What is electronic commerce or e-commerce?
It is called electronic commerce or e-commerce to transactions related to the purchase and sale of products and services through online platforms that can cover websites, applications, social networks or any other means that allows this type of operations to be done through the internet.
This includes any transaction of sale that you make online, such as acquiring new shoes on a clothing website, buying electronic products on websites such as Amazon, buying and selling items on eBay between individuals or buying products on a special website for employees of a company, among many other cases.
Electronic commerce began to be born in 1991, when the Internet was opened for commercial use. While the Internet became very popular for this year when it reached the general public, it took approximately four years to create security protocols that allowed rapid access and a permanent Internet connection.
With the birth of Amazon in 1994, whose commitment was much more ambitious than many other businesses that were already on the web, offering significantly more products to users, e-commerce was officially inaugurated. It was founded by Jeff Bezos and was one of the first e-commerce companies in America to sell products over the Internet.
Different types of electronic commerce
B2B: from business to business
B2B online business (business-to-business) or between companies is one of the best known types of e-commerce and includes all kinds of activities between two companies through the internet. A concrete example of this can be a portal of a supermarket aimed at the hotel sector or a platform for the purchase of construction materials for companies dedicated to masonry.
B2C: from the company to the consumer
B2C (business-to-consumer) or business-to-consumer transactions are probably the best known type of e-commerce operations. Under this modality, private consumers acquire products or services from a business through electronic commerce, usually through an online store on their own website or on specialized platforms where various vendors offer their services.
Examples of B2C transactions are acquiring a computer on a portal like Amazon, making purchases in a supermarket as a private individual, or offering products to private customers in a virtual store on a platform such as eBay.
B2E: from the company to the employee
While this is not such a model in use, B2E (business-to-employee) or business-to-employee e-commerce is a way that some companies have to offer various payment products or services to their employees, usually to a lower price than the market. Its objective is usually that employees enjoy advantages by belonging to the company regardless of salary, either in the form of services and products of the company itself or of other companies through a specialized portal, usually with restricted access.
Some Spanish banks, for example, offer a shopping portal to their employees with a variety of products with significant discounts, while some airlines or hotel chains make discounts on trips or hotels through their own exclusive portals for their employees.
C2C: from consumer to consumer
Another business model is electronic commerce between consumers or C2C (consumer-to-consumer), which basically refers to transactions between private users, which generally covers second-hand purchases of products that have already been used previously.
Although these types of purchases were traditionally limited to the local level and among acquaintances, they have evolved to the point that there are no longer only platforms such as eBay, Craiglist or Milanuncios that facilitate private users to dispose of goods they do not need, but have arisen even specialized C2C applications such as Wallapop in which it is the customers themselves who negotiate among them the sale of second-hand products of all kinds such as phones, accessories, clothing, comics or any other type of item.
G2C: from government to consumer
Government-to-consumer G2C (government-to-consumer) transactions are probably the least common and occur when a government of any field offers citizens access to online services or products through their own portals or platforms.
Generally these require an identification to associate each procedure with a specific citizen. Although the offer is usually very limited, usually in this area, electronic services transactions, such as online tax return or access to government certificates, claims or procedures by the consumer, generally move.
Advantages of electronic commerce as a company
Access to customers from anywhere in the world as the internet is a global medium
Easy control of inventory, orders and customers
Ability to offer a large amount of information easily to the interested customer
Ease to send commercial campaigns to customers