E-tailing (etailing, eTailing, e-retailing)

Eradium omnichannel glossary e-tailing

E-tailing (etailing, eTailing, e-retailing)

e-tailing or e-retailing refers to the selling of retail goods electronically over the Internet. The term is a short form for “electronic retailing”, and surfaced in the 1990s for being frequently used over the Internet. The term is an inevitable addition to other similar terms such as e-business, e-mail, and e-commerce. E-tailing usually refers to the business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions. (1)

Different e-tailing models jostle for attention

The soaring popularity of online shopping has disrupted the already fierce competition among retailers. In recent years, many new Internet startups have begun to challenge the status quo of more established chain stores and big-box retailers. After initially offering short-term sales deals, these so-called “flash sales” bargain sites have matured into a flourishing and diverse e-tailing sector.

For example, Zulily — an e-tailing site aimed mostly at moms and families — went public in a stock IPO late last year. Zulily’s share price peaked at $73.50 in March, but it has since fallen back to around $37 per share in recent months. Wayfair, a specialist in branded home furnishings, filed for its own IPO on August 15, with a target to raise $350 million. Competitor Gilt.com also signaled plans to go public later this year, but so far Gilt has not made a formal IPO announcement.

Some media outlets have reported that Gilt has an interest in acquiring Rue La La, which received early funding from eBay. Another rival named Ideeli was acquired by Groupon Goods for $43 million in January.

Several former “flash sales” sites haven’t fared so well. One Kings Lane, which specializes in home décor items, cut 15 percent of its staff in June. Those cuts came after major layoffs in May at Fab.com, which is known for its focus on design products.
As a result of these ongoing market struggles, several distinct e-tailing business models are jostling for the attention of shoppers and investors. (2)


  1. e-Tailing and Multi-Channel Retailing, http://www.dmsretail.com/etailing.htm
  2. Market Strategies Diverging for E-Commerce Retailers, http://sandhill.com/article/market-strategies-diverging-for-e-commerce-retailers/