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E-Commerce Overview

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What is e-commerce? It’s basically the buying and selling of goods and services enabled by the internet. That could be through mobile websites, through traditional desktop websites, or even through mobile apps. It can involve businesses selling to other businesses, businesses selling to consumers, and even consumers selling to other consumers.

The evolution

E-commerce is also evolving at a rapid rate.

If we just take Amazon as an example, they started off by simply selling books to consumers. They now sell every possible product across every possible category. They have a marketplace website business where consumers can sell to other consumers, and they have a more traditional retail business where buyers buy and sell on in big volumes to consumers.

They’ve also got a video streaming service. They’re a huge logistical operation, using everything from vans to drones to deliver products and services to people, and they’re also a massive web service provider. Amazon Web Services is one of the biggest and most profitable parts of their business.

So that just shows how the business is evolving and how big players are massively capitalizing from it.

The numbers involved are absolutely huge. Now, if you just think about your own personal buying, think of how many goods and services you used to buy a couple of years online and compare that to today. Think of your Christmas shopping, think of your grocery buying, think of the media and the TVs you consume. So much of this is now happening online.

Components of effective e-commerce

Now, let’s look at the nuts and bolts of e-commerce. Effectively, what you’re trying to do is get a customer to your site, show them a product that is at the right price and meets their need, offer the service that they’re looking for. In other words, you’re going to get in that product at the right time, and then securely take payment.

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Graeme Smeaton

Graeme Smeaton is the founder of Royal & Awesome. Along with a proven track record in defining and delivering marketing strategies that drive significant growth and create real shareholder value, Graeme is highly commercial. He has extensive experience managing PLs and other key financial statements, while being an operational board director of AFG Media Ltd, and has experience negotiating with suppliers, distributors and licensing partners.

By the end of this topic, you should be able to:

  • Identify the impact of logistics, packaging, purchasing, distribution, and payment options for an e-commerce solution
  • Evaluate e-commerce revenue models and the advantages associated with different e-commerce solutions 
  • Critically appraise the requirements for managing e-commerce customers in accordance with current laws and legal guidelines

    Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

    DMI Short Course: GDPR

    The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

    You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

    You will not be assessed on this content.


      E-Commerce Strategy
      Graeme Smeaton
      Skills Expert

      The E-Commerce Strategy module will introduce the characteristics of the e-commerce business model and will help you understand the corresponding business requirements and decisions that flow from their value proposition. You will learn to recognize the strengths and limitations of different e-commerce solutions and common payment methods. Finally, you will respond to a range of different illustrations showing how the level of customer service affects an e-commerce business in an industry where trust is key to the purchasing decision.