Types of online stores

As physical stores, we can categorize online stores too. I like to categorize them according to two perspectives.

  • Macro categorization (Bird view/high level)

B2B – business to business

Wholesale businesses are using these online stores. In fact, as the name emphasizes, this connects business to business. A good example is Alibaba online store.

This one identifies as b2b as well in shorten form. Buyers can buy products for competitive prices. There is a managerial economics concept call economies of scale, which means when a company produces a product in larger quantities per product price is coming to the lowest cost. Consequently, the company can sell the products for best prices. Furthermore, since the wholesale buyers also buy in larger quantities from the wholesale seller, the buyers get the products for a cheaper rate.

Alibaba has a big collection of Chinese wholesalers and manufacturers. They ship their products worldwide. So, wholesalers from all around the world order from them. They provide variety of shipping methods; mainly, sea freight and air freight. Not only these shipping facilities, but also, they provide sample product sending as well prior to place a bulk order.

B2C – business to consumer

Wholesale businesses connect with consumers/customers. So, typically the buyers do not buy in larger quantities. Therefore, per product price is higher than the wholesale price. We can identify this as b2c as well.

Majority of the well-known online stores are belonging to this category. Such as Amazon, Tesco, Argos, etc.

  • Micro categorization

In this categorization, I would like to identify online stores like this.

Wholesale stores

I explained this in the Macro categorization section.

Retail stores

This one also I explained before, but there are subcategories of this as well. Retail stores are the online stores which end users or simply consumers interact.

Because there are different types of consumers with different desires, retail stores also have been categorized into subcategories such as general stores and niche stores.

General online stores list every types of products while niche online stores list particular type of products. If I simplify this; there are niche stores for childcare, pet care, fashion, clothing, etc.

There are several factors to consider if you do online shopping with online retail stores.

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