones:

Business to Employee “B2E”: From the company to the employee. The customer is the employees and it is common to offer unique offers.

Government to Business “G2B“: From administration to business. The administration offers services to companies through digital platforms for making payments, requests, or business registrations.

Consumer to Business “C2B”: From the consumer to the company. It is the least common, since it goes from the consumer to the company, and is caused, for example, when an influencer recommends products from a company in exchange for financial compensation.


Advantages and disadvantages of electronic commerce

There are different advantages and disadvantages within e-commerce, below we will analyze them:

Electronic Commerce or e-Commerce: Types, Platforms, and Advantages
Advantages and disadvantages of electronic commerce

Advantage

Undoubtedly one of the main advantages of digital commerce lies in the accessibility to any product or service of a company as I have mentioned previously. However, there are many more advantages:

  • Always available: 24h, every day of the year, e-commerce is available for those consumers who want to consult or purchase any product at any time of the day.
  • Savings: Without a doubt, when transactions are not carried out in a physical store, there is a lower cost than in facilities, furniture, insurance, human equipment, etc.
  • Convenience: The client uses online shopping according to his needs, they usually save time and save travel expenses, and they also tend to find offers and reduced prices more easily.

There is also the possibility of not having stock, and send the products to the customer directly from the manufacturer or supplier. This type of business model is known as dropshipping.

  • Expand the database: E-commerce provides us with high-value marketing information about the customer and their preferences.
  • Customer loyalty: thanks to the databases of previous transactions and customer behavior, it allows us to carry out personalized loyalty actions with greater effectiveness.

Disadvantages

Electronic commerce is not only advantages, but it also has many disadvantages that we must bear in mind:

  • Greater competition: In many cases, the investment in starting an online business is less than when opening a physical store. It does not require physical space and therefore the related expenses involved in maintaining an establishment (furniture, supplies, rent, etc.). Therefore, the barrier to entry of new competitors is low and there is a greater number of competing companies.
  • Possible mistrust: Many customers prefer to see the product physically and check that the image does not deceive. In addition, there is still a small sector of certain Internet users who are suspicious of online payment by having to enter their bank card details. It is true that the vast majority of users in recent years have overcome this issue and it is increasingly carried out normally.
  • Shipping costs: Most e-commerce companies charge shipping costs along with the price of the product. There are many customers who take this into account and decide not to make the purchase by this means.
  • The time that elapses from the time the purchase is made until it reaches the customer: It is a significant aspect since many customers turn to the Internet when they need something express. It is one of the challenges of the sector, and many companies such as Amazon are focusing on this issue, managing to reduce it to make it a competitive advantage.

Platforms Where to Develop Your Electronic Commerce

Digital marketing is carried out through different platforms that act as intermediaries between the company and the customer. These platforms favor business strategies and actions:

Electronic Commerce or e-Commerce: Types, Platforms, and Advantages
WooCommerce vs Magento vs Shopify vs PrestaShop

WooCommerce

It is one of the most used platforms in electronic commerce since it is an open-source plugin for WordPress. This CMS favors content management together with the functionalities of a virtual store. WordPress was born as a platform for blogging and informative websites but little by little its WooComerce plugging has evolved and improved to become one of the main options for small and medium e-commerce.

It has a great community behind it, as well as a multitude of plugins and templates with designs of all kinds.

PrestaShop

It is another of the most used platforms for the creation of small and medium virtual stores. Unlike WordPress WooCommerce, PrestaShop is a CMS developed specifically for electronic commerce. PrestaShop is easy to use and intuitive, it has thousands of design templates and modules to customize your online store based on your needs.

Shopify

This platform has a characteristic speed and various marketing tools and optimized hosting for electronic commerce. Shopify is an option that does not require much knowledge and in which you do not have to worry about updates since it is marketed under a SaaS service (software as a service) and you only pay for its use.

Magento

Magento is one of the main options for medium and large online stores. It allows you to create the entirety of a website and control all the available functionalities of a virtual store. It has various custom design templates, an integrated multi-store option for different countries and currencies, full catalog and product management, stock control … as well as marketing tools.

Custom Development

For important projects of a certain size and above all with very particular needs, it is advisable to carry out a medium development in electronic commerce. For this, it is necessary to have specialized agencies since it requires several professional profiles such as backends, frontends, designers, UX, etc. It is the perfect solution for when you need a fully tailored online store.

These are the most recognized and used platforms, but there are others such as Bigcommerce, Volusion, Squarespace, 3dcart, Square, Wecwid, Webflow, Weebly, Bigcartel, or Wix. Almost all of them have a free trial to check the e-commerce functionalities.


Main MarketPlaces

In addition to developing your own online store, there are other options such as creating a store within a Marketplace. What is the market place? It is a platform where within it you can register as a seller and create an online store. Some examples of Marketplace where you can create your store: Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, and Rakuten.

I hope you have been able to solve your doubts about electronic commerce. Leave your comments if you found this article useful.

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