10 Types of Ecommerce Websites & Business Models

10 Types of Ecommerce Websites & Business Models

The e-commerce industry is experiencing a remarkable surge, with ecom websites significantly contributing to its expansion. By 2022, global e-commerce sales are projected to hit a staggering 5.4 trillion US dollars. Among the leading retail e-commerce websites and industry giants are Amazon, Alibaba, Shopify, eBay, and Walmart. The variety of website categories has broadened, and e-commerce rankings indicate an upswing in online selling sites like Facebook Marketplace.

Online shopping delivers exceptional flexibility and convenience for buyers, providing a plethora of product choices, complimentary shipping, competitive pricing, and enticing discounts. For retailers, a vast array of e-commerce opportunities exists, with numerous online selling sites available to engage their target audience.

Advancements in technology have simplified the process of establishing your own online store or selling on platforms such as Facebook Marketplace. A multitude of tools and e-commerce website types exist for product sales, emphasizing the importance of familiarizing yourself with various e-commerce websites. This knowledge will enable you to select the most suitable website type for your enterprise, allowing you to capitalize on the burgeoning e-commerce sector.

What Is An E-Commerce Website

What Is An E-Commerce Website - Definition of ecommerce website

An e-commerce website allows you to buy and sell products & services online, and there are various types of e-commerce websites, such as vendor-specific, multi-vendor, and marketplace websites. E-commerce ranking plays a significant role in the success of these e-commerce portals, as higher-ranked sites tend to attract more customers.

Instead of a physical store, you can sell products on the internet via an e-commerce website, and there are many top e-commerce companies where you can sell your products, such as Amazon and eBay. These e-commerce websites' names are often synonymous with online retailing. Sites e-comm store product information, transactions, and order management. Some examples include different websites, such as Amazon and eBay, which are among the top 10 e-commerce websites in terms of e-commerce ranking.

The e-commerce business uses technologies such as electronic commerce, mobile commerce, online transaction processing, electronic data exchange -EDI, and online marketing.

  • Electronic funds transfer
  • Mobile commerce
  • Online transaction processing for different websites
  • Electronic data exchange -EDI
  • Online marketing

To trade goods & services online, you require a combination of these technologies and e-commerce companies.

An e-commerce platform, such as the best international e-commerce website, is used to set up your e-commerce shops & accept orders digitally, and e-commerce website design is an essential part of creating an online store. You accept payments and manage shipping & logistics, and e-commerce stores also provide customer service with design examples, such as high-quality images.

An e-commerce website allows you to scale your business globally, and there are many most visited e-commerce websites that can inspire your website design. These types of online retailing platforms enable you to reach potential customers and share your brand story, emphasizing your company values and core values. By crafting a compelling story, you can attract and retain customers.

You are not limited to trading in a specific city or location. Instead, your online shop is available 24/7 to customers worldwide.

There are many types of e-commerce models such as business to administration (B2A), business to business B2B, B2C online store creation, and more. It is based on your target customers and market segments, and it is important to define e-commerce website to understand these models.

The e-commerce website meaning and revenue models are essential to outline your online business. The revenue models include white labeling, dropshipping and private labeling.

What Should an E-Commerce Site Do?

1. Accept Orders

Ecommerce Site Functionality - Accept Orders. Order Processing on E-commerce Sites

The e-commerce store accepts & processes orders from customers. It stores customer information in the database, such as names & addresses, and it is important to have a website with a user-friendly interface and high-quality images to ensure a good customer experience. A well-designed e-commerce portal with efficient order processing will lead to better e-commerce ranking.

The site collects customer order requests & accepts the terms of service. The business website vs e-commerce website should also create order numbers & track orders. It then processes billing information, delivery details, and it is essential to have a website that integrates payment gateways for secure payment processing.

2. Payment Gateways

Ensuring Secure Payment Processing for E-commerce Sites

You can add a payment gateway at the end of the purchase funnel to complete the transaction, and it is essential to get secure payment methods for your store, such as internet banking and PCI compliance for storing & transferring sensitive credit card data. The e-com websites should integrate shipping & logistics solutions easily, including government agencies' regulations and requirements.

There has to be a seamless transition between the website & payment gateway. That way, you reduce cart abandonment rates and improve your e-commerce ranking.

