What Is the Difference Between eCommerce and eBusiness?

By Ivan Stevanovic

June 19, 2023

Some people may confuse eCommerce with eBusiness and vice versa, but while the terms sound similar, they are in no way interchangeable. Understanding the distinction between these can make all the difference. With online retail shops generating 14.34 billion visits in March 2020, both branches of commerce are precious.

In short, this article will answer the question: “What is the difference between eCommerce and eBusiness?”

What Is eBusiness?

With tech becoming integral to practically every aspect of our world, it’s normal for businesses to implement tech-driven strategies. This may make it difficult to tell which companies are eBusinesses, but essentially, you could say most businesses are.

The eBusiness definition states that any business carrying out its activities via the internet is an eBusiness. From buying raw materials, manufacturing goods, facilitating financial transactions, and product exchanges, so long as a business activity has been done through the internet, it counts as an eBusiness activity.

These activities can be carried out through the internet, intranet, or extranet on apps, websites, enterprise resource planning (ERP), and customer relationship management (CRM) software.

To identify an eBusiness, we can consider some case studies.

Elements of an eBusiness

Email Marketing

Using email communication to foster relationships with existing and potential customers is a significant element of the eBusiness model. Marketing via email is an essential part of that.

Digital Management Tools

Digital tools take otherwise physical processes and carry them out online. For example, handling workflow processes with content teams can happen through online documents instead of a physical, paper-fueled system. Because these processes have been carried out electronically instead of physically, any business involved is essentially an eBusiness.

Creating and Selling Online Tools

Building systems for digitizing business activities, such as inventory management, is a form of eBusiness. The creators of such systems have facilitated the means to carry out business processes electronically, making them an eBusiness.

Other eBusiness examples include setting up online stores, facilitating customer education, supply chain management, buying and selling products, and financial business transactions.

If a business offers a service or product physically, it qualifies as a standard business. However, if it incorporates tech elements, such as providing services online, it’s also an eBusiness.

Bear in mind that there are two types of eBusiness models: Bricks and Clicks/ Bricks-and-Mortar (omnichannel) and Pure Play. Omni-channel companies use both offline and online resources to facilitate business activities. In the Pure Play model, business activities are strictly conducted online.

What is eCommerce?

The eCommerce definition is simple: The term refers to businesses selling goods or services online. In today’s world, many products – like movies, music, and books – are bought and sold chiefly through eCommerce platforms.

Popular eCommerce examples include retail platforms like Amazon or eBay. An eCommerce sale will typically include all the usual trading elements: You order a product, pay for it, and then have it delivered to you. You may also order a product and opt for in-store pickup, or decide to pay either via card online or in cash when your order is delivered.

ECommerce has expanded over the years, across both websites and apps. Some businesses decide to combine their web pages and apps with virtual marketplaces as points of sale. More exposure is good, after all. No matter where a customer buys a product, it’s all a part of eCommerce.

Just like eBusinesses, eCommerce has various models. The types of eCommerce are:

Business-to-Business (B2B)

A B2B business model is a form of eCommerce where a business provides products and services to another company. 

For example, companies that manufacture goods like batteries, car tires, door locks, and hoses sell them to companies in the automobile industry. Another example is video production companies whose services aid the marketing campaigns of other companies, or tech companies that make accounting software for companies.

The B2B eCommerce model involves a business serving another business environment.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

The B2C eCommerce model involves businesses selling products and services directly to individuals. These end-users are called consumers. An example of a B2C model is a clothing store selling fashion items to the public online.

Most businesses use their own websites to facilitate these transactions, but that can be costly to design and host. Luckily, cheap effective solutions are available through eCommerce website builders

Consumer-to-Business (C2B)

It might sound surprising, but the C2B relationship actually exists. In the consumer-to-business model, consumers sell services or even goods to businesses. An excellent example of the C2B model is influencers giving reviews and suggestions after using a product. Other times, paid consumer focus groups can test the products, and the business uses these suggestions to further improve the product.

Consumer-to-Consumer / Customer-to-Customer (C2C)

This is an eCommerce business model where consumers sell their products and services to other consumers, usually through a platform online. A famous example of the customer-to-customer model is the freelance gig market, where individuals sell services like data analysis, content writing, voice acting, web design, or even software development to other people.

Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr facilitate these eCommerce transactions, charging a fee on the payments made.

eCommerce vs. eBusiness

Let’s break down the differences between these two seemingly intertwined terms.

   eCommerce eBusiness
01The eCommerce definition refers to carrying out commercial activities and transactions over the internet.The definition of eBusiness refers to conducting all and any business activities online.
02 eCommerce is a subset of eBusiness.eBusiness is a broader concept than eCommerce.
03eCommerce activities include the purchase and sale of products, as well as making financial transactions on the internet.eBusiness activities include buying raw materials, manufacturing goods, and facilitating financial transactions and product sales on the internet.
04eCommerce usually requires a website or an online platform.eBusiness needs more than just a website. It needs multiple web platforms, enterprise resource planning (ERP), and customer relationship management (CRM) software.
05eCommerce works on a Business to Customer (B2C) modeleBusiness works across all models, so long as they’re on the internet.

From all this, it should be clear what the differences between eCommerce and eBusiness are.


How do I choose an eCommerce platform?

You should typically look out for these qualities when choosing an eCommerce platform:

  • Ease of use
  • Price
  • Dashboard functionality and features
  • SEO tools and marketing compatibility

Is eBusiness a part of eCommerce?

No. In fact, it’s the other way around, with eCommerce being a part of eBusiness. An eBusiness involves running a business or a company’s activities online, while eCommerce is a subset of that.

What are the 4 types of eCommerce businesses?

eCommerce businesses can be

  • B2C – Business-to-consumer
  • B2B – Business-to-business
  • C2B – Consumer-to-business
  • C2C – Consumer-to-consumer/customer-to-customer

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