What is e-commerce

What is e-commerce? Basics Guide

165,91 zł (excluding VAT) per month + sales fees
What is e-commerce? Basics Guide

What will you learn from this article?

E-commerce has become an integral part of our daily lives, and for many of us, online shopping is an obvious matter. E-commerce refers to the trade of products or services over the Internet, where customers can order and pay for products online, and purchases are then delivered directly to their homes.

The main advantage of e-commerce is convenience. Customers no longer have to leave the comfort of their own homes to shop. Moreover, they can order products from anywhere in the world and have access to a virtually infinitely wide range of products in a competitive market.

From online customer’s perspective, security of the site and the credibility of the seller are important aspects of shopping. It is especially important to use only trustworthy, verified payment methods and verifying information about the store where we want to shop in.

For entrepreneurs, e-commerce business offers an opportunity to quickly and easily sell products and services over the Internet while accessing a large customer base - Internet users. This is why many sales companies move their business online by running their own online stores or selling their products through well-known e-commerce sites, such as Amazon.

E-commerce can also be a chance to open up to new business opportunities as an additional source of income alongside basic professional work conducted full-time or part-time.

If you are considering to start an e-commerce business, you need to consider a number of important topics. This article will help you take the right steps and build your e-commerce business. You will learn about various variants of online sales, including those in which you do not even need to accumulate inventory of the offered assortment. We will identify the potential advantages and disadvantages of running your own e-commerce business, as well as challenges and tips on how to deal with them. Here you will also find out how to estimate whether the solution for your business is starting your own websites or, alternatively, running a store through a sales service such as Amazon.
What is e-commerce?

What is e-commerce?

Electronic trading or e-commerce, where “e” means “electronic”, refers to buying, selling - trading goods and services over the Internet. This process typically involves online transactions that take into account the transfer of data and the means to finalize the sale. This term defines a wide range of commercial activities that take place electronically, such as online purchases, electronic payments, and online auctions.

E-commerce is becoming an increasingly popular way for businesses and consumers to conduct transactions due to its convenience, accessibility and ability to reach audiences around the world. This method of trading has revolutionized the way people do business, making it easier to buy and sell products and services from anywhere in the world.

One of the main advantages of e-commerce is that it also provides sellers with a platform to reach a wider audience than traditional brick-and-mortar stores. This is particularly beneficial in case of medium-sized companies that may not have enough resources to enter the global market. By using e-commerce services, businesses can expand their customer base and increase revenue without incurring the same overheads that traditional retail stores have.

Apart from granting access to audiences around the world, e-commerce also offers consumers a convenient and efficient shopping process. With just a few clicks, customers can search for products, compare prices and make purchases from the comfort of their homes. Additionally, e-commerce services provide customers with access to a wide range of products and services that may not be available in their area.

However, despite its many advantages, e-commerce also comes with some challenges. Cybersecurity and data protection are the major challenges in the e-commerce world. Internet companies and their customers are unfortunately exposed to the attacks of cybercriminal hackers. The rapidly growing Internet space needs to keep pace with its development regulations that ensure the protection and security of e-commerce platforms and their users.

In conclusion, e-commerce has become an integral part of the modern economy, enabling businesses and consumers to transact in innovative ways. Whether you are a small business owner or a consumer who wants to make a purchase, e-commerce provides a convenient, accessible and efficient platform for conducting transactions over the Internet.

Trends and Statistics in e-Commerce

Predictions indicate that e-commerce sector will continue to grow. Based on observed trends, online sales are expected to account for nearly a quarter of total global retail sales by 2025. In 2021, more than 2 billion people bought products online, bringing nearly $5 trillion in retail sales within the e-commerce segment. This figure is expected to rise to $6.54 trillion in 2022, reaching $7.4 trillion by 2025. Locally, on the Polish market, growth trends in e-commerce are also observed.

How does the e-commerce business work?

E-commerce can take place between different parties. Buyers and sellers can be individuals, entrepreneurs or organizations that do business with each other online.

