Entrepreneurship Through E-commerce

It is quite hard not to have used an online business model. Every object and service one can require quite easily found online nowadays. From finding professional services like medical help to buying everyday groceries, everything is available online and can be easily accessed if one has internet services. This can be attributed to E-commerce.

What is Entrepreneurship through E-commerce?

Entrepreneurship through E-commerce refers to starting and operating a business that sells products or services online, typically through an e-commerce platform or website. E-commerce allows entrepreneurs to reach a global market and sell to customers worldwide. It can be a cost-effective way to start a business as it typically requires a lower upfront investment than traditional brick-and-mortar businesses.

E-Commerce Business Models

Major models are −

Business-to-Business (B2B)

A business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce site is one that facilitates transactions between two business organisations, such as a wholesaler and a retailer. The retailer might engage with the consumer individually, perhaps through another online site or a physical store.

As is obvious, B2B transactions occur when one business entity, like an automotive firm, acquires numerous accessories from various vendors via a specialised web portal/website/app. Toyota Motors, for example, has its own B2B online page to communicate with all of its corporate partners, which is not available to private purchasers.

Drop Box is a service-based B2B e-commerce model in which all team members have access to the Drop Boxwork account to store, share, and collaborate on files.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

The B2C e-commerce paradigm is largely for commercial organisations (retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers) who wish to sell their products (or services) directly to their customers through online storefronts. Laxme India, for example, is a product-based B2C FMCG firm with an online presence in India to engage with its clients.

Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C)

Individuals utilise C2C e-commerce web sites/portals such as OLX, eBay, Craigslist, and others to sell their own services or items (typically used / second hand/ pre-owned things) via the Internet. To recruit buyer-customers, these C2C internet shops frequently employ classified adverts or online bidding / auction platforms.

Consumer-to-Business (C2B)

Individuals (customers) sell their goods or services to businesses under the C2B model. Using this technique, a company entity may often extract values from consumers by soliciting their business proposals or soliciting comments or evaluations on existing items. Aside from gathering feedback, reviews, or press releases written by consumers for consumers, there are dedicated freelancer C2B platforms such as 'Up work online transaction platform' and 'Fiverr' that 'crowd source' freelancing services from individuals and pass them on to businesses in need, obviously on a contract and short-term basis. In addition, the C2B idea is utilised to monetize a popular individual's 'influencing' quotient in order to'sell' or 'brand' a firm.

Influencers with a large social media following push their fans and followers to purchase a certain product or service or to take action. With the current social media boom, influencer-matching marketplaces like 'Ifluenz' are gaining traction as new, inventive types of C2B. In India, major influencer marketing platforms include 'Influencer.in,' 'Plixxo,' and 'Chat Box.'

Steps of E-commerce Business

There are several steps involved in starting an e-commerce business, including −

  • Identifying a product or service to sell − This may involve conducting market research to determine what products or services are in demand and what competitors are offering.

  • Setting up an e-commerce platform − This may involve choosing an e-commerce platform, such as Shopify or WooCommerce, and setting up an online store to sell products or services.

  • Marketing and advertising − This may involve creating a marketing plan to promote the business and attract customers, such as through social media, email marketing, or search engine optimization (SEO).

  • Fulfilling orders − It may involve managing inventory, processing orders, and handling shipping and returns.

Overall, entrepreneurship through e-commerce can be a rewarding and lucrative way to start a business, but it also requires careful planning, marketing, and management to be successful.

Benefits of E-commerce for Entrepreneurs

E-commerce offers several potential benefits to starting and operating a business, especially for an entrepreneur. First, E-commerce platforms often have lower upfront costs than traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, as they do not require physical storefronts or expensive inventory. One of the key benefits of e-commerce is the ability to reach a global market, as e-commerce businesses can sell to customers worldwide regardless of location. The global e-commerce market has grown significantly recently, with an estimated 2.14 billion people worldwide making online purchases in 2020.

This growth has been driven by the proliferation of internet access, the increasing adoption of digital payment methods, and the convenience and accessibility of online shopping. E-commerce businesses have the potential to tap into this global market and reach customers around the world, which can be particularly beneficial for small or emerging businesses that may need more resources to reach a global market through traditional channels.

Additionally, E-commerce businesses can often be operated from anywhere with an internet connection, giving entrepreneurs the flexibility to work from home or on the go. E-commerce businesses are often more efficient than traditional businesses, as they automate many tasks, such as inventory management and order fulfillment. Many resources and tools are available to support e-commerce businesses, such as e-commerce platforms, marketing, and advertising tools, and payment processing services.

Potential Drawbacks for Entrepreneurs

There are several challenges that entrepreneurs may face when starting and operating an e-commerce business. Firstly, with more and more individuals offering their goods and services online, the E-commerce industry is highly competitive, and it can take time for small or emerging businesses to stand out in a crowded market. This makes it important for entrepreneurs to find ways to differentiate their products or services, provide excellent customer service, and utilize online marketing and data analytics to stand out in a crowded market. A key problem comes with having to ensure data security.

E-commerce businesses handle sensitive customer data, such as payment information, and data security is a significant concern in the industry. Data breaches and cyber attacks can have serious consequences for e-commerce businesses, including financial losses, damage to reputation, and legal liabilities.

Additionally, E-commerce businesses need to effectively market and advertise their products or services to attract customers, which can be a significant challenge, particularly for those with limited resources. They also need to manage the logistics of shipping and fulfilling orders, which can be complex and time-consuming, particularly for international businesses. It can also be challenging for entrepreneurs to ensure that they have secure and reliable payment processing systems in place in order to accept payments from customers. Establishing effective and reliable customer service systems can also take time and be difficult while starting a business.

Controversies Regarding E-commerce

There are several debates and controversies surrounding entrepreneurship through e-commerce, including −

  • Competition with brick-and-mortar businesses − Some argue that e-commerce businesses have an unfair advantage over traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, as they do not have the same overhead costs and can reach a global market. This has led to concerns about the impact on local economies and small businesses.

  • Consumer protection − There have been concerns about the protection of consumers in the e-commerce industry, particularly about issues such as fraud, data privacy, and the safety of products.

  • Intellectual property − There have been debates about protecting intellectual property in the e-commerce industry, particularly about issues such as counterfeit goods and online piracy.

  • Accessibility − There are debates about the accessibility of e-commerce to those without access to reliable internet connectivity or appropriate devices.

  • Delivery and logistics − There have been debates about the environmental impact of e-commerce, particularly about issues such as the carbon footprint of delivery and packaging waste.


E-commerce platforms provide individuals with a potential business opportunity. However, they are accompanied by many challenges. Successful e-commerce entrepreneurs can navigate these challenges and find ways to differentiate their products or services, provide excellent customer service, and utilize online marketing and data analytics to stand out in a crowded market. E-commerce can be a rewarding and lucrative way to start and grow a business, but it requires careful planning, strategy, and management to be successful.

Updated on: 27-Apr-2023


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