What is an eCommerce application?

eCommerce or electronic commerce is when a transaction occurs using the internet. An example is when a customer (the buyer) purchases one or more products or services online from a virtual storefront (the seller). eCommerce applications or e-commerce apps are design patterns of functionality needed to list items for purchase, facilitate a transaction by accepting payment methods, and initiate fulfillment of those purchases. 

Mobile e-commerce applications and shopping apps also function as marketing tools when they allow for paid strategic placement of items for sale or use push notifications to market products. Mobile app development for e-commerce is also sometimes called m-commerce or mCommerce.

Transactions that occur in the eCommerce industry can usually be classified as business-to-consumer (B2C), consumer-to-consumer, or business-to-business (B2B). eCommerce apps are optimized around the buyer and seller relationship. These categories are a way to break down the different types of eCommerce app experiences in the eCommerce industry and the various applications of e-commerce. 


Business to Consumer (B2C) eCommerce applications

A business-to-consumer eCommerce application is the e-commerce app equivalent to a virtual retail store. These are often called online retailers. These applications will have items listed for sale, usually have a ‘shopping cart’ or equivalent, handle transactions at checkout, and either ship the items or trigger fulfillment if they were listing items from 3rd party businesses. 

An example of a business-to-consumer eCommerce application would be Amazon.com’s web application or e-commerce mobile app. Amazon’s e-commerce store shows listings from multiple sellers and business owners in a customer-friendly way that makes it easy to find and purchase items. 

Consumer to Consumer eCommerce applications

A consumer-to-consumer e-commerce platform user experience is optimized for consumers to sell and buy items from other consumers. This type of eCommerce site or mobile e-commerce application acts as a middleperson for transactions (accepting credit cards or PayPal) and as a mediator for disputes. This makes buying items or services online more user-friendly and it also makes it more accessible for anyone to sell items in an online store.

eBay.com is an example of an e-commerce website that is well-known for this business model. eBay takes its online business even further by enabling sellers to have real-time online bidding on items listed.

Live marketplaces with real-time bidding offer an online shopping experience that is more competitive and can deliver more revenue than other e-commerce business strategies. Sometimes these e-commerce apps also link with social media for extra competitive value (and it’s a good marketing strategy for online retailers).

You can build your own startup e-commerce market using PubNub. You can make a live-action platform where users can bid on the products available. Our open-source Real-Time Auction Demo shows an app design and app ideas that highlight how you can rely on PubNub for fast application development of e-commerce applications and e-commerce mobile apps.

Business-to-Business (B2B) eCommerce applications

Business-to-Business eCommerce applications are developed around the unique needs that businesses have when selling to other businesses. When a business makes a purchase it often is establishing an ongoing relationship or contract with another business. Businesses also are positioned to negotiate and need more communication with the seller before making a large purchase. These types of e-commerce stores have a marketing strategy that targets businesses and features to make it easier to conduct online business.

Because of these requirements, your e-commerce app development will also need product features to facilitate entrepreneurs’ business-to-business relationships in your online store. PubNub can help with chat features and push notifications - so you can easily build your own business e-commerce market.

Alibaba is an example of an e-commerce platform for business-to-business eCommerce apps. Alibaba started by launching a simple marketplace catalog website for small Chinese manufacturers and exporters for international selling. Alibaba is considered to be a leader in the eCommerce and mobile commerce industry globally.

Live Auction App Demo

Live Auction App Demo

PubNub makes it easy to build auction apps with real-time bidding, user presence, alerts, and more! PubNub handles the infrastructure of powering these features, so you can focus on building your app.
Live Auction and Marketplace Tutorial

Live Auction and Marketplace Tutorial

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to build a Live Auction and Marketplace app that allows users to create live auctions and bid in real-time.