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How Ecommerce Is Different From Traditional Commerce

In the days when only what we now call traditional commerce existed, you’d go down to a shop or market, look at the items available, choose what you needed, and pay. With ecommerce, this process has been reduced to a few clicks. While many still prefer traditional commerce, online retail is becoming more and more popular, especially in the wake of the pandemic.

Major Differences

Traditional commerce focuses on the exchange of products and services. It involves carrying out an exchange of information or commercial transactions online.

With ecommerce, transactions are processed automatically, while traditional commercial transactions are processed manually.

You can buy and sell goods at any time in ecommerce. In traditional commerce, this is only possible during business hours.

Inspecting Items Before Purchase

One distinct downside of ecommerce is that the buyer can’t inspect items physically prior to purchase. If you don’t like the item, you need to go through the process of returning it and asking for a refund. Not all online retailers make this simple or even possible.

You can physically inspect an item in traditional commerce, but what you see displayed in the store isn’t always what you’ll get from storage. There can be some similarities between the two in this case.

Sellers and buyers interact directly in traditio


In ecommerce, the business can have worldwide reach. In traditional commerce, it is limited to a specific geographical area.

Traditional commerce organizations might have to rely on go-betweens for information because there is no fixed platform for information exchange. The online channel is the universal platform in ecommerce. This makes ecommerce businesses less reliant on people for information.

Specifics of Building an Ecommerce Site

On the subject of platforms, there are specifics to those used to build an ecommerce website. Here are a few key features to look for.

Ease of Use

Consider how much time you’re willing to spend to learn your way around the ecommerce platform. Choose a straightforward platform if you’re not particularly tech-savvy. Your platform of choice should allow you to create a beautiful website without stressing you out.


The platform should have inbuilt analytics to track the most important performance metrics. You need to track sales conversion rates, average order value, churn rate, customer lifetime value, etc. The platform should integrate with a third-party analytics tool if it doesn’t have these tracking options.

Payment Processing

The best ecommerce platforms offer multiple payment options to make buyers more likely to go through with their purchases and reduce friction during checkout. Ideally, your platform should accept popular methods, like Stripe and PayPal.


There were more than 173 million mobile buyers in June 2021 in the US, according to data from eMarketer. Your site needs to be mobile-friendly as this number is only expected to increase in the future. Shoppers should be able to browse the site easily and buy products from their devices.


Even the simplest ecommerce platform will require support eventually. You need it to be fast and accessible when that time comes. Support options should include email, live chat, phone, and ideally, a forum or another self-help option.


When someone searches for the products or services you offer, the online store should come up in the search results. You need an SEO-friendly ecommerce platform. Choose one that allows you to publish customer reviews, use your own domain, and add content – not just product descriptions but also a blog. This will help generate traffic organically.

Apps and Integrations

Apps and integrations are important if you want to make sure the platform integrates with inventory management, accounting, email marketing, and any other tools you already use.

Other Differences Between Traditional Commerce and Ecommerce

Ecommerce is focused on demand, while traditional commerce is concerned with supply.

A linear business relationship characterizes traditional commerce. In ecommerce, the relationship is horizontal due to direct command.

Traditional commerce features mass marketing due to standardization. Ecommerce is customizable, which results in one-to-one marketing.

A final and obvious difference lies in the payment method. In ecommerce, you can only pay electronically, while in traditional, you can still pay cash.


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