top 5 ecommerce companies

It is no secret that ecommerce has exploded. It has truly come into its own and the industry has grown beyond the bounds of giants like Amazon. Today, many of the nation’s top retailers also rank as top ecommerce companies. From clothing to medications and supplements, technology to home furnishings, almost anything imaginable can be bought online and shipped right to a customer’s home. What are the Top 5 Ecommerce Companies?

top 5 ecommerce companies


Amazon doesn’t need any introduction. In 1994, Jeff Bezos founded the company  (the wealthiest man in the world) as a marketplace for books. From this humble beginning, Amazon has now become the highest revenue generating ecommerce company and arguably the world’s largest online conglomerate.

In 2017, Amazon generated $177.9 billion in net sales, and this is not just from selling books. Amazon has now grown into a full-fledged online store with a range of products including electronics, clothing, software, pet supplies, and of course, books.

amazon ecommerce companies

Amazon employes a whopping 566,000 personnel which is a lot more than Google and it’s direct competitor, eBay. This clearly reflects the size of this online store’s operations.

The company had incorporated a “growth at all cost” strategy which was to focus on top-line growth while letting go bottom line profits. Amazon saw a new level of leadership in its core retail business which escalated the company’s growth and made it one of the top 10 ecommerce companies in the world.

The thing about Amazon is that it didn’t become stationary once it achieved massive growth as an online retail business. The company started to branch out and introduced new services to further improve its business.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the second most profit making business for Amazon after its online store. It provides web hosting servers to website owners.

Amazon is also highly data-driven. The company extracts crucial data and analyzes it deeply to come up with newer, better products and services. According to research by Quartz, Amazon secretly launched 91 brands to sell on its marketplace.

With an annual revenue worth billions of dollars, hundreds and thousands of employees, and a filthy rich owner, Amazon is arguably the world’s largest ecommerce company which is why it leads to this particular list.

Fun Fact About Amazon

During Amazon’s early days, a bell used to ring after every sale. Later, they shunned the practice because the bell rang so frequently due to increase in sales and growth.


When it comes to top ecommerce companies, we simply cannot forget Ali Baba. Founded in 1999, this ecommerce giant originated from China.

Jack Ma started Alibaba to make it the biggest online wholesale marketplace. It not only caters to consumers, but also to retailers. Think of a product and chances are that Alibaba has multiple vendors offering that product in multiple versions. This is true for almost every product under the sun.

alibaba ecommerce companies

Alibaba also has other platforms like Aliexpress, Alipay and The company has an ecosystem in place with its variety of businesses.

For example, Alipay is an online payment service, just like Paypal and is now widely used for online shopping. is a content hub in China with several social media functionalities. Social media marketers often use this tool to stream content, share videos, and product reviews.

Alibaba’s sheer dominance in China, the third largest market in the world, is enough to include it in the list of top ecommerce companies. The company is now trying to get a foothold in the global market.

Fun Facts About Ali Baba

Ali Baba Had Farmers as Salesman

In the early stages, Alibaba didn’t have the funds to hire business graduates in their sales team. Jack Ma resorted to hiring farmers from the rural areas and gave them sales jobs which were a big step up for those young men.

The Ali Baba House

Ali Baba started from Jack Ma’s humble apartment in Hangzhou. The employees worked, ate, and slept in that apartment.


With headquarters in San Jose, California, eBay is one of the top ecommerce companies in the world. Founded in 1995, the company was one of the first successful dot-com-bubble survivors that revolutionized online shopping. That is why its logo has a red-blue-green-yellow combination.

The ecommerce platform provides a marketplace for C2C and B2C transactions. People can join and post their products for sale, for other people to see. eBay has a range of product categories which cover almost everything.

ebay ecommerce companies

What makes eBay so unique and one of the top 10 online companies in the world is its bidding feature. Interested parties can bid on a product and the highest bidder gets the product. Now you might be wondering how does eBay earn from its ecommerce operations if the product is not owned by the store.

Every sales transaction on the store nets ebay a little share in the sales amount. This little share accumulated to $9 billion of revenue in 2017.

To further grow its business, eBay has invested in Flipkart which is handling its operations in India. The company had also invested in PayPal in 2002 and maintained it till 2015 after which the parent company spun it off as a separate company.

Fun Fact About eBay

eBay was originally called ActionWeb. They decided to change the name to eBay because most people referred to the website as eBay ( because eBay was the parent company).

The first item listed on eBay was a broken laser pen. Founder, Pierre Omidyar, listed it on the website as a test run. Later a collector bought the pen for $14.83.


Jingdong is a must in any list of the top ecommerce companies. It operates out of Beijing, and given the rapid growth, many top ecommerce stores (including Alibaba) consider it a worthy rival. It started out in 1998, and in 2004 began online trading operations – almost six years later.

Although JD is not that big as compared to Ali Baba’s portfolio, it had more revenue in 2017 than Ali Baba’s ($15B more!). JD also has significantly more employees than Ali Baba. (JD has 137,000 and Ali Baba has around 65,000)

Renowned for its high tech delivery system, JD is a major leader in advanced product deliveries, using drones. They had recently decided to build 150 drone launch centers so that they can provide a more effective delivery system network in rural areas.

JD has also partnered up with Wal Mart which will further integrate their platforms, supply chains and resources in China.

Fun Fact About Jingdong

Jingdong is planning to create drone airports and control centers. They are working with scientists to develop drones that can carry weights up to 1 metric ton.


