1) Introduction to eCommerce Companies
The one factor that binds almost a quarter of the global population is e-Commerce, or more accurately, the e-Commerce companies. eCommerce companies have accelerated global trade and provided avenues for cross-border shopping to millions of people.
Be it a budding eCommerce brand or a giant conglomerate like Amazon, eCommerce companies are the source where people find their favorite products today. And in the process, they facilitate the global supply chain.
Whenever we think of e-Commerce companies, what usually comes to mind is the homepage of Amazon or Walmart or eBay. But do we have a definition that correctly describes what an e-Company is? Yes, we do!
2) What are eCommerce Companies?
An eCommerce company is a business that operates in buying and selling goods and services over the internet, including the transactions and flow of data to facilitate this.
eCommerce companies take various forms. They can be online stores, have a storefront, operate in a marketplace, or run their business on social media channels. You can access them via desktop, mobile devices, tablets, and laptops.
eCommerce companies are sprouting in all corners of the world, and many aspire to become the top e-Commerce giants like Amazon, Alibaba, Apple, and Rakuten. And why not? They have huge turnovers and a massive customer base and are at the helm of eCommerce retail worldwide.
3) The Scope and Scale of eCommerce Companies
eCommerce companies again vary in size. The emerging form of an eCommerce company is a startup like Hungry Panda and Deliverr. They have a small employee size and aim to scale the business with increasing sales and profits to reach the stage of a small business where the size of the company rises to around 1500 employees with a steady annual revenue between 1 million USD and 40 million USD.
Then comes mid-market eCommerce companies called “small and medium-sized enterprises or SMEs.” They generate an income of around 1 billion USD annually. The last stage is an enterprise with over 1000 employees and annual revenue of over 1 billion USD.
We have thus curated a list of the top 10 eCommerce companies in the world and what makes them unique to millions of customers.
4) Top 10 eCommerce Companies in the World [2022 Updated List]
Amazon is an exalting name in the eCommerce industry globally. It is the biggest online retailer in North America, Europe, and India, with a global customer base of 1.2 billion people. To club Amazon as an ‘online retailer’ isn’t enough. While it’s most famous for its e-Commerce ventures, Amazon has deep reach in cloud computing, satellite internet, digital streaming, computer hardware, artificial intelligence, whole foods, and logistics. Now, that makes Amazon a transformative honorific in global business.
Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos on June 5, 1994, as a website (Amazon.com) for selling books. What started with books soon expanded to offering music CDs and DVDs, clothes, and web hosting. Then in 2005, Amazon brought its flagship loyalty program that is immensely popular today and changed the way logistics work- Amazon Prime. Currently, Amazon Prime has over 200 million subscribers globally.
The Amazon marketplace is flooded with everything one might even think of buying including books, apparel, electronics, a whole range of gourmet foods and groceries, personal care products, home decors, furniture, toys, games, baby care products, and baby clothes, industrial supplies, and many more. Amazon has become the marketplace leader where you can buy ‘everything.’ Amazon’s Prime Day Sales is an annual shopping event of doorbuster sales that consumers look forward to globally.
Based in Seoul, South Korea, Samsung is the giant manufacturing conglomerate that dominates the electronics industry, heavy shipbuilding, and construction. Did you know that Samsung began in 1938, and it means everlasting? Well, true to its name Samsung is still perpetuating its presence in the global business. With changing times, Samsung has evolved in the eCommerce market with its D2C eCommerce web stores.
The transformative phase of Samsung began in the 1980s when it first began manufacturing telecommunications hardware and eventually mobile phones. Many predict that the COVID pandemic was responsible for driving Samsung to make a dominant online presence. Today, they are operating as online retailers and have upgraded from their heavily focused brick and mortar retail stores. Samsung remains the world’s top mobile phone vendor, followed closely by Apple.
