Digitization has long since arrived in companies too. There is hardly any business that is only run in a purely analogue manner. Nevertheless, many organizations still have difficulties implementing digital change as advantageously as possible and adapting to the new requirements. In the context of technological progress, the business model should be assigned more importance than ever before, since digital business models in particular are increasingly becoming a key factor for economic success. For this reason, we would like to introduce you to the various options for digital business models in more detail in this article.

What are digital business models anyway?

There is currently no uniform definition for digital business models. Instead, the digital business model has so far been viewed as a technological modification of the classic business model. People like to talk about transactions that are processed using digital technology, for example when you watch a film from home on Netflix or Amazon instead of going to the video library to borrow it.
Basically, digital business models are a digital service that can be accessed via an online-based system.

Forms of digital business models

A distinction is made between a number of options for realizing a digital business model. We would now like to introduce you to the 6 most popular options below.


E-commerce in the form of online shops is probably one of the best-known of all digital business models. The otherwise analogue operation of selling products is simply transferred to the online world, which means that the reach of a company and, associated with it, the customer base experience enormous growth. Especially in the case of large e-commerce giants like Zalando, the importance of a digital business model increases significantly in the course of competitiveness, especially for small and medium-sized ones.


In contrast to e-commerce, platforms do not rely on the sale of products, but rather define themselves through their reach by offering a marketplace for supply and demand, such as B. Come together in the form of comparison portals.


With the freemium model, companies first offer their customers a free basic version of their product, which can be expanded using a paid premium version, extension or an ad-free version. Companies benefit from the possibility of being able to build up a large customer base quickly, while customers enjoy the freedom to decide whether to purchase an extension themselves.


The subscription model is currently very well known through platforms such as Netflix, where the user pays a fixed monthly amount for the service and in return has unlimited access to the service. Companies benefit from stable sales figures, but also require good quality assurance. Thanks to the digital change, the option can be expanded almost infinitely online and customers can always be offered completely new user experiences.


Not every user is convinced of the subscription model. Subscriptions are more of a thorn in the side of many users because they do not want to be tied for the long term. With the pay-per-use principle, however, the customer only pays for the actual use, instead of a fixed monthly fee. This makes sales difficult to calculate, but it is very popular with customers.


Digitization has led to a real hype about online-based auctions. Hardly anyone has not used platforms like eBay as a seller or buyer and the number of users is still extremely high. The model is also relatively easy to implement, since companies like Ebay reserve part of their salespeople’s profits as commission.

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