Although there are many e-commerce business models, the most typical ones are:
  • B2C – refers to companies that sell directly to end users. The abbreviation B2C stands for business-to-consumer. The end user here is an individual, for example, a consumer buying a product in a supermarket.
  • B2B – Within this model, companies sell directly to other companies, not end users.
    The abbreviation B2B stands for business-to-business and covers business relationships between at least two companies.
E-commerce is not only about making a purchase or sale agreement. It is also an online transfer of information and financial resources. Currently, all the necessary steps to complete an online transaction can be undertaken using a single website.

It should not be forgotten that even these virtually concluded transactions concerning tangible goods and products, will have to be physically executed. Therefore, an important part of e-commerce is implementation, also called e-fulfilment. This term refers to the whole processing of a placed order — processing of payments, managing inventory, gathering products, preparing them for shipment and delivery to the customer. After-sales service and disposal are also part of e-fulfilment.

What are the possible advantages and disadvantages of e-commerce?

E-commerce today is much more than a digital catalogue of a particular company. E-commerce offers sellers a spectrum of opportunities and facilitation, for this reason, some suppliers offer their goods and services online only.

Advantages of e-commerce:

  • You can expand your assortment with any number of items, and the physical area of the store or warehouse facilities does not limit your offer.
  • The goods you trade can be stored without thinking about the attractiveness of the location of your store. When selling online, you can use affordable business premises outside busy city centres.
  • You can increase the attractiveness of the offered goods by adding helpful information about the products to the items’ descriptions, it can be done in various ways. From a written instruction manual, a description of the usability of products, to photos and instructor videos.
  • You can allow customers to access ratings and opinions of other users about each offered item.
  • You can add new products or specifications to your product range within a few minutes, instead of waiting for the manufacturer's new catalogue to appear.
  • By collecting ratings and customer feedback, you gain access to information concerning customer needs. Along with sales statistics, you get an overview of the goods your customers buy most often, information about what they value them for, and how they combine them with other products.
  • By building a base of your customers, you have the opportunity to create targeted offers that match their expectations. Recommending further products based on previously completed orders can generate additional sales.

Challenges in the e-commerce industry:

Online commerce has a lot of potential advantages, but nevertheless, it also comes with challenges inherent in this industry.
  • The tendency to order expensive products over the Internet is relatively low. When trying to buy a more expensive product, customers often conduct research on it online, look for opinions of other users, compare prices, but decide to finalize the purchase after seeing the product live in a brick-and-mortar store after having a live conversation with the seller. Often it is the brick-and-mortar store, where they finally decide to make the purchase. Therefore, taking care of the customer's sense of security and a positive shopping experience, and providing as much information as possible about the product in the form of descriptions, reviews, photos and videos, can help you increase customer retention and their propensity to order valuable, expensive items online in your store.
  • A noticeable amount of customers is still reluctant to buy shoes and clothing online due to the inability of checking, if the size fits. To avoid disappointment, many customers order clothes and footwear in several sizes, and then return the non-matching ones. In response to these needs, many companies offer free return policy, agreeing to absorb this additional cost. However, such a free return service, taken for granted by many customers, involves significant costs, not only of the shipment itself, but also the re-management of the returned and tried on goods. Sometimes, such goods can be sold again only at discounted prices. Take this into account, and look for ways to minimize the percentage of returns right from the start. The more accurate product information you provide to the customer before the purchase, the easier it will be for you to manage their expectations.
  • Positioning an online store in search results of the largest search engines can turn out to be very time-consuming. Hire a professional, who can help you out on this one. Another possibility is to take advantage of the solutions offered by recognizable sales sites such as Amazon, which attracts many users every day.
Challenges in the e-commerce industry:

What do I need to start selling online?