As of today, Samsung sells electronics, home appliances, automotive, apparel, chemicals, medical equipment, semiconductors, solid-state drives, and ships alongside venturing into insurance, advertising, and entertainment. Samsung America is the prime eCommerce initiative of Samsung Electronics. The eCommerce platform has partnered with Photon to build a next-generation data-driven eCommerce website with a personalized customer experience.
Like many eCommerce companies’ humble origins, Walmart began as a small retailer offering discounts in Arkansas, the USA, by Sam Walton in 1962. From there, Walmart has now evolved into a gigantic retail corporation operating in 24 countries with over ten thousand stores certified under different names.
In recent years, Walmart has adapted to the digital transformation and boom of online retail. It has brought innovative solutions like Mobile Scan & Go and curbside pickup to ease their online and physical shopping.
According to Walmart’s report, their largest website Walmart.com has an estimated 100 million unique visitors every month. The reason can also be attributed to Walmart’s subsidiary brands in home furnishings (Hayneedle), apparel and sports gear (Moosejaw, Bonobos, ELOQUII), and art and wall decor (Art.com).
Walmart has many channels to provide a holistic customer experience. Such as same-day pick-up apps, a scanning app for in-store checkout, a next-day delivery feature, and a membership program called Walmart+ that offers both online and in-store benefits. It also has optimized shipping and environment-friendly options, Walmart GoLocal and Built for Better, respectively.
4.4) Apple Inc.
“Apple” is a name that needs no introduction. It is a trillion-dollar technology company in existence today. Apple Specializes in the manufacturing of personal computers, smartphones, computer software, peripherals, and tablet computers. Did you know the success of Apple lies in its innovation? It began with the use of Graphic User Interface, leading to the first Macintosh to emerge. As they say, the rest is history.
Apple’s journey to stardom began with Macintosh, iTunes, and iPod. Today, the prized possession of Apple includes the revolutionary iPhone with voice assistants, iPads, Apple Watch, AirPods, Macbook, Mac mini, Apple Tv, Mac Pro, iSpace, and Apple Miscellanea.
Like many tech companies evolving from their brick-and-mortar store, Apple has its online store specializing in Apple and third-party products. The store's popularity can be testified by its increasing market share in the US electronics market and net sales of over twenty thousand million USD. The USP of Apple is its robust security system that is trusted by millions of customers worldwide.
Alibaba is a colossal eCommerce company rivaling Amazon. Originating from China, Alibaba serves businesses in over 190 countries, operating in over 40 industries. It offers an estimated six thousand online products sold through its three subsidiaries: Alibaba.com, a B2B marketplace, Tmall a B2C marketplace; and Taobao, a C2C marketplace. Tmall and Taobao are the world’s biggest B2C and C2C eCommerce companies, respectively.
Alibaba is also credited as the fastest growing eCommerce company, with its annual revenue surpassing those of Amazon and eBay combined. More prominently, it dominates almost 80% of online shopping in China.
As a global marketplace, Etsy is home to many of the world's finest crafters, artists, designers, and collectors. It is so popular that it has had 385.4 million visitors in the past couple of months this year! Etsy’s call to action is to keep eCommerce human, give more support to buyers and sellers and embrace sustainability and creativity to thrive as profitable businesses.
Etsy offers a wide range of products in the categories of vintage collectibles and furniture, art, jewelry, housewares, crafts and supplies, cosmetics, handmade personal care products, clothing, accessories, artisan foods, and paper goods. Etsy values authenticity and handiwork. It also enables one to sell downloadable printables like bullet journal spreads, art prints, and planners to promote technological creations.
Etsy’s user interface is simple and easy for both sellers and buyers. It also offers additional subscription-based features like Etsy Payment, Etsy Ads, and Currency Conversion. One interesting fact to note is that almost 80% of the sellers on Etsy are women making it a safe space curated for women entrepreneurs to shine.
Over 1.4 billion people are familiar with Microsoft, or more specifically Microsft’s famous OS- Windows. It has been dubbed the world’s biggest software provider since its genesis on 4th April, 1975, by Bill Gates and Paul Allen.
