E-commerce Companies And Their Business Models

Alibaba

alibaba-business-model
how-does-alipay-make-money
Alipay is a Chinese mobile and online payment platform created in 2004 by entrepreneur Jack Ma as the payment arm of Taobao, a major Chinese eCommerce site. Alipay, therefore, is the B2C component of Alibaba Group. Alipay makes money via escrows transaction fees, a range of value-added ancillary services, and through its Credit Pay Instalment fees.
how-does-taobao-make-money
Taobao is a Chinese eCommerce website, and it is among the most visited websites in the world. Within it also comprises its payment arm, Alipay. Taobao is part of the Alibaba Group, founded by Chinese tech entrepreneur Jack Ma. The company makes money via its Tmalls (e-commerce platform), and through Alipay, mostly via its Escrow service fees.


Alphabet (Google Shopping)

how-does-google-make-money
Google has a diversified business model, primarily making money via its advertising networks that, in 2019, generated over 83% of its revenues, which also comprise YouTube Ads. Other revenue streams include Google Cloud, Hardware, Google Playstore, and YouTube Premium content. In 2019 Google made over $161 billion in total revenues.


Amazon

how-does-amazon-make-money
Amazon has a diversified business model. Amazon’s primary revenue streams comprise its e-commerce platform, made of Amazon labeled products and Amazon third-party stores. In addition to that, Amazon makes money via third-party seller services (like fulfilled by Amazon), advertising on its platform, AWS cloud platform, and Prime membership.
amazon-competitors
Amazon is a consumer e-commerce platform with a diversified business model spanning across e-commerce, cloud, advertising, streaming, and more. Over the years, Amazon acquired several companies. As it operates across several industries, Amazon has a wide range of competitors across each of those industries. For instance, Amazon E-commerce competes with Shopify, Wix, Google, Etsy, eBay, BigCommerce.


BestBuy

best-buy-business-model
While from a superficial look at its revenues streams, Best Buy seems the same company it was back in 2012. In reality, in the last decade, Best Buy has gone through a massive transformation of its business model.


Carvana

carvana-business-model
Carvana is online-based used car retailer known for its collection of 24 used car vending machines. Carvana makes money when the company can sell a car for more than it paid, thus making a profit. Carvana also makes money by charging interest on their car finance options.

Craiglist

how-does-craigslist-make-money
Craiglist is a local posting website that enables people to post any sort of classifieds on the platform, mostly for free, except for some categories of ads and the advertising of vehicles on the website. Therefore, craigslist monetizes based on some premium categories of listings (like job postings or apartment rentals).


eBay

ebay-business-model
eBay core business is a platform business model that makes money from transaction fees happening through its marketplaces (eBay and StubHub). eBay also makes money through advertising on its classifieds marketplace and other services. The company primarily makes money by charging fees on successfully closed transactions.

Etsy

etsy-business-model
Etsy is a two-sided marketplace for unique and creative goods. As a marketplace, it makes money via transaction fees on the items sold on the platform. Etsy’s key partner is comprised of sellers providing unique listings, and a wide organic reach across several marketing channels.


Facebook (Mobile Shopping)
Groupon

facebook-marketing
With one of the broadest audiences and psychographics on earth, Facebook is still one of the most effective marketing platforms for brands to build both brand awareness and sales funnels. As part of a digital marketing strategy, leveraging social media can effectively build a solid company.
instagram-business-model
Instagram makes money via visual advertising. As part of Facebook products, the company generates revenues for Facebook Inc. overall business model. Acquired by Facebook for a billion dollar in 2012, today Instagram is integrated into the overall Facebook business strategy. In 2018, Instagram founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, left the company, as Facebook pushed toward tighter integration of the two platforms.
how-does-whatsapp-make-money
Founded in 2009 by Brian Acton, Jan Koum WhatsApp is a messaging app acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $19B. In 2018 WhatsApp rolled out customers’ interaction services. WhatsApp might be transitioning toward a set of features from video chats to social commerce that might transform WhatsApp into a Super App.


Pinterest

how-does-pinterest-work-make-money
Pinterest makes money by selling advertising for marketers and companies that can gain visibility for their brands and more sales for their shops. In 2018, Pinterest made over $755 million in advertising revenue and it had 250 million monthly active users. 


Poshmark

poshmark-business-model
Poshmark is a social commerce mobile platform that combines social media capabilities to its e-commerce platform to enable transactions. It makes money with a simple model, where for each sale, Poshmark takes a 20% fee on the final price, for sales of $15 and over, and a flat rate of $2.95 for sales below that. As a mobile-first platform, its gamification elements and the tools offered to sellers are critical to the company’s growth.

