Fernando Maciá

Written by Fernando Maciá

What is e-commerce?

E-commerceE-commerce is a business model where commercial transactions for the purchase and sale of goods and services are carried out through the Internet or other computer networks. Operations can be between:

  • B2B, business to business.
  • B2C, business to consumer.
  • C2C, consumer-to-consumer or customer-to-customer.
  • C2B, consumer to business.

A bit of history…

The first e-commerce transactions date back to the 1960s, with the development of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) between computers. But it was not until the 1990s and 2000s that its popularity grew dramatically, as Internet access began to reach homes on a massive scale. It could be said that the appearance of Amazon and eBay in 1995 marked the beginning of e-commerce as we know it today, whose business typology could be called online retail.

Nowadays, e-commerce and online shopping are a very normal part of our daily life, given the immense offer of online stores all over the world, with all kinds of products and services at the reach of a simple click. Such is the success of this business model that many physical stores already have an online corner where they display and sell their products beyond local borders, including supermarkets.

And is that in 2017, they are already more than 70% of Spanish Internet users who make purchases online.


There are numerous platforms that allow us to install and open our own e-commerce, both free and paid. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options:

  • Prestashop a free and open source platform born in 2007 in France.
  • Shopify a Canadian platform that opened its doors in 2006. Its service is paid, but offers a 14-day free trial version.
  • Magento an e-commerce platform originally from the United States launched in 2008. It has free open source versions, as well as paid versions.
  • WooCommerce is not a platform itself, but a WordPress plugin. It was launched in 2011 and is open source.
  • BigCommerce a U.S. payment platform founded in 2009, with a free 15-day trial version.

The importance of SEO for e-commerce

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a very important marketing strategy for an e-commerce, especially for those businesses that do not have a particularly well-known brand. Having visibility in search engines allows them to be found by their target audience, individuals or other companies that are looking for the products or services offered, and to be able to compete at a similar level as businesses that belong to the same sector.

For this reason, if we are going to open an e-commerce, we should take this aspect into account and have the resources, knowledge and ability to carry out the necessary optimizations to successfully position ourselves in search engines.

Advantages of e-commerce

Having an online store offers a multitude of advantages for both the customer and the distributor.

Distribution improvements

Online commerce platforms allow the customer to decide where, when and how they want to shop. In addition, being a short channel eliminates intermediaries and, consequently, their associated costs.

It is especially interesting in the distribution of intangible goods: books, software, etc. Where the distribution cost is close to 0, since transportation costs are avoided.

For example, there are several online stores that allow us to buy fruit directly from the farmer, avoiding the costs associated with the distribution chain.

Improved communication

In addition to selling, e-commerce will also serve as a public information point. On the online platform you will be able to publish news from the sector, product promotions and corporate news.

It can also be an excellent business communication tool thanks to its private area and the possibility of connecting the platform with your ERP.

For example, an online store with a blog will allow you to generate quality content for your visitors.

Operational improvements

Having an e-commerce platform will help you reduce errors, time and cost overruns in the processing of information. The online store will be available to offer and receive information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you have an extranet, this information can also be used by your suppliers, from which they will be able to know the stock of your products.

Another important operational improvement is the geographic independence, your store will be open worldwide, you will be the one to decide in which markets you do not want to operate. This decision is usually made based on shipping costs, tariffs and the special policies of each nation.

Improved customer loyalty

From your online store, a user will be able to interact with your business in several ways:

  • Comments: this is the most common medium, you will find all kinds of comments, from thank you comments from satisfied users to constructive and not so constructive criticism.
  • Recommendations: through social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or e-mail.
  • Complaints: through the contact form.

Your role as moderator will be to post and respond to each question in a reasonable amount of time and with the appropriate tone. You must not forget these two premises:

  • Providing a solution to a dissatisfied user is an effective way to build loyalty to that customer and to customers who subsequently read the comments.
  • A customer distrusts an online store where 100% of the comments are extremely positive, so do not delete comments if the criticism is constructive and is able to give a solution.


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Fernando Maciá
Fernando Maciá
Founder and CEO of Human Level. Expert SEO consultant with more than 20 years of experience. He has been a professor at numerous universities and business schools, and director of the Master in Professional SEO and SEM and the Advanced SEO Course at KSchool. Author of a dozen books on SEO and digital marketing.

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