Zappos is an online shoe store that is extremely popular for its customer service. They are one of the top ecommerce companies with the best customer support in the world. The purpose of this company was to “WOW” its customers with exceptional customer service without any conditions.

Tony Hsieh founded Zappos in 1999. After getting no external funds and investments, he ended up investing $500,000 from his own pockets to launch the online store. He had only one objective in mind, to develop an online shoe store with the best customer service.

zapoos ecommerce companies

As part of their distinctive customer service, they don’t charge shipping, return cost or purchase cost. After the delivery, you can return the shoes if you don’t like them and you will get your money back.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon offered to buy Zappos for $1200 million in 2009 but Tony rejected. Tony wanted Zappos to operate as an independent entity and have its own identity, and become one of the top 10 ecommerce companies in the world.

Fun Fact About Zappos:

As part of its great customer service, Zappos always hires a candidate who is not only qualified but has exceptional character as well. Tony Hsieh once said that if a qualified candidate wasn’t selected, it could be, for example, because he wasn’t nice to Zappos shuttle bus driver.

Since customer service is the most important element of Zappos’ culture, every employee goes through training in the customer service department before taking up his or her main position.

Internet shopping: how to buy online

From concert tickets to washing machines, groceries to holidays, there’s bound to be a website that sells just what you want. If there’s a particular brand or store you like, you can go straight to their website or you can visit a shopping website such as eBay or Amazon, which carry broad ranges of new and second-hand items. If you’re a bargain hunter, you can use a price comparison site such as, which lists the websites that sell your product according to price

In this guide, we’re going to show you how to find a product online and make a transaction.

You’ll need:

  • a computer with an internet connection
  • a credit or debit card.

Follow these step-by-step instructions to learn how to buy online

Step 1: Search for a product using Google shopping

Type the name of the item you want to buy into the search box of a search engine such as Google – for example, ‘Roberts radio’ – and click Search or press enter on your keyboard.

You will see a range of websites, from actual department stores such as John Lewis to large websites simply devoted to shopping, such as Amazon. You can also use the Shopping option on Google itself. Clicking on this will give you items available based on product reviews and price. You can also ask only for results available in shops near to you by clicking on ‘Available nearby’.

image of google shopping

Step 2: Find an item you like using Google shopping

If you click on one of the suggested items you will see product details as well as details of the sellers available. Do bear in mind that these are sponsored by the merchants and there may be other sellers available in your area or online.

Step 3: Search via Google

If you’ve searched for a particular brand, you may also see the brand’s own website. Choose one of these websites and click on the link.

Step 4: Searching for and buying a product from a website

A new page will open, taking you to the website. You can now narrow down your search by typing in more specific details such as a model name (for example “revival”) in the search box, which is usually at the top right of the screen.

picture of roberts radio website

Then click on the magnifying glass in the top right hand corner. Some websites will have Go or Search next to the search box. Alternatively, you can click into a specific category (such as “Retro radios”) and browse until you find a product you like. Most websites will have a global navigation where you can explore the rest of the website this is normall located at the top of the web-page with drop down menus. 

We have clicked into “Retro radios” and a selection of matching products is now shown. Click on any of them to see more details. We have selected the Revival Mini.

Step 5: Adding a product to your basket

Many websites let you have a closer look at the product by hovering your mouse over the image. There are two boxes next to the image one to choose the quantity that you want to buy and one to choose the colour that you want.

buying a a radio form Roberts

Once you have chosen the amount and colour click on ADD TO BASKET. Doing this will save the details of this item until you’re ready to buy it, just as if you’ve popped something you want to buy into a real shopping basket. 

Step 6: Continue shopping or buy your product

You now have two choices either to Continue Shopping if you wanted to buy other items from this website or to click on Go To Cart and pay for the item you have chosen. 

continue shopping or go to cart buttons

Step 7: Checkout and pay

To pay for your item click on the Checkout button.

Some websites ask that you create an account; some give you a choice whether you want an account and some allow you to buy items without creating an account. If you intend using a site that gives you a choice on a regular basis then signing up for an account will make paying for items much quicker as your basic information is stored

Step 8: Create an account before you buy

On this website you have to create an account in order to buy your item. Click Create An Account.

Most websites will let you checkout as a guest.You can choose to create an account at a later time. 

create an account

Step 9: Finalise checking out

You will need to complete all the boxes marked with an asterisk such as your email, name and address. If the item you are buying is a gift then complete the box with the address of the person you are sending it to. Please note however that some websites will only send items to the same address as that of the bill payer so this might not be possible.

image of the checkout process

If the item is coming to you make sure there is a tick in this box to save having to enter information twice.

Don’t forget to tick this box too and then click on Continue To Next Step.

Next you will be given an opportunity to Review Your Purchase. This is your chance to make sure that you have ordered the item you want and the right quantity as well as given the correct name and address that the item is to go to.

If all is OK click on Continue To Next Step.

Finally, enter your credit or debit card details and any other information required. Click Confirm Card Details if you’re happy to make the payment.

At this point, you may be asked for another password if you’ve signed up for 3-D Secure, an added layer of security for online credit and debit card transactions. This includes Visa’s ‘Verified by Visa’ and MasterCard’s ‘SecureCode’. Once you’ve given the right password, your order will go through.

You should receive an email confirming that your order has been received. Retailers often send a second email once an item has been posted.

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