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What is the Difference Between Ecommerce and Ebusiness?

11 min read

As an aspiring online seller, two terms you should be familiar with about the online selling world are ebusiness and ecommerce. Many people consider these two terms interchangeable. Therefore, it’s no surprise that we think making a distinction between them is unimportant. If success in online selling is important to you, you should know the difference between these two terms, and when to apply each one.

What is the difference between ecommerce and ebusiness? This article will answer the question by introducing both concepts and showing you how they are different.

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What is Ecommerce?

Ecommerce is an abbreviation for “electronic commerce,” and it is the process of selling goods and services using the internet. To most people, ecommerce simply means selling only physical goods using the internet, as seen on platforms like Amazon and eBay. However, ecommerce goes way beyond that. It is a term for any commercial transaction that occurs online. It does not have to be only physical goods, but also encompasses digital goods, online courses, and more.

The rise of ecommerce in the 21st century has been steady. However, since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been massive growth in the sector. Consequently, there is a projection of a market estimate of $21 trillion by 2027. This further shows how large the sector is and how important it is for interested individuals to know about it.

Types Of Ecommerce Models

There are four primary forms of electronic commerce, and each one is perfect for different a business model and need.

Business to Consumer (B2C)

The Business to Consumer (B2C) model involves a business selling its goods and services to consumers. It is the most popular form of ecommerce. The majority of Business to Consumer ecommerce involves online shopping. However, it requires that businesses do a lot of product marketing to engage many customers.

Examples of a B2C model include:

  • Online shopping of goods such as clothes, shoes, without visiting a physical shop.
  • A game company offering its customers in-game purchases

Business to Business (B2B)

Businesses use the Business to Business model to sell products and services to one another. Depending on the item they are transacting, the buyer can sometimes be a consumer, or the buyer can resell to the end-user. When compared to B2C transactions, business-to-business transactions have a longer sales cycle. However, they have a higher order value, and there is a recurrence of purchases.

An example of a business-to-business (B2B) transaction is a company selling video production services to another company for marketing campaign use.

Consumer to Consumer (C2C)

The consumer-to-consumer ecommerce model is a popular model on ecommerce platforms such as eBay. From the name, it involves consumers selling products and services to one another. The ecommerce platforms make their money from this model by charging the customers for transaction and listing fees.

Consumer to consumer ecommerce model is characterized and propelled by self-motivated people. However, since customers majorly control the model and there is less management intervention, the C2C model lacks quality control and maintenance.

Prominent examples of businesses running the C2C ecommerce model are online shopping involving an individual offering a personal artifact for sale on eBay.

Consumer to Business (C2B)

The consumer-to-business ecommerce model involves individuals selling products and services to a business. In this model, a website will aid a customer in putting up what they offer such that businesses can bid for them. Examples of a Consumer to Business (C2B) model include:

  • Social media influencers using social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to promote a business for a fee.
  • People who are selling their services as freelancers on platforms such as Upwork (previously Elance) and Fiverr.

What is Ebusiness?

Ebusiness simply means conducting business using the internet and online technology. Unlike ecommerce, ebusiness is not exclusive to buying and selling products and services online. It uses the power of the internet to enhance other forms of business activities which includes servicing customers, payment processing, managing production control, recruitment, collaborating with business partners, sharing information, running automated employee services, recruiting, etc. Ebusiness involves running a physical store both online and offline in a mutually exclusive manner, and it is more efficient.

Types Of Ebusiness Models

Ebusiness also has two significant forms/models employed by different types of business.

Pure Play Model

The pure-play ebusiness model applies to companies that work with only one line of products. This model is well-loved by investors because they are easily analyzed. However, they are not common. Therefore, they are hard to identify since many companies presently deal with more than one product.

These businesses can operate both online or offline. So far, they only deal with a particular product. Example is a business that deals with only football boots and makes sales online and offline.

Note: There are situations in which Pure play business doesn’t have to be online-based. For example, Starbucks operates a pure play business model since their resources and effort are directed to only one product —coffee.

Bricks and Clicks

This is the most popular ebusiness model, in which a store operates both online and offline. It also goes by the names “click and mortar” and “clicks and bricks.” The business model comprises a physical store (brick/ brick and mortar) and an online store (clicks). Customers can make purchases by visiting the physical store or by going through the online store.

Due to the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses now run the bricks and clicks business model. Examples of big-name companies running the business model include Target, Walmart, Old Navy, Petco, and DSW. All of them have retail stores. However, they are also accessible via their online stores.

Ecommerce Vs. Ebusiness: What Is the Difference Between Ecommerce and Ebusiness?

After getting to know the two terms intimately, we can comfortably answer the question: what is the difference between ecommerce and ebusiness. Below are five differences between the two terms apart.

Ecommerce is a subset within an ebusiness superset

When comparing both terms, it is correct to say that ecommerce is a subset of ebusiness. Ebusiness incorporates internet or online-based electronic business transactions, which is similar to the ecommerce aspect.

Types of online activities

Ecommerce involves businesses and customers making commercial transactions online. On the other hand, ebusiness involves making online commercial transactions, obtaining raw materials, and educating customers. Also, in ecommerce, there is a monetary transaction limit. However, there is no monetary limit to the transaction on ebusiness.

Main benefactor

The person who benefits most from ecommerce business is the customer who is making the online purchase. However, there is a wide variety of people who are the main benefactor in ebusiness. This includes customers, business partners, suppliers, etc.

Use of the Internet

From the above explanation, ecommerce is an electronic business that only occurs on the internet. However, in ebusiness, business processes can occur both online using the internet, intranet, and extranet electronic networks and offline.


Ecommerce requires a business or customer to have access to a website. This depends on the type of ecommerce business model you are running on. However, there are ecommerce platforms such as eBay, Selar, etc., that provide such templates. On the other hand, ebusiness requires enterprises to access a website. Also, ebusiness includes having good Customer Relationship Management and Enterprise Resource Planning for the effective running of business online.


We hope our article has given you a better understanding of the terms ebusiness and ecommerce. Even though the words look similar, they are very different. However, knowing the difference between ebusiness and ecommerce can help you design your business model using the present technology to suit yourself and your customers.

Choosing the right model depends on what you want. For example, you have to know whether you wish to conduct transactions online only or you want to enhance your business with online technology without adding an online store to your website? Answering these questions comes with knowing the differences between ebusiness and ecommerce, which we explained in this article. Be diligent about what you want and consider all differences before choosing between the two concepts for your business model.


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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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I like that Ecwid was easy to start and to use. Even for a person like me, without any technical background. Very well written help articles. And the support team is the best for my opinion.
For everything it has to offer, ECWID is incredibly easy to set up. Highly recommend! I did a lot of research and tried about 3 other competitors. Just try ECWID and you'll be online in no time.

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