E-commerce and e-marketing – what’s the difference?

May 21, 2020 8 min read Written by: Andrzej Bieda
Table of contents
Table of contents

E-commerce and e-marketing are both widely used in the digital marketing world as they have been gaining popularity over the past few years.

Although the only obvious feature bonding them together is being related to the digital world, they are often colluded and interchanged. But are they truly the same?

The short answer is no. They are not the same, but it doesn’t mean they live in separate universes. In fact, they have a lot in common, interpenetrate each other and one impacts the other, but these are not exchangeable terms.

Once you read this article, you will know:

  • what is e-commerce and e-marketing,
  • what is the difference between e-commerce and e-marketing,
  • what is the relationship between e-commerce, e-marketing and e-business,
  • what are examples of e-commerce and e-marketing landing pages.
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What is e-commerce and e-marketing

E-commerce definition

E-commerce refers to the selling and purchasing of products and services using the Internet, the money and data transfer to finalize transactions.

The e-commerce meaning is often limited to selling physical products online, but the truth is that it can describe any commercial transaction that is done or facilitated by the Internet.

Image source

Therefore, e-commerce entails all the activities, both direct and indirect, that lead to making transactions with customers. It encompasses areas such as web design, web hosting, marketing, consulting, accounting services, or credit card processing.

E-marketing definition

On the other hand, e-marketing (or digital marketing) is a process of planning, executing, distributing, promoting and pricing of goods and services in a networked environment (the Internet and the World Wide Web) aimed at facilitating, exchanging and fulfilling customers’ expectations. Its major advantages over traditional marketing are that it is more convenient for customers, offers more competitive prices and allows businesses to reduce costs.
Source: https://www.marketingtutor.net/what-is-e-marketing/

It entails a plethora of online activities that aim at promoting businesses, their products or services. It can be creating SEO-friendly websites, social media activity, elaborating a video marketing strategy or analyzing the Google Analytics data for marketing purposes. Basically, all the digital activities with promotional purposes or aiming at building a relationship with customers can be referred to as e-marketing.

It is worth noting that e-marketing actions may aim at increasing sales and thus have the same focus as e-commerce does, but it is not obligatory.

For example, you can run a social media marketing campaign aimed at boosting sales of your recently launched e-book. It is an e-marketing campaign as you use digital means in order to promote your product. Nevertheless, it also refers to an e-commerce activity since you aim at making a deal with potential customers.

What is the difference between e-commerce and e-marketing

As you can see, e-commerce and e-marketing share a common denominator, which is using a networked environment (the Internet) to serve their goals. These goals may be the same but they don’t necessarily have to be. And in the majority of cases, they are not.

The primary objective of e-commerce is to finalize transactions between businesses and customers, while e-marketing is a broader term encompassing a whole spectrum of activities and its main objective is not necessarily making a sale.

Although you can run promotional activities under e-commerce, including e-marketing ones, you will always have sales at the top of mind. Some e-marketing actions can also be focused on encouraging the target audience to purchase your products or services, but you can also run e-marketing campaigns aimed at increasing brand awareness or customer base, promoting events or testing some innovative marketing activities.

E-marketing entails all the promotional activities done in a networked environment when e-commerce has a purely transactional goal that is always connected to selling and purchasing.

What is the relationship between e-commerce, e-marketing and e-business

When talking about e-commerce vs e-marketing, it is also good to mention e-business.

Click the image to view source

Click the image to view source

E-business is the broadest term encompassing e-commerce and e-marketing activities, but also customer relationship management (CRM) or supply chain management (SCM). Simply put, e-business takes advantage of networked infrastructure to run a business that allows it to reach a global audience, improve customer service or develop a product offer using digital means.

Therefore, e-business entails both e-commerce and e-marketing. These three are very closely tight and interpenetrate each other, but as you can see they should not be used interchangeably.

What are examples of e-commerce and e-marketing landing pages?

Since landing pages (which you can create with a Landingi landing page builder) are an integral part of the vast majority of successful digital marketing campaigns, let’s take a look at a landing page created purely for transactional purposes and one aimed at generating leads.

An example of a landing page aimed at selling

If you create a landing page strictly for selling, you won’t try to build a relationship or try to inspire trust by bragging about your expertise. The main focus of such a landing page is emphasizing the value that comes with your products or services. You will try to prove that your offer is absolutely stellar and encourage visitors to purchase from you right away.

Source: https://landingi.com/landing-page-template/flower-mail

The landing page template seen above is an example of a landing page created for an online flower shop. It has a chic design, subtle colors and a neat structure. It has a feminine look and brings to mind the delicateness of flowers which perfectly fits into the landing page offer.

As you can see, an e-commerce landing page looks highly professional, but what truly makes it built for transactional purposes is its straightforwardness:

  • offer and prices are quoted,
  • images of products are included (so customers know what they are about to purchase),
  • benefits and value for customers are outlined,
  • testimonials from existing clients prove the high quality,
  • there is a possibility to get a unique offer.

All of these elements make this landing page a great example of a well-planned and created teaser aimed at selling, perfect for e-commerce purposes. It’s nice, honest, and enticing for potential customers. Its call to action (CTA) does not encourage to subscribe but to get a unique quote and, in the end, make a purchase.

An example of a landing page aimed at generating leads

On the other hand, when you create a landing page for lead generation, first you will try to convert potentially interested visitors into leads, and only after thorough lead nurturing make them purchase your product or service.

The above example of a consulting landing page is an ideal candidate for lead generation purposes. Its main focus is not pushing for sales but making visitors subscribe.

Just like the previous one, it also entails testimonials or outlines benefits, but it doesn’t impose purchasing right away. It aims rather at inspiring trust and reliability. The landing page is neat, easy to navigate, concise and informative. It does tell the viewer a lot about the business, enough to make users subscribe, but not to overwhelm them with information.


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Therefore, it is a great example of an e-marketing landing page that uses a digital form for promotional purposes. Nevertheless, since it does not aim at selling, it does not fit into e-commerce landing page standards.

All in all, e-commerce and e-marketing are closely tight but they are not interchangeable. The main difference is that e-commerce is purely directed towards transactions while e-marketing is aimed at an overall promotion. Sometimes, their goals may overlap, but in most cases, they go towards different goals.


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