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E-commerce vs traditional business

In this article, we'll explore the key differences between traditional business and e-commerce. Let's explore.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0

Traditional business

Traditional commerce refers to the face-to-face process of buying and selling goods in physical store space, by exchanging goods for monetary gains.


E-commerce is an abbreviation of ‘electronic commerce, and it broadly refers to transactions conducted via the internet.

E-commerce has experienced significant growth in recent years through greater access to audiences around the world and by offering more personalised products or services.

It uses information systems to collect, process and disseminate data and information to support both operational and management activities within an organisation.

It includes ‘all electronically mediated information exchanges between an organisation and its external stakeholders’ (Chaffey, 2014, p. xv).

Each letter of e-commerce represents a specific concept:

  • Exchange: E-commerce relies on high-speed information and data exchange between e-commerce and other stakeholders, eg customers using e-commerce platforms.
  • Collaboration and communication: E-commerce smoothes and develops collaboration and communication between organisations, suppliers, customers and other partners.
  • Opportunities: Various opportunities are offered by e-commerce, such as lower transaction costs.
  • Management: Digital technology and information systems facilitate the management of e-commerce activities and processes.
  • Maintenance: E-commerce websites should be constantly maintained to offer products and services, fix any problems and create the best online presence to impress consumers.
  • Expansion: Technology helps businesses to expand their market and reach new customers.
  • Revenue: E-commerce can help to reduce costs, while also achieving more profit and revenue.
  • Customisation: A key feature of e-commerce is customising offers to enhance the customer’s experience.
  • Essential: While e-commerce offers a wide range of benefits, businesses must provide secure transactions to protect customers and business information, and meet digital business principles.

Some examples of e-commerce are:

  • Buying a book online
  • Selecting a car online
  • Interacting with a brand online
  • Asking a customer service query


Chaffey, D. (2014). Digital business and e-commerce management: strategy, implementation and practice. Pearson Education. Locate link (Available to fee-paying students)

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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