Shopping online has been gaining popularity since the unfortunate emergent of the ‘Coronavirus’ or ‘Covid-19’ pandemic and the ensuing lockdown that is happening worldwide. Owing to this, most people have to conduct their shopping or business online using their computers or smartphones with Internet connection from where they are. Thankfully, this has been made possible by two popular networks known as E-Commerce and E-Business.
Most people are of the opinion that these two terms mean the same. In fact, they are not, but are closely related to one another.
Definition of E-Commerce
The term E-Commerce, is an acronym referring to “Electronic ‘Commerce” and it’s the process of selling and buying of products through an online store. Unlike a “brick and mortar” store, there is no face to face interfacing between the seller and the buyer in order for the transaction to take place.
Some E-Commerce models are as follows:
1. Business to Business (B2B)
This refers to any type of electronic transactions of products or services that take place between two companies.
2. Business to Consumer (B2C)
This refers to any type of electronic transactions of products or services that take place between the seller and the customer. By far, this is a very common type of E-Commerce.
This type of E-Commerce is generally more dynamic and easily conducted. With the setting up of many online stores, B2C has increased very significantly over the last couple of months due to the lockdown. You can now easily find just about any type of online store and in any niche you want over the Internet. They sell all kinds of physical products such as books, gadgets, clothes, tools, accessories, etc. and digital products such as e-Books, information, online courses, etc.
Many people are moving toward online shopping more than the physical one because it’s more convenient, and the prices are usually cheaper too, even with shipping cost. Another plus point is most online stores will also offer free shipping for purchases exceeding a certain amount.
3. Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
This refers to any electronic transaction of products or services between one customer and another customer. Generally, this can take place with the help of a third-party, for instance, Amazon, eBay or Etsy as a marketplace for online selling and buying.
4. Consumer to Business (C2B)
Consumer to business is a type of business model where the customer or user creates a product or provides a service that a business or company uses to complement its business set-up, to enhance its business image or to gain advantages over its competitors.
For instance, websites such as Fiverr, Upwork, etc. where their freelancers offer their services like website or logo creations, and any business can use their services if they want.
5. Business to Administration (B2A)
This refers to any type of transactions that are conducted between business and government through the Internet. It includes many different types of services, such as fiscal, social security, employments, legal documents, etc.
6. Consumer to Administration (C2A)
This refers to any type of transactions that take place between the consumer and the government. For example, taxes, education, health, social security, etc.
Definition of E-Business
The term E-Business is an acronym referring to “Electronic Business,” and its business is conducted with the use of the Internet, Extranet, Intranet and website. In this sense, E-Business is a bit similar to E-Commerce, but it’s more than just selling and buying products or services online.
Essentially, E-Business encompasses a wider range of business processes, such as electronic ordering and processing, customer relationship management, supply chain management, etc. Generally, E-Commerce can be construed as a part of E-Business.
There are two types of E-Business models:
1. Pure play
This refers to a company that only operates over the Internet and offers only one particular type of product or service so as to gain a larger market share.
2. Bricks and clicks
It’s a business model adopted by merchants that have physical retail outlets and run their business in both online and offline ways. In other words, the merchants provide their customers both and offline and an online channel to shop.
How is E-Commerce Different from E-Business?
The process of selling and buying products over the Internet is simply called E-Commerce. However, E-Business is not confined to just the selling and buying process. Any business that is conducted over the Internet is considered as E-Business. For instance, the information and communication technologies used in upgrading one’s business. Basically, E-Commerce becomes a part of E-Business.
It’s not necessary for any E-Business to be physically present in the business world. If a company has an office, along with its physical presence and conducting its business activities over the Internet, then it can be termed as E-Commerce.
E-Commerce refers to any type of business transaction which involves money, but E-Business involves money as well as supporting activities.
E-Commerce requires the use of the Internet to be able to conduct business worldwide., while E-Business can make use of more than the Internet. For instance, the use of the Intranet and the Extranet too to connect with the business parties.
Pros of E-Commerce and E-Business
Both E-Commerce and E-Business have actually revolutionized the way people shop. Customers would have likely enjoyed some of their benefits. By the same token, business owners have also benefited as follows:
1. Cost-saving and time-saving for their business
With a retail outlet, it means that there will be some type of overhead costs that you will need to pay monthly such as rental, utility bills, telephone bill, staff salaries, etc.
When you take your business online, you can cut down or even do away with some of these costs. Turning your business into E-Business can also help simplify certain works. For instance, it’s much easier to email bulk discount coupons than printing hundreds of the coupons and sending them through post.
2. E-Business can operate 24/7
Thanks to the Internet, any E-Business can literally run 24/7 with no constraint on operational hours and days.
3. Eliminates location constraint
The Internet is also able to cut across all time zones as well as connect people worldwide. With a retail outlet, customers will be constrained by its proximity to where they live and also the hours of operation.
Besides, with E-Commerce, your online store is reachable using smartphones and other mobile devices. This means that people can buy your products from anywhere while on the move.
4. Easy to track business growth and goal
There are now many tools and apps available to keep track of your business growth and goal easily as well as to understand your customers’ buying behaviors. For example, the bestselling products for the past couple of months, the number of returning customers, the number of cart abandonment, etc.
Unless you perform an additional record-keeping task, it will be difficult to track and generate such data in a retail outlet.
5. Provide better customer support
The sooner you can respond to your customers’ queries, the better for your business. Having an online chat feature on your business website will make it much easier for your E-Business to satisfy that need.
With E-Commerce and E-Business, both you as the business owner and your customers can enjoy all the benefits.
As food for thought, it can be said that E-Commerce is a big part of E-Business as well as E-Commerce is E-Business, but E-Business is not necessarily E-Commerce.