Did you also know that Microsoft is a portmanteau for “microcomputer software”? This is why the success of Microsoft is attributed to its software products like OS for personal computers and laptops, mobile phones, Xbox gaming consoles, Windows Azure, Github, Office 365, and SQL Server. The list goes on. Microsoft has ventured into manufacturing its brand of laptops and tablet computers. It has multiple eCommerce channels to promote the direct selling of its products and subscriptions for Microsoft 365.
eBay is the favorite online auction platform for over 187 million people worldwide. Founded by Pierre Omidyar in 1995, it is one of the first websites ever created that matched sellers and buyers online. Although auctions constitute the bulk sales on eBay, it also has a fixed price sell option.
The critical reasons for eBay’s growth rest in its transparent, safe, and accessible trading environment. PayPal, the trusted payment option, has been the cornerstone of eBay’s transaction system. eBay’s community that regulated trading rules is also an efficient way it operates to keep away unscrupulous and fraudulent vendors and keep their trust element alive.
eBay operates in the USA, Canada, and several European and Asian countries.
Anybody familiar with the giant football club FC Barcelona may have caught a glimpse of Rakuten on the players' jerseys and wondered what exactly is “Rakuten”? Or maybe they used the Asian streaming service “Viki”?
Well, Rakuten is another giant eCommerce company based in Japan and has 1.6 billion members all over the world. Spread over 30 countries, Rakuten offers various services, from eCommerce, fintech, banking, securities, sports and training, mobile and card payment to communications and investment; they cover all. With over 100 million members in Japan alone, Rakuten has created its private ecosystem to facilitate users to use all its services using a single Rakuten ID.
4.10) Reliance Industries
Reliance Industries is one of the biggest conglomerates in India and has a significant presence in the eCommerce industry. Reliance Retail has many subsidiaries like JioMart, Ajio, Reliance Digital, NetMeds, Urban Ladder, and Zivame.
JioMart in India is the prime competition for Amazon and Walmart and is predicted to grow to USD 200 billion by 2026. Each subsidiary of Reliance retail has its website where over 150 million people shop online.
5) What are the Different Types of eCommerce Companies
The types of eCommerce businesses are categorized based on business models and revenue models.
The most common form of eCommerce company sells its products or services directly to the end customer. In this business-to-consumer model, the consumer is the end-user who pays and uses the product without further re-selling.
Most B2C companies directly sell as online retailers or via intermediaries like marketplaces and storefronts that take a portion from each transaction or a user fee. Another form is a subscription-based model like most video streaming services like Netflix offer to viewers.
Many SMEs and large businesses have adapted the B2C ecommerce model. They have an eCommerce website along with brick and mortar stores or an omnichannel approach to maximize their sales and customer satisfaction from eCommerce, such as returning products bought online to a physical store.
B2C companies use advertising and technology to market their services directly to the end-user. Many use mobile apps for added leverage.
Unlike B2C, when an end-user of an eCommerce company selling their products or services is another business, it is a business-to-business model. The B2B products and services sales cycle is longer than B2C and has higher-order value. It is also common for B2B companies to make recurring transactions.
The B2B approach can be vertically oriented where companies sell to businesses within a specific industry. Or it can be a horizontal orientation where the company sells to businesses from different sectors.
B2B companies leverage their sales from custom-built enterprise eCommerce platforms and storefronts to work directly with end-users. Like the B2C model, B2B companies value customer convenience, personalization, and integrated experiences as essential facets of a business.
This is the customer-to-business model where individuals sell their products and services to companies. The most common form of this model is individuals marketing their services like writing, painting, graphic designing, web designing, etc., to companies. Upwork is an excellent example of the C2B model that leverages freelancing to connect skilled individuals with organizations requiring their services.
A venture of C2B companies includes influencer marketing and marketing platforms like Upfleunce or GRIN have already executed this model. Another form is the affiliate marketing services.
