E-commerce: a simple, concise definition

Through our E-Commerce Agency Optimize 360

Le electronic commercealso known as e-commerce or e-transaction, refers to all the transactions carried out via the internet or other computer networks.

For wellThese include intangible goods such as software, online music and ebooks, as well as tangible goods such as clothing, electronic equipment and household items.

The main players in e-commerce are companies and individuals who buy, sell or exchange products and services using electronic means of payment.



Electronic commerce

Types of e-commerce

There are several types of e-commerce, depending on the participants in the transactions and the communication channels used. There are generally four main categories:

  1. Business to Business (B2B) : This type concerns transactions between two companies. For example, a manufacturer selling its products to a retailer or a wholesaler buying from a producer.
  2. Business to Consumer (B2C) : This refers to transactions between a company and an individual. This is the most common case, with the sale of products or services to end consumers via the Internet.
  3. Consumer to Consumer (C2C) : Here, private individuals trade directly with each other. This includes sales between private individuals on online classified ad platforms or auction sites.
  4. Consumer to Business (C2B) : Transactions here take place in the opposite direction, with a consumer offering a product or service to a company. This might be the case for the sale of photos or videos to media companies, or the proposal of a specific service by a freelancer to a company.

How e-commerce works

The process of exchanging products and services via e-commerce generally follows the following stages:

  • Search for products or services : Customers use e-commerce sitesYou can also use search engines and social networks to find offers that match your needs.
  • Evaluation of alternatives : They then compare the different options available in terms of price, quality, features and the opinions of other consumers.
  • Purchase decision : Once the option has been chosen, customers place their order by adding the product or service to their virtual shopping basket and providing the necessary information for delivery and payment.
  • Payment : Customers generally pay online using a secure solution such as bank cards, e-wallet services or bank transfers.
  • Delivery : The company ships the goods purchased according to the terms agreed at the time of the order (carrier, delivery time, shipping costs, etc.).
  • After-sales service and support : If customers have any problems or questions about the product or service they have purchased, they can contact the company for assistance.

Advantages of e-commerce

E-commerce offers a number of advantages over traditional commerce:

    • Accessibility : With the Internet, consumers have access to a wide choice of products and services available throughout the world, without geographical or time restrictions.
    • Practicality : The advantage of online shopping is that it can be carried out from home with great flexibility, without having to travel to shopping centres or specialist shops.
    • Savings : E-tailers generally have lower costs than physical retailers. They can therefore offer more attractive prices and/or reduce their margins. What's more, comparison sites make it easy for consumers to find the best deals.
    • Customisation : Companies can tailor their offering to the specific needs of each customer based on their purchase and browsing history, as well as demographic and behavioural data.

Disadvantages of e-commerce

Despite these advantages, e-commerce also has its drawbacks:

      • Lack of direct contact : Consumers cannot see, touch or try out the product before buying. This can create a degree of mistrust and a risk of disappointment or dissatisfaction.
      • Fraud and security : Online transactions involve the transmission of personal and financial information that can be intercepted by hackers. It is therefore vital for companies to guarantee a high level of security on their e-commerce website.
      • Delivery times : Unlike in-store purchases, where you leave immediately with your goods, online purchases require a waiting time for delivery that can sometimes be long.
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