E-Commerce & E-Procurement: What Are They And How They Differ

ecommerce and eprocurement

As technology in all its forms, including e-procurement, is helping us streamline many back-office operations, we’re witnessing new concepts and models emerge in the digital era. They take root so quickly that we don’t get the chance to fully understand what they mean, even though we’ve heard about them repeatedly.

E-commerce and e-procurement are the prime examples of this phenomenon, which we’ll discuss here below.

eprocurement for ecommerce


E-commerce is what we all do when we go on the internet to buy something. It’s the act of buying & selling services or goods online and transferring money and information to complete the transaction.

In the world of e-commerce, three unique systems factor in on every transaction:

1. A web server dedicated to managing an online store and processing transactions (connecting with bank servers to verify the buyer’s credit card details).

2. A database responsible for monitoring inventory (automatically making adjustments on goods, ordering from suppliers new batches of products that are running low).

3. A dispatch system connected to a warehouse (to identify orders, ship them to customers, etc.).


Like e-commerce, e-procurement is buying and selling goods or services online, but the difference is that only registered users are allowed to use the supplier’s system. Companies can utilize a cloud-based procurement management system to automate lengthy processes (like supplier evaluation & selection, managing contract documents, auctioning orders, etc.), freeing up capital and staff for other purposes.

In addition to improving procurement workflow by decentralization and user self-service, businesses can continuously monitor their purchasing behavior to prevent maverick spending, consolidate suppliers and connect with external supply chains.

The difference between e-procurement and e-commerce can be summed up in this table.

Finding ProductsNo, on an integrated platform.Yes
Configure PriceNo, on an integrated platform.Yes
Quote RequestYesYes
Quote-to-cash ProcessYesYes
Managing RequisitionsYesNo, on an integrated platform.
Managing Purchase OrdersYesNo, on an integrated platform.
Managing InvoiceYesYes
Processing PaymentYesYes
Processing ReturnsYesYes

Bottom Line

The continuous expansion of the digital world has radically changed our way of doing business. These two examples are just a thumbnail sketch of a massive revolution taken place in the last decade.

The growing popularity of cloud-based procurement platforms has helped many businesses free up their resources and avoid costly errors. There are reliable solutions, such as Penny’s E-Source, offering benefits tailored to your business needs. Feel free to contact us.  Our team of experts is ready and waiting to answer all of your questions and take a heavy burden off your shoulders.



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Frequently Asked Questions

Penny is a cloud-based Procure-To-Pay system. penny helps you digitize and manage your full procurement cycle from request to approval. Manage RFQs to vendors, compare quotations, send POs and even payment. penny was designed to make things easy and consolidate all of your organization’s spending needs into one intelligent system.

  • Allocate, manage and monitor budgets by expense accounts, projects, departments, location, teams..etc 
  • Streamlining procurement means requests, approvals, and POs won’t be lost in emails or offline.  
  • History and records of requests and purchases can be extracted and tracked easily via the platform. 
  • Product requests are more accurate through the catalog, and hence avoid purchasing mistakes.
  • Reports and analysis can be extracted from the platform, giving you a consolidated data center for all your procurement activities.
  • penny is cloud-based and an easy to use platform. The action-board gives your team a user-friendly and simple experience.

Yes, penny is designed to handle complex procurement operations. We make EVERYTHING simple. Via the contract management feature, you can set the terms and conditions of your contract, and the system will recognize the products and the vendors of your request and match it with specified terms of your contract. Easy.

Putting you in control of your spending is integral to our mission. penny allows you to create Expense Accounts that match your P&L, and assign budgets to them. For example, you can assign $X for your “Travel Budget” and reflect on the budget before approving a travel request. In addition, penny allows you to set budgets for cost centers like projects, departments, locations, and so much more. With penny, you can extract reports and view your spend per Expense Accounts or cost center.

Yes. If your product search finds no results, you can submit a non-standard request.

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