The website should have PCI compliance on storing & transferring sensitive credit card data.

3. Shipping and Logistics

Streamlining Your Shipping and Logistics Processes- What Should an E-Commerce Site Do

The e-commerce website should easily integrate shipping and logistics solutions so that once an order is placed, it can be efficiently processed and fulfilled. Efficient shipping and logistics management contribute to the overall e-commerce ranking of the website.

Get analytics for orders and delivery tracking. You also get processing for returned items or cancellations. The customers are notified of shipping & delivery dates.

The reverse logistics process also has to be easy. As a result, the refunds & cancellations are quickly sorted. Large amounts of orders should have a streamlined shipping process.

4. Provide Customer Service

Provide Customer Service - What Should an E-Commerce Site Do

An e-commerce website should allow you to communicate with your customers, including consumer to administration (C2A) communication. You can add contact pages, email newsletters, and customer chat service.

Create a customer experience that offers:

  • Purchase experience
  • Customer reviews
  • Order information
  • Exchange & return assistance
  • Refund assistance
  • General queries page

You can add a live chat or different types of chatbots for customers to connect with you quickly. The biggest business websites integrate all the customer service options seamlessly. Providing excellent customer service not only helps retain customers but also improves your e-commerce ranking in search engine results.

By focusing on these essential aspects of an e-commerce store, you increase the chances of success and growth for your online business. Prioritizing user experience, secure payment processing, efficient shipping and logistics, and top-notch customer service will contribute to higher e-commerce rankings and attract more potential customers to your website.

Different Types of Ecommerce Websites

1. Individual Brand - Vendor Specific

Individual Brand Vendor Specific - Different Types of Ecommerce Websites

A single brand or vendor specific commerce web site allows retailers to manage their storefronts. It is a common type of website for ecommerce.

The owner of the store is the only seller. You can target your specific customers & sell directly to buyers without a middle-man. No one can sell products without the owner’s permission.

A few examples are using Shopify and Magento. Using these platforms, you can build a website to sell your products.

The website offers products & services from one business or vendor. You can add products, set prices, and communicate with customers directly. There is no third-party involved as businesses sell their products.

A vendor specific website gives more control over branding & pricing. You can make decisions based on your target customer behavior.

A brick-and-mortar store may use this option to create an online store. That way, they can sell their products on both physical locations & on digital platforms.

Ecommerce platforms such as Magento make it easy for merchants to set up some of the biggest e-commerce websites. The built-in features ensure that you have all the functionality for selling online.

Is Individual Brand or Vendor-specific e-commerce Website Right for You?

An individual brand or vendor-specific ecommerce website is a perfect option for retailers, including those selling through business to government (B2G) channels.

It is suitable if you want to target specific customers and want to sell their products directly to buyers without involving a middleman or online intermediaries.

The owner of the store are the only direct sellers, so they have the freedom to add products, set prices, and communicate with customers directly.

The ecommerce website type provides more control over branding and pricing. It helps you to make decisions based on their target customer's behavior.

2. Multi-Vendor Online Retailers

 Multi-Vendor Online Retailers - Different Types of Ecommerce Websites

A multi-vendor or online retailer website has many sellers with a single website owner.

The seller can run an independent storefront to sell your products. However, the owner of the website is a different entity. The overhead costs of hosting & backend development are taken care of by the website owner. You give a small percentage of your revenue earnings to the site owner.

A few good examples of multi-vendor ecommerce websites are Amazon and Etsy. It allows sellers to test customer demands before starting their website. However, you have less control over the rules & regulations of the website. You adhere to the website policies & any violation of the policy can ban your store.

It may also be difficult to rank higher on website searches, competing with other sellers. The customers may find it hard to find your store amidst all the vendors.

You do benefit from operations services from the website owner. The owners provide orders and shipping. They handle the payment methods and offer inventory managing services.

You can sell more products on a successful multi-vendor website. The buyers find it convenient to get many items from a single website. They can find household items, electronics, and fashion products on the website.

Multi-vendor websites operate on a revenue sharing model. The website owner takes a percentage of the sales revenue. It is important to research and understand the fee structure before joining a multi-vendor site. It helps to ensure it aligns with your business goals.

