E-commerce and retail are two different entities. They both work under the umbrella of business, but they are very different in their ways. E-commerce is electronic commerce where buying and selling products or services occurs online. In contrast, retail is an old form of trade, which happens at physical store locations.
The word eCommerce originated from combining two words, namely, electronic and commerce. This word can describe transactions that occur over computer networks like the internet or World Wide Web. However, it is not just limited to that; it extends its use for any commercial activity over telecommunications systems.
On the other hand, retail is an old form of trade, which has been around since ancient times. The word retail is derived from the French word ‘retail,’ which means to break a more oversized item into smaller ones to be sold individually. This term is used to sell goods and services to consumers through fixed locations like shops, stalls, boutiques, and markets.
The fundamental difference between eCommerce and retail is that eCommerce happens electronically while retail happens physically.
Another critical difference between the two is that eCommerce is global while retail is local. Ecommerce allows buyers and sellers from all over the world to connect and do business with each other. This is because the internet knows no boundaries, and it has no restrictions on who can use it. On the other hand, retail is limited to a specific geographical location. It can only take place within the confines of the physical store.
E-commerce is also a much faster way of doing business than retail. Transactions within a few minutes or a few seconds are done within eCommerce. On the other hand, retail takes much longer as goods need to be transported from place to place to complete a transaction, and it might take days for this process to end.
Another difference is that people cannot create stores online and make them available for others to purchase as they can with retail. In eCommerce, sellers need to have an existing online store. They cannot simply create a store and start selling products and services. This is not the case with retail, where anyone can open up a physical store and start doing business.