Postmates

postmates-business-model
Postmates is a food delivery service built as a last-mile delivery service platform connecting locals with shops. Postmates makes money by collecting fees (commission, delivery, service, cart, and cancellation fees). It also makes money via its subscription service (called Unlimted – $9.99/month or $99.99 annually) giving free delivery on every order of more than $12.


Shopify

shopify-business-model
Shopify is an e-commerce platform enabling merchants to commercialize their products via a monthly subscription fee, and additional services provided by the platform. Its core business is subscription-based, even though in 2018, the company made over 50% of its revenues from another stream called merchant solutions.
shopify-competitors
In just fifteen short years, Shopify has grown from humble beginnings to become one of the fastest-growing eCommerce platforms online. The Shopify eCommerce solution is perhaps best suited to users who desire an easy, flexible and affordable starter solution for their online store. The provider now has upwards of 820,000 stores accounting for 20% of the total market share. However, the continued success of any company in the dynamic digital market is never guaranteed.

Squarespace

how-does-squarespace-make-money
Squarespace is a North American hosting and website building company. Founded in 2004 by college student Anthony Casalena as a blog hosting service, it grew to become among the most successful website building companies. The company mostly makes money via its subscription plans. It also makes money via customizations on top of its subscription plans. And in part also as transaction fees for the website where it processes the sales.


Tencent

what-does-tencent-own
Tencent is a Chinese multinational conglomerate founded in 1998 by Ma Huateng, Zhang Zhidong, and Xu Chenye. Among its various global subsidiaries are companies in the online services, music, and artificial intelligence industries. But it is perhaps best known for its interest in the video game sector – both as a game developer for the Chinese market and the acquirer of several established gaming companies. Tencent is a vast company with a stake in more than 600 companies. Following is a look at some of the companies and subsidiaries it has a majority stake in.
how-does-wechat-make-money
WeChat is a “super app” or an app that can do many things, from messaging to mobile payments and social media. Developed by Tencent, WeChat is among the most popular Super Apps in China. WeChat makes money via value-added services (with services like Moments, Public Accounts, and Gaming), advertising, and payments on the transaction processed through it.


Vinted

how-does-vinted-make-money
Vinted is an online shopping marketplace with a strong secondhand component. The company makes money via its buyer protection service. The buyer pays a fee to Vinted in exchange for services like customer support, insurance, and tracked shipping; Shipping costs; Wardrobe Spotlight (helping users boost the visibility of their items). And Bumping listed items.


Vroom

vroom-business-model
Vroom runs a peer-to-peer e-commerce platform selling used vehicles. The company makes money through the sales of used vehicles that passed the quality standards to be sold on the platform; Wholesale auction revenues for vehicles that didn’t meet quality standards to be sold directly on the platform; and fees from value-added products (insurance and financing).


Walmart

walmart-business-model
With over $495 in net sales as of January 2018, and over $4.5 billion coming from Membership and other income. The company operates three primary units that in 2018 comprise Walmart U.S. (approximately 64% of our net sales), Walmart International (about 24% of net sales), and Sam’s Club (approximately 12% of its net sales) a membership-only warehouse clubs and operates in 44 states in the U.S. and in Puerto Rico, as well as eCommerce.  


Wish

wish-business-model
Wish is a mobile-first e-commerce platform in which users’ experience is based on discovery and customized product feed. Wish makes money from merchants’ fees and merchants’ advertising on the platform and logistic services. The mobile platform also leverages an asset-light business model based on a positive cash conversion cycle where users pay in advance as they order goods, and merchants are paid in weeks.



Zalando

zalando-business-model
Zalando is a multi-national eCommerce company founded in 2008 by David Schneider and Robert Gentz, created under the name Ifansho, changed to Zalando as a reference to the Italian word zalare – or “making jokes”. Zalando generates revenues by purchasing stock and then selling it for a profit. Zalando also charges brands it partners with a commission for the privilege of selling on its platform. The commission Zalando collects on each sale is undisclosed. Zalando also collects advertising revenue from ads placed on its website and app.

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Published by

Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro is the creator of FourWeekMBA which reached over a million business students, executives, and aspiring entrepreneurs in 2020 alone | He is also Head of Business Development for a high-tech startup, which he helped grow at double-digit rate | Gennaro earned an International MBA with emphasis on Corporate Finance and Business Strategy | Visit The FourWeekMBA BizSchool | Or Get The FourWeekMBA Flagship Book "100+ Business Models"