Nowadays, the number of people doing business online is growing on an exponential scale. This has led to an increase in interest in what online business models exactly are, and how they operate.   

Well, if you were to ask “what are the most preferred, more or less profitable online business models right now?” the ideas and suggestions would never end.

In the last few years, dozens of models appeared on the web, but let’s list them by “The 5 Most Popular Online Business Models”. Want even more guidance from successful entrepreneurs? Sign up for our EWOR Platform, where you can gain access to over 17 courses and many other valuable resources. 

Let us begin with WHY exactly doing business online has become so popular. 

E-BUSINESSES: Why are Businesses Shifting Online? 

The Value of Time: Nowadays, popular culture has made the concept of “time” an important aspect in determining the cost of doing business. People are also evaluating business models where they can manage their own time. 

They are making the calculated choice to maybe earn less and devote the saved time to spending more time for themselves. The Internet offers thousands of options on this matter.  

Remote working: There has been a lot of money-making opportunities after the pandemic hit. Many people have turned to the Internet for answers in these uncertain times. 

While e-commerce was born out of desperation for some, it became a huge success for many others.

Increase in personalisation: Having an online business allows businesses to raise the level of customer personalisation. In recent research findings from LivePerson, the global technology company showed that 96% of Americans are more likely to do business with a company that interacts with them in a personalized way.

There are plenty more reasons, but without further ado, let us jump into the 5 popular business models today: 

1. On-demand Business Model

The business model centres solely on the customer’s desires and their satisfaction when those needs are met. Grab, Baemin, Hotel Tonight, Uber, etc are typical examples of this model. 

In today’s fast-paced economy, this business model bases its success on factors like the speed of delivering results and solutions. This makes it a popular choice in times when people chase instant service. 

From the customer’s point of view, it might be very satisfactory, however, from the sellers’ point of view, it can be very challenging and demanding.

Bonus Tips

  • Consumers avoid complications. They want a solution with a few taps and clear instructions. Software and delivery issues that make it difficult for consumers to access the services push them to look for other choices. Optimise your apps with a real-time tracking option to enhance communication between users and delivery partners. 
  • Be consistent. Meeting expectations consistently will cement your trust and reliability with your customers. A happy clientele is built on providing timely delivery of orders and completion of tasks. 

2. Peer-to-Peer (p2p) Business Model

This business model is based on forming connections between individuals who have a service to offer and those who need that service. 

Once the mutual demand and supply are finalised, both the company decide to hold a meeting. It is mostly done through online databases and communication services. Typical examples are eBay, Airbnb, Fiverr, etc. 

Due to modern technology, the ability of people to engage in P2P economic activity has substantially increased. The Internet has spurred investment in service providers who are interested in making P2P transactions safer, more visible and more efficient, in spite of not manufacturing the product.

Bonus Tips

  • There are greater risks in the P2P since there is no third party involved in a transaction. For example, the provider may fail to deliver, the product will not be of the quality expected, or the buyer may not pay. 
  • Keep in mind that this risk can be prevented by reducing overhead costs and resulting in lower prices. 

3. E-commerce Business Model

The E-commerce model consists of suppliers bringing their products to an online platform and letting this platform distribute their products to potential buyers. 

On most e-commerce platforms, the risk for buyers is also somewhat reduced since they strictly manage distributors and have higher fees than peer-to-peer sites. Famous e-commerce platforms now are Amazon, Tesco, Walmart, Asos, Otto, etc.

It has many other sub-categories, namely: 

  • Business – to – Business (B2B) – It means selling its products to an intermediate buyer who then sells the product to the final customer.
  • Business-to-Consumer (B2C) – It sells its products directly to the customer. A customer can view the products shown on the website. After the order is chosen, it is dispatched by the seller.
  • Consumer – to – Consumer (C2C) – It helps consumers to sell their assets like residential property, cars, motorcycles, etc., or rent a room by publishing their information on the website. 
  • Consumer-to-Business (C2B) – It helps the consumer place an estimate of the amount he/she wants to spend for a particular service. 

4. Freemium Business Model

This business model is a hybrid model between Free and Premium. It dates back to the 1980s, though the term was coined in 2006. 

In this model, free products/services indefinitely are provided for a certain period. The catch is that it will be limited in features and experiences. 

Most mobile software/game companies now use this model and recently even Netflix switched to this model when it launched a free tier for all customers with a limited number of movie users.

Bonus Tip

 Freemium models are especially popular among software applications and internet-based businesses.

5. Subscription Business Model

Last but not least of the 5 popular business models is the “Subscription Business Model.” This model is usually when a brand offers the customers access to a product or service in return for an annual or monthly fee. This could be anything from a streaming service like Netflix or Spotify to a subscription box containing curated products. 

The businesses that are keen on this type of business model focus more on customer retention rather than customer acquisition. You leverage your customer relationships to create a steady stream of income.

Some benefits of the subscription model: 

  • They are convenient for your customers – they can discover new products. It also builds a seamless transaction of demand and supply customer experience.
  • Businesses can accurately predict revenue – it can help you have an accurate representation of your company’s resources. Keep it in mind when you are factoring budget into your business strategy! 
  • Subscriptions can attract customers and customer acquisition costs – Word-of-mouth marketing is proven to be more effective and less expensive than promotional advertising.


Thanks to more than 4 billion active internet users, the internet offers huge opportunities to earn money online. But keep in mind that the Internet is a highly competitive industry, so you need to work hard to be successful and earn money.

Good online business ideas are very important among the ways to make decent money online. Some ideas require more time, effort and, along with them, special abilities.

About the author

EWOR is a school conceived by Europe’s top professors, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders. We educate and mentor young innovators to launch successful businesses.

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