Yes. Ecommerce is a legitimate field and it makes up over 12% of all retail sales.
Even in 2022, I get this question all of the time. Ecommerce is all around us in our everyday life yet so many people don’t understand it.
Much of the questions around legitimacy of ecommerce comes from the fact that the space is so broad and there’s a lot of scammers in the space due to not having to have a physical presence.
The other questionionable detail that makes the space seem illegitimate is the number of people selling the dream of getting rich quick. While an ecommerce store can scale quickly if done correctly, the amount of courses selling the dream of easy money is plentiful.
This detail makes the entire profession seem suspect.
Table of Contents
What is Ecommerce
Ecommerce, in short, is selling anything on the internet. The “E” in ecommerce stands for electronic. This not only includes products but also services, software, and digital products.
Ecommerce & Marketing Agencies
Ecommerce and marketing agencies can be started with a shoestring budget. These agencies advise companies on how to market and sell their products online.
Due to the low barrier to entry, much of this space is filled with agencies founded by 20 somethings that don’t have much real world experience in the actual field they’re advising on.
This fact alone destroys much of the credibility to people that are looking to hire in the space. Many of these agencies use shady tactics to convince business owners that they’re worth their fee.
These ecommerce agencies are typically the reason why many people think e-commerce is illigitimate. Ensure that when hiring an agency, the lead has a solid history of working with established brands.
Types of Ecommerce
The “types” of e-commerce can be cut in a myriad of different ways. It can be viewed in terms of physical product, software, courses, and digital products. A different way to bucket this is by customer type.
Business to Consumer ecommerce is what is traditionally thought of as ecom. While it’s the most top of mind, it’s not the largest. B2C ecom has the widest number of product selection and most amount of marketing dollars being thrown into the space.
Name an item that can be bought by consumers and you’re likely to find it online.
The most typical products sold and purchased in the B2C space is physical products. A fast follow behind physical products is software. There’s a giant market for consumers purchasing software and SaaS products.
Business to Business ecommerce is the largest ecommerce market on the planet representing over $14.9 Trillion in sales. It’s 5 times larger than the B2C market.
While businesses buy physical products online just like the average consumer does, the B2B market is more focused on software.
The amount of software bought by corporations is a long list. Quickbooks is a good example as almost every small to medium size business uses it.
Consumer to Consumer ecommerce is the least understood of the 3 groups. That’s probably because it can be very similar to B2C ecom.
On the first end of the specturm is consumers selling random items on craigslist, etsy, or other platforms.
On the other end of the spectrum is people selling items in a much more sophisticated way but haven’t incorporated yet. This is usually people that are starting their own brand or are buying on discount and reselling another brand’s items.