A vital component of the C2B business model is allowing individuals to set their service prices and expand their reach to more businesses.
eBay, Etsy, Craiglist, and Amazon Marketplaces are prime examples of consumer-to-consumer business models. Here customers sell their products or services to other customers. A third-party website or marketplace brings the sellers and end-users together by providing the platform and technology to transact online. These marketplaces charge a listing fee or take a portion of the transactions made by each seller.
Direct-to-consumer can be considered a subsidiary of the B2C business, but it has evolved into its niche. It deviates from the B2C model in eliminating the need for distributors. Therefore, eCommerce companies sell their products by controlling production, packaging, distribution, and shipping on their own via websites, retail stores, or social media.
Dropshipping model can be thought of as a delivery framework or revenue model rather than a traditional business model. However, dropshipping has gained massive popularity as an order fulfillment method. The basic idea is that an eCommerce entrepreneur or merchant sells products manufactured, stocked, packaged, and shipped by a fulfillment company or a third-party supplier.
Dropshipping can be considered a partnership between eCommerce companies and fulfillment centers tasked with warehousing, inventory management, and shipping. Though this model has bestowed some with rapid revenue growth, it also has its pitfalls. The eCommerce companies cannot be in direct control of their supply chain even when they are at the forefront of their business and manage customer experience.
5.7) Subscription Model
Are you familiar with Birchbox and Naturebox subscription boxes? Or Spotify and Netflix’s monthly subscriptions? They are excellent examples of how a subscription-based eCommerce business model work. In this form, an eCommerce company commits to providing its customers with products or services consistently.
The subscription model can involve membership like Amazon Prime, discounts, and monthly branded boxes. Subscription-based eCommerce is on the rise today as it instills in customers the trust and confidence to outsource their regular buying needs to eCommerce that provides the required products or enables customers to pay for services they enjoy benefits of becoming a member. The subscription model runs on the value of providing convenience.
5.8) White Labeling
The idea of white labeling is that an eCommerce company brands and sells products manufactured by others with their name and logo. This is most prevalent in the fashion and health industry. White labeling does not eliminate distributors but acquires products under its brand label.
6) How do eCommerce Companies Operate
Storefront is a popular medium to host eCommerce companies. Technically, storefronts are the frontend user interface that provides the face of your eCommerce store equivalent to a physical retail store that customers online can interact with. Storefronts are created with web-based systems like eCommerce software, SaaS tools, Headless commerce, etc.
eCommerce marketplaces are websites that facilitate multiple parties or vendors to sell their products or services for a proportionate fee. While the marketplace attracts customers with its wide range of products and processes transactions, the vendors are responsible for manufacturing and shipping the products. Examples of well-known marketplaces include Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba.
6.3) Social Media
Social media channels are also platforms for conducting eCommerce business. Many social media platforms offer in-built tools for advertising and selling products. Examples of social commerce platforms include Facebook Shops, Instagram Shops, and Pinterest. eCommerce companies can operate a business account to streamline the sales process.
6.4) Branded online stores
Simply put, a representation of a brick-and-mortar store on the internet that allows companies to sell their products with their logos is a branded online store. Branded stores can be self-hosted using eCommerce shipping software like Shopify and BigCommerce or hosted on the cloud with platforms like Amazon Web Services.
6.5) Affiliate websites
Affiliate websites facilitate third-party eCommerce merchants to sell their products against a commission. Most affiliate websites promote direct sales or generate leads and click-throughs for the merchant they associate with. A good example of an affiliate website is Canopy which promotes Amazon.
6.6) Online Retailers
Online retailers can be both single vendors or multiple vendors. Ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce have the in-built features and functionalities to create an online store for direct selling.
7) How to Choose the Best eCommerce Company
The best eCommerce company comes packed with the following features:
7.1) User Experience
User experience is a legitimate source for Google’s ranking and a key driver of customer satisfaction that hooks them to browse through your catalog without frowning and bouncing back. The top eCommerce companies are masters in providing the best user experience starting with easy navigation. A common feature amongst all the websites is the logical categorization of their products and a site search feature for a more intune customer search.
