E-commerce and E-Business: What’s the Difference?

Guest Post by Martin William

Many people use ecommerce and e-business to refer to one thing. This is wrong. The two refer to two different means of doing business.

So, what’s the difference?

Without going into details (which we’ll do later) e-business refers to any business done online while e-commerce refers to online purchases.

With the basics in mind, let’s dive into the specifics.


E-Business typically is a business using electronic means to conduct business. Let’s use some examples to get a deeper understanding.

  • Consider email marketing. Email refers to electronic mail, which can be used reach out to potential customers online as an e-business activity.
  • An inventory tracker is crucial to any business in order to track stock. If the stock levels reach a certain pre-set minimum, it’ll trigger an alert. Through this electronic process of tracking your inventory, your business becomes electronic.
  • Human resources are a key pillar in any business and manual management can be a daunting task. For this reason, automating application processes and job listings become a priority to increase efficiency. By using electronic automated methods, this process becomes part of e-business.
  • A final example is a content management system (CMS) which eases workflow between various departments. With the absence of a CMS, one would have to move physical papers from one department to another. When using a CMS, a business becomes an e-business.

For example anewhouse is a publishing E-business with every aspects of the business being carried out on line using WordPress as a CMS.

In most cases, e-business services may be offered by a third-party company which specializes in a certain service.

However, a business may have an in-house team which can handle each of these tasks. . . 

As you can see, the only difference between a common business and an e-business is whether the business is conducted electronically or not.


Ecommerce, on the other hand, is more comprehensive. In its simplest form, ecommerce involves placing online orders and paying for the orders through an ecommerce platform   online.

For example how anewhouse sells the 4 Guides on various parts of a new house build.

Ecommerce is split into various forms including B2C (business to consumer) – where a business sells its services and goods to customers through an ecommerce platform.

While ecommerce is purely online, many physical stores also have websites where they can reach the online community.

After getting results a business may decide to move their operations entirely online, includes ordering, payment and product delivery.

In other cases, the business may only use ecommerce as a part of its operation.

For example, a customer may order a product online and then pick it up a physical store.

The customer can also choose whether to pay online or at the store when picking up their product, making this type of business a physical business that uses ecommerce, but is not itself solely an e-business.

B2B – Business-to-Business Ecommerce

A huge percentage of ecommerce businesses sell products and services to other businesses.

The most common type of business includes ordering and delivery of supplies to a business through an automated process.

Often, this is set out in a contract.

Once supplies hit a minimum mark, the supplier will be informed through an automated process and the supplier will, in turn, respond to the request by supplying the products.