August 17, 2015 Last updated September 18th, 2018 1,441 Reads share

Enhance Your Knowledge About Various Categories of eCommerce

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Have you ever been inquisitive about the types of eCommerce being used by businesses and developers? Are you cognizant about the existing eCommerce varieties?

It might be possible that due to this lack of knowledge you might not have been able to comprehend their requirements. This post is just for you if you have been in this situation. You will gain more clarity on the definitions of eCommerce and will be able to deal with client requests in a more professional manner.

Types of eCommerce platforms can fundamentally be classified based on three main factors.

  1. Licensing model
  2. Sales scenario
  3. Data exchange

Read on to explore and unleash some interesting details.

Licensing Models – Classification:

#1. On-premise eCommerce

On-premise eCommerce software initially requires you to invest only a specific amount for a single time. This amount paid during the initial stage can be called as licensing fees. Apart from this, users will have to invest in some hardware and installation services. Other costs involved would be for data migration and continuous maintenance. Yearly fees for software updates and support must not be forgotten.

Examples: IBM WebSphere, Hybris

All in all, it is a convenient and flexible eCommerce platform. It ensures security and reliability in terms of performance. However, the only thing needed to avail of its benefits is to put in a substantial amount as licensing fees, self-maintenance, and technical know-how.

#2. Software as a Service (SaaS) eCommerce

SaaS, a cloud based delivery model, enables hosting and management of an application in a service provider’s datacenter. It asks for payment on a subscription basis.

Examples: Shopify and Demandware

In comparison to on-premise eCommerce, SaaS involves less cost as it is easily scalable. It is hosted and upgraded by an eCommerce provider. Due to these reasons, its integration is limited with back-end systems. It is deprived of data security and doesn’t offer total control over the system.

#3. Open source eCommerce

Everyone is aware of the fact that Open source eCommerce is a zero cost platform which lets users install, maintain, secure, and configure software on their own servers. Fundamental technical expertise is required in the web design and development field to install an open source platform and let it start working. It is called open source in the sense that the source code can be accessed and changed by users as per their unique requirement.

Examples: Magento, PayCart, osCommerce

Apart from providing the benefit of being free of cost, Open Source eCommerce offers a great deal of flexibility and a modifiable source code. It also provides a number of add-ons, plugins, and extensions to improved functionality. To utilize the complete functionalities of this platform, the users need to have technical knowledge. Hosting expenses largely determine the website performance. The major drawback of this system is a standard integration with back-end system.

Sales Scenario – Classification:

#1. B2C or Business-to-Consumer

Business-to-Consumer eCommerce environment involves the selling of goods online to the end users. Any end user of the product or service can browse through the B2C eCommerce web sites. Any product related inquiry can be made by clicking on ‘Contact Us’ or ‘Write to us’ button.

#2. B2B or Business-to-Business

This eCommerce environment involves companies which sell goods to other companies. They don’t involve in selling to the general public. It is a kind of trade sale or sale of services. Browsing through their web store will require the user to log in as they contain customer-specific pricing, collections, and discounts.

#3. C2B or Consumer-to-Business

In this kind of eCommerce environment, consumers offer their products and/or services to companies, who can make quotes or bids. On reviewing the bids, companies meeting the desired criteria will be selected.

#4. C2C Consumer-to-Consumer

EBay is the best example of a C2C eCommerce environment. Consumers can sell their products to other consumers on this platform.

Types of Data Exchange – Classification:

It is obvious that a dedicated back-end system is accessed by e-commerce software to derive information. This information is saved in related system database. The business logic consists of all business rules related to data storage, creation, display, calculation, and recreation inside an ERP or CRM system. Two major kinds of data exchange are considered to derive information.

Example: Enterprise resource planning (ERP) or Customer relationship management (CRM) system

#1. Integrated eCommerce

It is a core part of the software solution. Installed into the back-end system, it forms a link between the business logic and database of back-end system. Back-end system has information which can be used repeatedly and reflected on the front or back end of the eCommerce platform. There is no need for any investment in re-creating a distinct database if you are going for integrated eCommerce. It again makes use of those of the back-end system. B2B and B2C are the scenarios wherein you will find the rampant use of the integrated eCommerce software.

Example: Sana Commerce

#2. Interfaced eCommerce

This type of eCommerce comprises of a software solution which is set up atop the back-end system. Hence, there is a manual set of linking between the back-end system database and business logic. Interfaced eCommerce software products possess their own database as well as business logic. Via a link to a specific back-end system, the business logic is constantly synchronized. Interfaced eCommerce is widely used in a B2C scenario.

Example: Magento


Each eCommerce platform comes with its own features and merits. The platform that you choose largely depends on the type of business, for which the website is to be created, and its unique requirements. However, knowledge about each and every type of the eCommerce platform along with an idea about the cost involved can help you arrive at the right choice for the right business. Analyze each platform before selecting one.

Images: “e commerce. world map illustration design over a blue background/


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Michael Waugh

Michael Waugh

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