The 9 Types Of Ecommerce

by John Sanderson
The 9 Types Of Ecommerce

Ecommerce has changed the world of business forever, and it’s just getting started. We interface with ecommerce platforms every day, from browsing and shopping to turning profits of our own.

This goes to show that ecommerce isn’t only massive in scale, but highly varied in terms of scope and functionality. There are more dimensions to ecommerce than you may think, so let’s learn about the nine main types right now.

1. Wholesale B2B

A large portion of economic activity happens out of sight and out of mind from the consumer domain. These are the business-to-business connections that deal in goods and services at enormous scale and volume.

While many of these wholesale contracts are still formed via phone calls and handshakes, digital platforms have changed much in the B2B sphere. 

All the ecommerce essentials are here. Orders can now be automated, customized, and accelerated to meet the increasing demand on the global stage.

2. Direct-to-Consumer

Ever wonder how modern ecommerce shops keep their prices so low while delivering top-quality goods and services? The answer is the direct-to-consumer model that removes substantial overhead and passes savings along to you.

The D2C phenomenon has changed the status quo in industries from jewelry and apparel to food, pharmaceuticals, and countless other sectors. 

You’re likely a beneficiary of D2C savings, so enjoy the extra cash and convenience that this ecommerce innovation provides. 

3. Dropshipping

Think of dropshipping like D2C ecommerce on steroids. These vendors are able to minimize their overhead even further by completely doing away with inventory. Instead, they utilize a third party to fulfill orders, manage inventory, and handle all supply chain needs. 

The business model is a sign of the times, maximizing efficiency and keeping operations extremely lean. Speed and agility do come at a cost, however, as many dropshippers have issues with quality control and customer support.

Starting a dropshipping store is easier than ever thanks to advanced Shopify search functions and social media usage at all-time highs. Just know that it takes time to see profits and success is never guaranteed. 

4. Membership Services

Who doesn’t love the feeling of exclusivity and access that comes with being a member? From news media outlets and streaming services to niche online communities discussing fitness or finance, this is a viable (and fast-growing) pillar of the ecommerce scene. 

There are platform-builders that allow you to quickly deploy your idea and hit the ground running with revenue. The overhead is low, and you can monetize your expertise and reputation to great effect with the right strategy.

The appeal of membership will never go away – it just looks a bit different in the digital world. 

5. Digital Products

Physical goods still lead the way in ecommerce profits, but digital products are not far behind. If something can be digitized, it probably already has been, and there’s someone online selling right now.

These are the ebooks, the courses, and the full range of digital assets that sell by the millions each year, and require zero supply chain management for those at the helm. 

If you have a creative streak or some expertise to share with the world, figure out how to build a digital product and sell it for the rest of time. 

6. C2C Marketplaces

Some of the most profitable ecommerce operations don’t even have anything to sell you directly. Instead, they facilitate a user-friendly marketplace in which buyers and sellers can connect and transact as they wish, while the website takes some profits off the top.

It’s a brilliant idea mastered by sites such as eBay and Etsy, and plenty more small players are stepping up to fill various niches. A handful of companies are mobile-focused, meaning they run (sometimes) exclusively on apps for a lightweight ecommerce experience.

7. Subscription Goods

If you’re going to buy the same vitamins and toothpaste month after month, why not just lock in a subscription with your favorite online vendor and save some money? This is the simple – and successful – approach that many ecommerce operators are taking nowadays. 

The savings can be significant by buying larger quantities ahead of time, so everyone wins.

8. C2B Platforms

Many small brands are popping up with consumer-to-business platforms, allowing you to make a quick buck selling used goods. These tend to be bigger-ticket items like electronics and bikes. Some even help you get rid of your car at a better price than a dealership trade-in.

The rise of C2B platforms will be something to look for moving forward, and represents a big opportunity for new ecommerce titans to emerge. 

9. Affiliates And Referrals 

This type of ecommerce is woven through all the rest, linking customers and businesses with discounts, deals, and introductory offers. Some social media accounts have turned into six-figure businesses from affiliate links alone, so don’t overlook the power of this strategy.

Your Ecommerce Vision Made Real

There is tons of money to be made in the ecommerce realm, and plenty of ways to do it. Use this inspiration and get started writing your success story now.