What Are the Four Types of E-Commerce?

Arthur Freydin

September 14, 2022

Types of E-Commerce

E-commerce is a broad term that encompasses various types of business transactions. Each class involves a different kind of transaction, and differing objects exchanged. Examples of e-commerce transactions include direct sales to consumers, bulk sales to retailers, and third-party manufacturing and shipping. Other e-commerce transactions include advance sales to fund startup capital and automatic recurring purchases until consumers cancel their subscriptions.

Direct sellers

Digitalization has allowed direct sellers to expand their scope and reach new generations of consumers. The benefits of digitalization include a more incredible speed of purchase and delivery. Direct sellers also benefit from increased customer loyalty. Despite the rise in competition, direct sellers maintain a personal touch. These four types of e-commerce differ in their approach to customer service and management.

Distributors are companies that sell other people’s products. They should invest in direct marketing and strategies to build a loyal customer base. Moreover, they should evaluate their competition and understand their unique value proposition. This outstanding value should be clearly defined in all aspects of their business, from the back-end processes to the website shopping experience.

Business-to-consumer (B2C) commerce is the most common type of e-commerce. It allows business owners to sell products directly to consumers. They can also supply goods to other businesses and government entities. They all have different advantages and disadvantages.

Online intermediaries

E-commerce transactions are conducted through various types of online intermediaries. These intermediaries facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers. These companies usually use payment systems to handle money flows. Some standard payment systems include credit cards and the digital equivalents of writing checks, such as First Virtual and Digicash. The financial intermediaries charge a small fee per transaction and absorb some of the risks associated with the flow of money.

The first type is a specialized intermediary. These intermediaries provide services based on economies of scale. They usually utilize information technology (IT) to achieve economies of scale. Some examples of specialized intermediaries include international consumer credit firms and Federal Express. They also offer high-quality services and maintain a high level of consumer satisfaction.

Social e-commerce uses existing social ties to promote products and services. Because of this, customers may feel less frustrated if their recommendations are based on their social connections. This also reduces the social cost of rejection. As a result, offers from social networks are less likely to be spam and more likely to reflect actual efficacy.


Community-based e-commerce websites provide a platform for smaller vendors to sell their products. These services are designed to facilitate sales, create distribution channels, and offer integrated community-based e-commerce business solutions. Users can browse, purchase products from various vendors, and follow other stores and members. It makes it easy for people to sell and buy products and services. To be successful, these websites must provide a sense of community and inclusion.

Community commerce websites are designed to cater to local needs and preferences. For example, farmers’ markets are popular destinations for farmers to sell their products, while online marketplaces offer services and products for the community. This type of website doesn’t require high-volume traffic to grow; word-of-mouth from residents and businesses will help it spread. According to Nielsen research, community commerce websites have experienced a 400 percent growth in monthly active users.

While a community-based e-commerce website may take some time to develop, the benefits of maintaining community are many. Community-based e-commerce sites can increase brand loyalty and build brand equity. But building a community requires hard work and a good core part. Community members only purchase from you if they feel good about what you sell.


Fee-based e-commerce sites are those that charge consumers to use their websites. These sites typically charge a transaction fee for every sale. They also offer a small fee for subscription services, such as articles and stories. These sites can be profitable if they can attract large numbers of customers and maximize exposure.