7.2) Branded shopping experience
Branded shopping experience starts with original and personalized logos, images, videos, and a customized “buy” button that defines what an eCommerce brand stands for. Deals, discounts, and branded packaging are other options that make up the branded shopping experience greatly anticipated by many customers online.
7.3) Quick checkout
A quick checkout is a key to reducing customers abandoning their carts. Amazon pioneered the “1 click” checkout option, which has been a popular checkout option to enhance customer experience and is opted by many customers today.
7.4) Payment Options
An easy shopping experience rests on how easy paying for the products a customer wishes to buy is. Having multiple options like COD, credit and debit cards, PayPal, e-wallets, etc., reduces cart abandonment and makes the checkout process an easy step.
7.5) Delivery Speed Options
Many customers today desire fast, if not free, delivery options. Amazon’s two-day shipping has practically dictated what an ideal delivery should be like. So, giving a fast delivery option is an excellent way to retain and expand the customer base.
7.6) Product Information
Top eCommerce companies pay heed to product information as the best way to dispel hesitation in buyers and continue shopping. A high-quality product page with detailed information, images, and videos convince customers to spend their money on products.
7.7) Customer Support
Almost 90% of customers choose the top eCommerce companies for their friendly, round-the-clock, and accessible customer service. Take Amazon’s customer service that does not let go of any customer query unfulfilled. They have all channels from detailed FAQ pages to direct interaction with customer service agents over calls or messages to solve questions within 30 mins.
7.8) Safeguard Personal Information
Safeguarding personal information like customer phone numbers, names, addresses, and payment information is a crucial consideration for any customer when shopping with an eCommerce company. Having SSL certificates and HTTPS protocols are necessary conditions for the security and safety of any eCommerce business.
While an eCommerce business can set its custom rules for returning or exchanging products, there are some standard features of returns that every business must follow. The standard practices include an easy returns request mechanism, faster processing of returns request, allotting carriers to pick up packages from customers’ houses or providing an avenue for customers to drop off their packages, and finally generating refunds on time. The easier it is to return a product on an ecommerce site, the more confident the customers feel to visit the website for their next purchase.
No eCommerce company should underestimate the value of mobile-friendly eCommerce features when at least 76% of ecommerce sales are generated via mobile phones. The top eCommerce companies, therefore, pay particular attention to optimizing their websites for mobile devices with intuitive website design and user interface.
A major factor in deciding if a customer shops with an eCommerce company is area serviceability. The scale at which an eCommerce company can expand its zone of operation depends on a lot of factors like the cost of doing business and finding ways to fulfill orders on time. Nevertheless, reaching the maximum customer base and their locations will only prompt them to shop with the brand often. Included in serviceability is the idea of providing an excellent delivery experience.
Price is not just a marketing tactic for eCommerce companies to attract customers, but also a tool that binds many of them to the brand. Quoting a fair price that brings profits to the company is important. But equally important is to have the price in the affordable bracket for consumers. Discounts, coupons, sales, etc. are strategies that an eCommerce company can adopt to maintain their bottom line and get shoppers to visit their website.
eCommerce companies are the cornerstone of the eCommerce industry. From serving customers to handling millions of products worldwide, the top eCommerce companies have many valuable lessons for all ecommerce businesses. Learning about their origins and services can help you understand, predict and project the scale, business models, and features you should include in your eCommerce company to make it a success.
9.1) Which is the leading global eCommerce company?
In terms of sales volume, Alibaba group is the leading eCommerce company in the world, closely followed by Amazon.
9.2) What are the five factors to check while shopping on an eCommerce website?
Starting with user experience, mobile serviceability, quick checkout process, payment options, and website security are the top five factors one should consider when shopping online.
9.3) How to decide if an eCommerce company is good?
A good eCommerce company not only offers the products you like but should also have affordable pricing, shipping options, and 24/7 customer service.