Are E-Commerce and E-Business the same thing?

  • E-commerce sales are expect to account for 18.1% of total retail sales worldwide by 2021.
  • More than 91% of e-businesses with over 11 employees now use CRM.

We often come across the terms e-commerce and e-business in our daily lives. You might be also thinking that what’s the difference between these two terms? Do both terms refer to the same thing?  

Technically speaking, e-commerce and e-business are not the same things. Some people tend to use both terms interchangeably. But, they are not synonyms. E-commerce is just a subset of e-business. This is a very broad concept & e-commerce is just one section of it.


Image credit: wpforms (data via Nielsen)

The following article will give you detailed information about e-commerce and e-business.

What is E-business?

Running different business operations over the digital medium is known as it . The various operations include getting raw materials, providing goods to consumers, connecting with clients, managing the employees, customer support, providing education, and workflow analysis. In fact, e-commerce is just a part of e-business. Different things that come under E-businesses are:

  • Digital Marketing.
  • Customer education.
  • Buying & selling of goods.
  • Supply chain management.
  • Online content management system.
  • Internal business communication.

Types of e-business

E-businesses are divide into two parts. Completely online business and hybrid e-businesses. The former ones are completely online. These have an electronic existence only. While hybrid e-businesses have both electronic (online) and physical (offline) presence. Most businesses currently have both online and offline existence.

What is E-commerce?

The term e-commerce is an abbreviated word for Electronic Commerce. So, all the commercial activities carried out with the use of electronic and digital platforms are known as e-commerce. The term commercial here refers to buying and selling goods in exchange for money. Amazon, Walmart, Alibaba, and eBay are examples of some e-commerce websites. E-commerce activities also include:

  • Online electricity bill payment.
  • Booking a movie ticket.
  • Filing taxes online.
  • Purchasing Adobe CC license.
  • Getting customer support online

The basic thing to keep in mind is that any monetary transaction, which is done with the help of electronic or digital media, comes under e-commerce.

Types of Ecommerce businesses:

  1. B2B: Here the commercial transaction happens between two businesses. Intel, Oracle, Alibaba, and Microsoft are examples of B2B eCommerce. 
  2. B2C: The commerce in which businesses sell their goods and services directly to consumers are B2C businesses. Amazon, Walmart, Google, and Facebook are the top examples of B2C. 
  3. C2C: The commercial transaction between two consumers is known as C2C e-commerce. Ex- eBay, AliExpress, and Craiglist.
  4. C2B: The transaction where the money flows from businesses to consumers is C2B e-commerce. In this type of business, individuals create value and businesses consume that value. Google Adsense and Affiliate income are great examples of C2B e-commerce.

Difference between e-commerce & e-business

The following are the key differences between e-commerce and e-business:

  1. E-commerce refers to all commercial transactions over the internet. While it means the electronic presence of a  business. It includes conducting all the business operations through the internet.
  2. It is a very wide term. It is a superset of e-commerce. On the other hand, e-commerce is just a small part of it. Also, it is not necessary that it needs to have e-commerce as its part. 
  3. Intranet, internet, and extranet are used for running an e-business. It is because an e-business needs to connect on a private network (intranet and extranet) to communicate within the organization and with other external organizations. E-commerce just needs the internet to connect businesses and consumers.
  4. E-commerce usually requires the use of only a website. While this involves the use of multiple face websites, CRMs, and ERPs to connect different business processes.
  5. Monetary transactions are only involved in e-commerce. It includes all kinds of transactions (like information, technology & monetary transactions). It is not limit to transactions, unlike e-commerce.

The technology in the modern world is improving day by day. Be it e-commerce or e-business, both are being adopted by businesses to increase their efficiency and revenues. Lastly, e-commerce means buying and selling goods online. And, it means bringing all your business operations online.