Learn what E-commerce is and how it evolved.
Mariusz Bal
Customer Success Team
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What is E-commerce - Definition

E-commerce - short for electronic commerce, refers to the buying and selling of products or services online. It is a rapidly growing industry that has transformed the way people shop and conduct business online. E-commerce transactions can take place between businesses, between businesses and consumers, or between consumers. E-commerce platforms can be found on websites, mobile apps, and social media platforms.

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Several types of ecommerce businesses models:

1. Business to Consumer ecommerce business (B2C): In this type of e-commerce, businesses sell products or services directly to consumers. Examples of B2C e-commerce include online retailers such as Amazon and Walmart and online food delivery services such as Grubhub and Uber Eats.

2. Business to Business (B2B): In this type of e-commerce, businesses sell products or services to other businesses. B2B e-commerce is especially common in the manufacturing, wholesale, and distribution industries. An example of B2B e-commerce is Alibaba, an online retailer which connects small and medium-sized businesses with suppliers in China.

3. Consumer to Consumer (C2C): In this type of e-commerce, consumers buy online store and sell products or services to each other. Examples of C2C e-commerce include Craigslist and eBay.

4. Consumer to Business (C2B): In this type of e-commerce, consumers sell products or services to businesses. C2B e-commerce is increasingly common in areas such as freelance work and digital content creation. For example, a freelance writer may offer their services selling online, to businesses in need of content.

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History of E-commerce business models.

In 1991, the National Science Foundation (NSF) lifted restrictions on the commercial use of the internet, paving the way for businesses to begin selling products online. In 1994, the first secure online sales transaction was completed by a startup called NetMarket, which sold a Sting CD to a customer in Pennsylvania.

The same year, Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos as an online bookstore. Amazon quickly expanded its product offerings, becoming one of the largest online retailers in the world. Other early e-commerce pioneers included eBay, which was founded in 1995 as an online auction site, and PayPal, which was founded in 1998 as a payment processing platform for online stores.

In the early 2000s, online business and e-commerce began to expand rapidly as more and more consumers gained access to the internet. In 2001, the dot-com bubble burst, leading to a wave of bankruptcies and failures in the e-commerce industry. However, e-commerce continued to grow and evolve. In 2005, YouTube was founded, allowing businesses and consumers to share video content online. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter also emerged, giving brands new channels to connect with consumers.

More recent developments in e-commerce include the rise of mobile commerce, or m-commerce, which allows consumers to shop and make purchases through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The introduction of digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet has also made it easier for consumers to make online purchases. In addition online retail, the growth of e-commerce has led to the rise of other industries such as online advertising and logistics.


In summary, e-commerce is a growing industry that has revolutionized the way people buy and sell products and services. Different types of e-commerce include B2C, B2B, C2C, and C2B. E-commerce offers many benefits, such as increased convenience and access to a wider range of products, to online shopping but also poses challenges such as security concerns and logistical issues. As technology continues to advance, e-commerce is likely to become an even more integral part of our daily lives.

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