Additionally, multi-vendor websites may have varying policies on how they handle disputes between sellers or customer service issues. It is recommended to thoroughly review the site's policies to avoid any potential conflicts.

Who should use Multi-vendor Ecommerce Websites?

A multi-vendor or online retailer website is a platform that allows many sellers to sell their products through a single website owner. It is an excellent option for businesses that want to save money on hosting and backend development costs.

One drawback is that there is less control and ownership of the website's rules. Violation of website policies can lead to a ban on the store. It is also important to note that competition with other sellers makes it harder to rank higher on website searches.

3. Marketplaces

Bringing buyers and sellers together through ecommerce marketplace

Marketplace websites connect vendors & buyers under one platform. The marketplace owner processes the customer transactions. The shipment & fulfillment is taken care of by the vendors & wholesalers.

Many individual sellers list their products for sale. The online marketplaces do impose rules & restrictions on what can be sold. You can add your items to the marketplace to generate profit. Use marketing & promotions to get more customers & improve conversion rates. Amazon & Etsy platforms are examples of marketplaces.

There are also niche marketplaces that separate it from multi-vendor websites. For example, there can be a marketplace that exclusively sells shoes.

Marketplace websites are a popular option for vendors and buyers alike. It offers a range of products from many different sellers.

In these marketplaces, the marketplace owner processes customer transactions. The shipment and fulfillment are taken care of by the vendors and wholesalers who builds e-commerce websites.

However, it's essential to keep in mind that online marketplaces impose rules on what can be sold. Additionally, it can be hard to establish a unique identity on the platform.

4. Affiliate Websites

Selling affiliate products for a commission - Different Types of Ecommerce Websites

An affiliate website is where you sell other brands’ products in exchange for a commission.

Your website should already have established traffic. You can use affiliate marketing & sales to generate revenue. The website owner works with brands to add affiliate links.

You can also earn commissions based on user actions taken on the best new ecommerce companies.
The terms are set with the merchants based on their requirements.

Affiliate payouts include the following:

  • Direct Sales - Earn a commission from a product or service sale.
  • Leads - Earn commissions on actions like social media follows, content downloads, etc.
  • Clicks - Get affiliate revenue on a cost-per-click basis of website visitors.

The commission structure and product selection are essential factors to consider when it comes to affiliate selling. For example, some merchants may offer a higher commission percentage but have limited product offerings. On the other hand, others may offer lower commissions but have a wide range of products to choose from. To maximize earnings, it is important to research similar websites and select merchants that align with your business goals.

Additionally, it's important to provide high-quality content that includes relevant product recommendations and promotes trust with your audience. You have to understand the commission structure and product selection. In that way, affiliate selling can be a lucrative option for ecommerce entrepreneurs.

Who should use Affiliate websites?

An affiliate website is an excellent option for those looking to sell other brands' products in exchange for a commission. The website requires an established traffic to get more commissions. You have to work on your marketing and promotions to generate revenue.

Affiliate websites can earn commissions based on user actions. The actions may inlcude social media follows, content downloads, and cost-per-click basis. The website owner must comply with the merchant's requirements to maintain good standing about e-commerce websites and understanding search engine optimization.

Types of Ecommerce Business Models

Ecommerce business models refer to the ways in which an online store generates revenue. There are several types of ecommerce business models, including:

1. Business-to-consumer (B2C)

It is a common ecommerce business model. The businesses sell products or services directly to consumers. Examples of B2C websites include Amazon and Walmart.

2. Business-to-business (B2B)

In this ecommerce business model, businesses sell products or services to other businesses. B2B websites often require customers to create an account and log in to access pricing and details. Examples of B2B websites include Alibaba and ThomasNet.

3. Consumer-to-consumer (C2C)

This model involves consumers selling products or services to other consumers. C2C websites typically act as a platform for buyers and sellers to allow transactions. Examples of C2C websites may include eBay and Craigslist.

4. Consumer-to-business (C2B)

Here, the consumers sell their products or services to businesses. C2B websites are relatively uncommon. Some examples include freelance marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr.

5. Subscription-based

In this model, customers pay a recurring fee to access products or services on a regular basis. Subscription-based ecommerce websites include Netflix and Spotify.

