Both open innovation and e-commerce are major SMB trends. Here is the comparison:
Platforms: e-commerce wins
E-commerce is supported by a bigger range of more mature tools. E-commerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, and Prestashop allow easy set up of online shops while marketing platforms like Google Ads and Instagram are e-commerce focused. Open innovation is not supported by such range of tools, and marketing platforms are not optimized for an open cooperation with customers.
Revenue: open innovation wins
E-commerce is easier to set up and grows revenue immediately, but it is limited to switching old customers to new channels and entering new markets with old products. While e-commerce creates substantial growth if a company starts from a low point, it does little for a company with a developed revenue and presence, especially in B2B. Open innovation, on the other hand, creates huge leaps in revenue because it creates highly competitive innovations.
Cost: open innovation wins
E-commerce providers can trick companies with low cost entry level solutions which are actually insufficient. Real costs come later and are higher. E-commerce is mostly based on technology and it requires everything to function perfectly which is costly in both money and time. Open innovation is more of a soft human activity which requires small support from technology, and therefore costs less and is much easier to integrate in culture and processes.
Conclusion: open innovation 2:1 e-commerce
There is no real competition between open innovation and e-commerce. They do not exclude each other, but support each other. Company which uses open innovation will perform better in e-commerce, and a company which uses e-commerce will be better in open innovation. Do both.