Before you start an online sales business, you need to think through some of the most important issues.
Start by researching the market. It is crucial to determine your target audience, competition and demand for the products or services you want to sell. It is also essential to understand customer preferences and their purchasing behaviour so as to create effective marketing strategies.
In addition to this, consider the following:
  • Choosing an appropriate e-commerce service that will cope with your store's sales volume, payment processing and security requirements.
    The platform should also have an easy-to-use interface, providing intuitive website navigation, and comprehensive customer support.
  • Creating a strong brand identity and marketing plan is essential to stand out in the competitive e-commerce market. This includes creating a unique brand image, establishing a user-friendly website, optimizing for search engines, and using different social media platforms to engage and attract customers.
  • Selection of products. This includes analysing demand, determining profitable niches, and sourcing products from reliable suppliers. It is also important to take into account factors such as product quality, brand recognition and packaging aesthetics.
  • Inventory Management. Proper storage and management of inventory is essential to ensure a timely delivery of products to customers. This includes stock tracking, demand forecasting, and optimizing warehouse space. Retailers also need to consider factors such as shipping costs and delivery times to determine the best fulfilment strategies.
  • Prices and payments. Determining the right price for products is the key to attracting customers and generating revenue. Retailers must take into account competitors' offers, production costs and demand for a particular product, when determining the prices of the offered goods. It is also important to provide different payment options, and ensure secure transaction processing in order to build customer trust.
  • Customer service. Providing excellent customer service is the key to building a loyal customer base.
    What creates this excellence is the short response time, courtesy and willingness to meet customer expectations.
  • Returns of goods and funds. Handling returns of purchased goods and refunds is an important part of any online retail sale. This involves introducing clear policies and procedures, providing customers with an easy return process, and processing them quickly and efficiently on the store side.
  • Opinions and reviews. Encouraging people to give feedback on products they buy is a great way to improve your business, and build trust among new customers. This involves actively sourcing feedback, responding to customer concerns and complaints, and using reviews to improve product offerings and service quality.

How do I start selling on Amazon?

Amazon offers a range of options of direct buyers and sellers matching.Buyers get a wide range of different products there, and sellers gain access to Amazon's enormous customer base from the start.
This is a great advantage for the sellers within the Amazon store, considering the amount of laboured work they would need to put into building the recognition of a self-created sales site.

Amazon is visited by millions of people every day, and the number of users continues to grow along with the constantly expanding offerings. In addition, more and more people no longer use Internet search engines; instead, they look for products of their interest directly on Amazon.

If customers start searching directly on Amazon, and find what they are looking for, they also make their purchases there. Brand owners, who position themselves only in their own online stores, are potentially losing customers, so it's worth combining sales through Amazon with the ones made directly within their websites.

Amazon has created a clear guide for beginners, who want to start selling, Novice Seller Guide for Beginners, in which you will find many tips on how to get started on this site.
How do I start selling on Amazon?

Basics of online sales with Amazon

Step 1 − Create an Amazon merchant account and select a sales plan.

Creating a merchant account on Amazon is very easy. You can use your existing customer account, or create a new merchant account with a business email address.

Before registering, make sure you have the following items prepared: company email address or Amazon customer account, active credit card, valid passport or identity document, company registration details (with VAT number if you are registered as a VAT taxpayer), phone number, and bank account number to which Amazon can send sales proceeds. When you complete your registration as a seller on Amazon, you will access the Seller Central page, where sellers log in to monitor and manage their sales activity on Amazon.

From the very beginning, you have the opportunity to choose a sales strategy that fits your business model. You can choose from two convenient solutions - individual or professional sales plans. Sales plans give you the freedom to pay a certain rate for one sale or pay a flat monthly fee. You can change or cancel your plan at any time.

The most important differences between these forms are explained in more detail here:

The Individual Seller Plan offers free registration and a sale fee of PLN 4 excluding VAT for the product sold. However, keep in mind that some advanced sales tools are limited in this variant. The individual retailer plan is suitable, if you are just starting your e-commerce journey, and plan to sell less than 40 items per month.

In the case of a professional sales plan, the fee is PLN 165.91 per month. This program offers many additional features, such as API integration, and access to advanced sales and inventory tools.
You can also manage orders and inventory using data sources, spreadsheets, and reports. These advanced tools are of particular interest to medium and large companies or retailers, who sell more than 40 items per month.

Step 2 — Products

If you are selling on Amazon for the first time, be sure to check out sales guides that will allow you to discover the spectrum of possibilities offered by the service. Before you start selling, research the market to find products that are in high demand, but offered by few competitive sellers.