6. White-labeling

It involves a business creating a service and allowing other businesses to rebrand and sell it as their own.

An example of a white-label ecommerce website is Shopify. It allows businesses to create their own online stores using the Shopify platform.

Each ecommerce business model has its own unique features and challenges. Choosing the right business depends on a business's goals, target audience, and product or service offerings.

Which Type of Ecommerce Website is Right For You?

Match Your Business with the Perfect E-commerce Website

A suitable ecommerce website depends on your business requirements. You can build your website or opt for a marketplace.

An individual brand website gives you more control & flexibility. You can directly sell to end customers. There are no middlemen or website owners.

You also set your own rules & policies while selling. As a single brand store, you can experiment with different store designs & sales funnels.

A multi-vendor website or marketplaces are suitable if you want many suppliers. As a merchant, you can directly add & sell products on an established website. The website owner takes care of backend and site development. You can focus on marketing your products to rank higher on the site.

Affiliate selling will allow you additional revenue based on a commission. That way, you can generate profits from direct sales or user actions. Both selling on the marketplaces and your online shop can be profitable.

Real-world examples can be incredibly useful in highlighting the benefits and drawbacks of the types of ecommerce websites available. Take an individual brand or vendor-specific website for example. It is perfect for small or even the largest ecommerce sites with a loyal customer base.

Meanwhile, a multi-vendor online retailer like Amazon or Etsy could provide greater exposure to a wider range of customers. However, it may come with less control over policies. Large audiences are on offer for sellers through marketplaces such as eBay or Walmart Marketplace.

Affiliate websites are an excellent way for bloggers or influencers with established traffic to generate a passive income stream.


What is server location meaning?

Server location refers to the physical location of a web server that hosts a website. It can impact the loading speed of a website for users who are far from the server, as data needs to travel a longer distance.

Does distance from server affect speed?

Yes, the distance between the user and the server can affect the speed at which a website loads. The greater the distance, the longer it takes for data to travel, resulting in slower loading times.

Does web hosting affect SEO?

Web hosting can affect SEO in several ways, such as website loading speed, uptime, and security. A reliable and high-performing web host can contribute to better SEO rankings.

Does website host affect SEO?

Yes, the website host can affect SEO, as it plays a crucial role in factors like site speed, uptime, and security, which can influence search engine rankings.

Does the location of your hosting company affect SEO?

The location of a hosting company can affect SEO, as server location can impact website loading speed for users in different geographical locations. However, using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) can help mitigate these effects.

Does server location affect SEO?

Server location can have an impact on SEO, as it can affect website loading speed for users in different geographical locations. However, using a CDN can help minimize these effects.

Does CDN affect SEO?

A CDN (Content Delivery Network) can positively affect SEO, as it helps improve website loading speed for users in different locations by serving content from a server closest to the user, enhancing overall site performance.

Does hosting location affect SEO?

Hosting location can have an impact on SEO, as server location can affect website loading speed for users in different geographical locations. However, using a CDN can help minimize these effects.

Does hosting affect SEO?

Hosting can affect SEO in several ways, such as website loading speed, uptime, and security. A reliable and high-performing web host can contribute to better SEO rankings and business success.

What is a hosting server?

A hosting server is a physical or virtual server that stores and serves website files and data, making the website accessible to users via the internet. You will require optimized Magento hosting for website performance, security, and reliability.


The kind of ecommerce website will affect how you sell your products online. This article covered the different types of ecommerce websites. You can choose which one works well for your business. To have more control over business transactions, set up an online shop. A single vendor ecommerce website allows flexibility in storefronts.

Marketplaces will allow you to sell different products as a website owner. As a merchant, you can sell products on the marketplace without taking care of the overhead costs.

Ecommerce platforms like Magento and Shopify help build online stores. You can create storefronts that enhance user experience & increase sales. To know more, see Magento vs. Shopify article and find a suitable ecommerce platform for your business.

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Nikita S.
Nikita S.
Lead Technical Writer

As a lead technical writer, Nikita S. is experienced in crafting well-researched articles that simplify complex information and promote technical communication. She has expertise in cloud computing and holds a specialization in SEO and digital marketing.

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