10 of the Top E-commerce Companies

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated April 9, 2022 | Published October 27, 2020

Updated April 9, 2022

Published October 27, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The development and growing prevalence of technology has created even more ways for companies and consumers to purchase and sell their products or services. Now, the majority of shopping occurs online using e-commerce companies. In this article, we explain what an e-commerce company is, explore the different types of e-commerce and provide a list of the top e-commerce companies.

What are e-commerce online companies?

E-commerce companies rely on the Internet and electronic payment methods to conduct transactions, such as the buying and selling of goods or services. The items that these online companies sell can be:

  • Physical goods: Many e-commerce companies sell things like clothes, furniture, books or a number of other physical products.

  • Digital products: Some companies sell downloads, like e-books, movies that you can watch online or songs.

  • Services: There are a number of e-commerce companies that sell subscriptions or services. This is perhaps most commonly seen with streaming subscriptions that allow consumers to pay a monthly fee that gives you access to things like music, movies and/or television shows.

  • Affiliates: There are some e-commerce online companies that earn a commission by facilitating sales through affiliate links. These online businesses could be influencer websites, blogs or company websites that curate goods sold online.

Related: What is E-commerce Business? With Definitions and Examples

Types of e-commerce

E-commerce companies can operate in a variety of categories, such as:

  • Business-to-consumer: Also referred to as B2C, these e-commerce companies sell their goods or services to individual consumers.

  • Business-to-business: Businesses are classified as business-to-business, or B2B, when they sell their services or goods to other businesses. These can be wholesalers or companies that specialize in offering goods or services that help organizations manage their business.

  • Consumer-to-consumer: Consumer-to-consumer, also known as C2C, e-commerce companies develop and facilitate online marketplaces that connect individuals that want to buy or sell services or goods.

  • Consumer-to-business: A consumer-to-business, or C2B, transaction takes place when an individual sells goods to a business. In some instances, the companies purchasing the items immediately post and sell them on an online marketplace.

Related: B2B vs B2C Companies: Definitions and Differences

Where do e-commerce businesses sell their goods or services?

You can also categorize e-commerce companies based on the method they use for selling their products or services. They often use things like:

  • Conversational e-commerce: Social media platforms have made it possible for e-commerce companies to sell their products from their posts. Using this method, consumers are able to shop directly from their newsfeed.

  • E-commerce marketplaces: E-commerce marketplaces allow e-commerce companies to sell their goods or services on their platform in exchange for a fee or percentage of sales. These types of situations eliminate a lot of the need for merchants to market their site or attract online traffic.

  • Branded e-commerce stores: E-commerce companies often own and operate their own online store via their website. In many cases, these businesses use an e-commerce platform to host their website and store.

Related: What is Online-to-Offline Commerce? (With Steps for O2O)

Top e-commerce companies

Here are some of the most notable e-commerce companies at the moment:

1. Amazon

Though it started in 1994 as an e-commerce marketplace for books, Amazon has evolved into an online shopping staple. It's best known for its online marketplace where consumers and businesses can purchase physical goods, but in recent years it has expanded to offer digital products and subscription services as well. Namely, you can purchase an Amazon Prime subscription to gain access to online streaming services, among other things.

2. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Like many retailers, Wal-Mart has thriving brick and mortar and e-commerce stores. Most, if not all, businesses have transitioned to offer consumers the option to purchase their goods and services online using a branded e-commerce store or in-person. Aside from growing its own online shopping operations, Wal-Mart has also been purchasing other e-commerce companies, such as Jet.com.

3. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Alibaba is a global wholesale e-commerce marketplace that primarily operates in Asia, but its international presence is rapidly growing. Many consider this e-commerce company China's equivalent of Amazon.

Related: 27 Common E-Commerce Jobs (Plus Salaries and Job Duties)

4. Facebook

Facebook, which owns other companies like Instagram and WhatsApp, may not have an e-commerce store, but it facilitates online shopping through conversational e-commerce and affiliates. More specifically, many e-commerce companies pay Facebook to create and run advertising for their online business. Facebook has also established a consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer marketplace where individuals or businesses can post and sell their products or services.

5. Microsoft

Microsoft controls companies like Skype, bing and Xbox, all of which sell software and hardware to businesses and consumers alike. This influential company makes a majority of its income selling digital products and services.

6. Apple Inc.

Apple sells physical products, services and digital products through their e-commerce store. Aside from being able to purchase their phones and computers, they also offer a subscription-based music streaming platform. Additionally, they operate several e-commerce marketplaces where you can purchase apps, music and e-books that are formatted for your Apple products.

7. eBay Inc.

This business-to-consumer, consumer-to-consumer and consumer-to-business e-commerce marketplace is best known for allowing individuals to sell their goods to other consumers. EBay started out as a sort of auction house where consumers could place bids on used and/or collectible items. Over time, major brands have begun offering their new products on this platform as well, most of which are sold at a fixed price.

Related: Omnichannel Strategy: Definition and How To Implement

8. Liberty Interactive Corporation

Liberty Interactive owns several e-commerce companies, including QVC, the Home Shopping Network (HSN), Zulily and ProFlowers. QVC and HSN may have started as home shopping television channels, but they have also transitioned to selling their products online through their branded e-commerce marketplaces.

9. Shopify

Instead of having a branded e-commerce store or marketplace, Shopify serves as a host where companies can sell their products or services online. For this reason, it's considered a business-to-business e-commerce site that sells a service. Shopify charges businesses a subscription fee so that they can use this platform to sell their goods, track inventory and fulfill orders.

10. Jingdong

Also known as JD.com, Jingdong is a China-based e-commerce marketplace that is very similar to Amazon and Alibaba.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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