To start selling on Amazon, create an offer in Seller Central (or via the interface API). The offer must include:
  • A product ID, such as GTIN, UPC, ISBN or EAN, accurately identifying the item you are selling.
    The UPC code can be obtained directly from the GS1, or you can request an exemption from the requirement to provide a product ID.
  • SKU Identifier, created to track your own inventory
  • Offer details such as price, product status, available quantity and shipping options
  • Product details such as name, brand, category, description and photos
  • Keywords and search terms to make it easier for shoppers to find a product
If the same product is already offered by another seller, an already existing offer is being attached (which means that some details, such as the product ID, will already be entered). If you are the first seller to offer a particular product, create a new offer.

If you are a new seller, it may be a good idea to start selling by adding several products to your range - this way you can gain initial experience, and test the process itself.
Regardless of whether you are planning to market only a few or many products, find out what product guidelines you should follow.

Step 3: Shipping

When an Amazon customer purchases your product, we can process the order for you, using the Amazon Fulfilment program (FBA). You can also send the product yourself.
Many sellers on Amazon simultaneously use Amazon Fulfilment, and ship orders on their own.

- Self-serve ordering (FBM) It’s a traditional approach of order fulfilment, where the seller is responsible for managing the warehouse, taking the purchased product off the stock, packing, and shipping the order to the ordering party.

- Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) Amazon Fulfilment (FBA) is a service, where Amazon handles the storage, packaging and shipping of your products, customer service and returns. It means that Amazon provides access to its logistics services. You send your products to an Amazon fulfilment centre that will do the rest for you.
This kind of shipping can be an easy way to get your Prime badges on most of your offers.
Many buyers on Amazon are looking for products with a Prime badge, which guarantees them fast and free shipping.

Step 4 — Determining the shipping cost

When you process orders yourself, Amazon charges shipping fees based on the product category and the shipping service chosen by the customer, and then gives you the amount as a refund for shipping.

Sellers with a professional plan set their own shipping rates. When a customer purchases a product, Amazon sends you funds corresponding to the shipping rate. Please note, that the sales commission is based on the total selling price, including item price, shipping costs, and any wrapping fees.

Sellers using an individual plan have Amazon shipping rates set for all products. Sellers with the individual plan must ship orders at set rates, even if the return for shipping is less than the total shipping costs, so it is important to price the products in a profitable way.

Amazon fulfilment fees (FBA) depend on the type and size of the product, as well as the fulfilment channel, through which you sell the product. Fees include the costs of storing products at Amazon fulfilment centres, picking, packaging/shipping orders, and providing customer service.

Step 5 — Shipping an order

If you ship your products (FBM) yourself, you have the option of receiving shipping labels from Amazon. This gives your customers the ability to track their shipment directly on Amazon.

When you decide for Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), you must prepare your products for safe transportation to the logistics centre, in accordance with Amazon's packaging guidelines and shipping requirements. Follow all Amazon guidelines. Otherwise, your products will not be accepted in fulfilment centres.

Step 6 — Sell your first item on Amazon

Once the store is set up, you can start selling on Amazon. Once you've gotten the basics of selling on Amazon, learn more about the tools available, which can help you grow your business.

Step 7 - Processing Payments

When registering with Seller Central as a seller, you must enter your payment details. Thanks to this, incoming payments from buyers will be transferred to your bank account.
Grow your business on Amazon

Grow your business on Amazon

Now that you have already created a merchant account, and your products are available on Amazon, you can learn more about e-commerce marketing possibilities and take advantage of growth opportunities.
At Seller Universityyou will find educational resources that help businesses, brand owners, and entrepreneurs learn how to succeed as an Amazon Sales Partner. There you will come across numerous training videos. They will help you learn the basics of sales, sales tools, advertising and promotions.

It’s crucial to take care of increasing the visibility of your brand and products, among other things, through advertising. Ads are displayed in highly visible destinations, in shopping search results, or on product detail pages. Visit the Amazon Ads website to learn more.

One popular method of increasing visibility is PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. You can also work with organic search engine optimization (SEO). To do this, you create so-called keywords, or terms that buyers use to search for products in web browsers. Think carefully about what terms you want to use to draw attention to your products. Finding the right keywords for product description and listing title is key to improved organic ranking.

If you own your own brand, the brand owners tools will help you continue to build, grow and protect your business.

International expansion is another way to grow your business. Amazon offers help in this regard. See the Worldwide Sales tab for details.

