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Internet sales

What is online commerce? Online commerce, also known as electronic commerce or e-commerce, is the sale of products or services through different electronic media, whether websites or social networks.

The majority of sales and purchases that take place electronically are between individuals and companies and, although they tend to involve physical products and services, there is also a high percentage of virtual items (software, applications, access to premium content, etc.).

It is a booming business, as shown by the following data from 2017; internationally, two million people carried out this type of transaction, with an annual growth of 23.4%. Likewise, at national level, e-commerce turnover in Spain has increased in the second quarter of 2018 by 27.2% year-on-year to reach 9,333 million euros. The sectors with the highest number of transactions were gambling and betting and land passenger transport. More importantly, almost half of internet users made an online purchase in the first half of 2018 (according to data from the CNMV).

The most recent data provided by the CNMV is from the second quarter of 2018:

Number of transactions
From Spain to the outside world 93.645.457
From abroad with Spain 13.424.823
Within Spain 52.136.631
TOTAL 159.206.911


Why is it a good line of business for companies? It offers significant advantages and opportunities over traditional sales, a few of which are outlined below:

  • The most obvious is that you can access the purchase of the company's products/services from any place and at any time of the day, therefore, it means a huge extension of the public that can be reached, as well as 24 hours a day, every day.
  • Generally speaking, it allows the company to reduce costs, such as personnel, administration, production, among others. Especially in the case of information service providers, digital products... the cost of distribution is completely dispensable, since the products can be delivered to the customer immediately, without any kind of intermediary.
  • It allows to improve the communication between the company and the customers, allowing on the one hand that the company can inform about its products/services through the web page, as well as any other type of information about the company. On the user side, it allows a better and easier fedback on the products/services, it is possible to give immediate support to the customer.

What types of e-commerce can we find?

  1. B2B: business to business, or business to business.
  2. B2C: business to consumer. This will be the most common among SMEs.
  3. B2E: business to employee(usually a portal where employees can use company resources).
  4. C2C: consumer to consumer(second-hand products, usually lower prices).
  5. G2C: government to consumer.

What are the legal requirements to take into account? There are a series of legal requirements to take into account when a company decides to start operating electronically in order to avoid exposure to sanctions. The rules surrounding e-commerce are very broad and diverse, in a schematic and non-exhaustive way, it is worth bearing in mind that:

  • Regulations governing the incorporation and operation of companies (Capital Companies Act, Regulations of the Commercial Register, relevant tax and labour legislation, etc.).
  • Data protection regulations (European Data Protection Regulation, as well as the new Organic Law on the Protection of Personal Data and Guarantee of Digital Rights).
  • Regulations relating to the defence and protection of consumers (Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users).
  • Regulations specific to electronic commerce (for those companies established in Spain, the Law on Information Society Services and Electronic Commerce).
  • Advertising regulations (General Advertising Act and Unfair Competition Act).
  • Regulations specific to the sector or type of business concerned.

What are the most common claims that companies face? The most common claims are related to the delivery of orders, product return processes, data protection violations or even misleading advertising. It is also important to bear in mind the taxation to which this type of transaction is subject (tariffs when sending products abroad, for example), as the Tax Agency pays special attention to these cases.