Tips on how to grow your online business

  • Use high quality product photos.
    Clear and visually appealing product photos can make a big difference in attracting potential customers. Make sure you use high-resolution images that show your product from multiple perspectives.
  • Provide detailed product descriptions.
    Product descriptions should contain detailed information. An accurate description is there to help customers make a choice. It also helps you manage customer expectations, and reduces the percentage of returns. Considering dimensions, material specifications, and other relevant information can help customers make a conscious purchase decision.
  • Stay in touch with customers.
    Building a friendly relationship with customers will positively affect their attachment to your store.
    They will be happy to come back, and just as happy to leave a positive review. Respond professionally to customers inquiries and their feedback in the shortest possible time. Consider offering special promotions for registered users to encourage them to another purchase.
  • Take advantage of social media.
    Create accounts on various social media platforms to increase your online presence and connect with potential customers. Share updates, promotions, and engage your audience to build a base of loyal users.
  • Optimize your online store for search engines.
    Improve your website's search engine positioning by using relevant keywords in product descriptions, URLs, and meta tags. This will make it easier for potential customers to find your store when searching online.
  • Use customer reviews to your advantage.
    Encourage customers to leave reviews on your website and social media platforms. Positive reviews can attract more customers and build trust in your brand, while negative reviews can provide valuable feedback to help you improve your products and services.
  • Offer promotions to returning customers.
    Encourage customers to return to your store by creating special offers - discounts, free delivery options or referral bonuses. This can help build a base of regular customers and increase sales volume.


Internet commerce is constantly evolving and offers a wide range of opportunities to buy and sell various goods online. E-commerce gives entrepreneurs a variety of opportunities to sell their products and services without the limitations associated with the physical location of the company.

Small businesses have the chance to expand their clientele and product range, and even enter international markets. E-commerce also offers the possibility of additional earnings for people, who want to additionally conduct sales business in their free time. This way you can trade small quantities of products, or even sell second-hand items from private stock.

An important aspect of online sales is building and strengthening your presence in the Internet space.
It includes setting up a website and developing social media profiles. The website should be user-friendly, and the customer service easy and quick. Moreover, it’s extremely important to ensure a safe and reliable ordering process, not to mention secure payments for products and services.

Another important element of the Internet business is the creation of an effective marketing strategy that will increase the visibility of the site and attract potential customers. This can be achieved through search engine optimization, paid advertising, social media marketing and email campaigns.

Do not forget about collecting and using feedback from customers. Listen to their feedback if you wish to improve the operation of the store and increase the level of shopping satisfaction. Implement a rating system on the website and through social media platforms.

Online business offers many benefits, such as lower operating costs, global reach and flexible working conditions. However, it also requires a high level of commitment and adaptability to keep up with ever-changing demands and trends.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is e-commerce?
The process of buying, selling - trading products or services over the Internet is collectively called electronic trading, or e-commerce, where “e” means “electronic”. E-commerce also includes the transfer of funds to complete purchase and sale transactions. Parties in e-commerce transactions, both on the side of sellers and buyers, can be individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises, corporations or institutions.
Do I need my own website to start an e-commerce business?
It depends. Some retailers choose to start their own websites or online stores, while others prefer to begin with online solutions, using Amazon or similar platforms.
How to effectively promote your online store?
There are many advertising and marketing strategies that you can implement to make it easier for customers to find and purchase products in your store. By setting up your online store on Amazon, you gain access to many advertising solutions that increase your visibility, and help grow your online business.
Is e-commerce a growing market?
Yes, statistics show that global e-commerce sales are expected to grow 50% from their value in 2021 to reach a combined potential value of more than $7 trillion by 2025.
How many people use Amazon Prime?
How many small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) cooperate with Amazon in Poland?
In 2021, 3,500 Polish small and medium-sized companies sold their products through Amazon, both locally and abroad. In total, in 2021, Polish SMEs sold 25 million products through Amazon and created 12 thousand jobs, together reaching export sales worth more than 750 million euros.

Start selling today

Selling on Amazon allows you to reach tens of millions of shoppers, whether you’re selling one item or millions. Your account configuration is set to sell across Europe
165,91 zł (excl. VAT) per month + selling fees
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