E-commerce is simply the act of electronically purchasing or selling goods over the Internet or via online facilities. Today, there are more than one thousand E-commerce websites online that facilitate purchases for consumers, buyers and sellers. E-commerce also involves the facilitation of financial transactions between individuals and organizations. There are E-commerce websites that allow people to post auctions; sell products; buy products; and manage their financial accounts through secure web applications. Furthermore, there are also E-commerce websites that allow the buyers and sellers to come together directly to negotiate and finalize the contract and to sign documents, electronically.
There are E-commerce websites that provide a platform for b2c interactions between consumers and merchants. Through such interactive exchanges, buyers are able to compare and contrast products and prices from different vendors while b2c interactions help buyers and sellers establish business relationships. B2c transactions involve both virtual and actual worlds. Thus, real-time interaction with virtual markets and vendors is made possible through E-commerce.
E-commerce can be defined as a system in which goods and services are bought or sold over the Internet with the participation of the consumer and through the use of E-commerce transaction software or computer software. This system was widely popularized by eBay and has since then established its reputation as the largest and most popular marketplace in terms of total volume of sales. E-commerce offers numerous benefits for both consumers and sellers. For consumers, it allows them to purchase goods at competitive rates and from anywhere, at any time. Consumers can also choose to make cash purchases or use E-checks to pay for their purchases. For sellers, E-commerce provides a flexible business model in which they can accept payments online or through physical stores, giving them increased access to a larger customer base and enhanced profit margins.
E-commerce can be categorized into two main types – electronic commerce or m-commerce. Electronic commerce is comprised of E-commerce, such as eBay, Amazon, Overstock, and others, as well as online payments such as PayPal, Google checkout, and others. Electronic commerce includes tasks such as accepting credit cards, providing online catalogs and catalog delivery, and accepting and making payments through E-mail. M-commerce, on the other hand, consists of business transactions performed through phone or personal service instead of electronic commerce. Examples include auto insurance sales, real estate appraisals, utility companies, and others.
Both electronic commerce and m-commerce can involve complex business transactions. These include payment processing, which can include credit cards, debit cards, e-checks, PayPal, and others. E-commerce businesses may also require a lot of information from consumers such as their names and email addresses, as well as detailed descriptions of the items or services they wish to buy. Furthermore, because most transactions are conducted via E-commerce, consumers need to be able to interact with each other through instant messaging, social networking, and other tools that are readily available on most cell phones.
E-commerce websites have significantly increased the average wait time for consumers for receiving their products. Although some e-commerce sites do provide a better return on consumer investment by providing inventory, improved customer service, and better prices, these same factors can make it more difficult for consumers to wait in line at a physical store. This can lead to lost sales, fewer consumer purchases, and overall losses in profit due to the increased wait time.
M-commerce sites, however, have the potential to greatly improve the quality of business transactions. An example of this would be PayPal, which has no charge to consumers when sending money to friends or family via electronic commerce. A website such as ClickBank, which offers a wide variety of digital products including games, software, videos, wallpaper, music, and images, allows its customers to pay for the digital products they choose without having to wait in line at a store. Other examples of this would be CPA Networks, which offer advertising credits to businesses and consumers alike, and Adient, which provide businesses with digital customer support services. Both of these websites also have the potential to increase sales and profits because of their ease of accessibility to consumers.
With the popularity of many e-commerce sites, it is no surprise that consumers are apprehensive about conducting business through these websites. However, with the increase of merchant adoption, consumers are now able to conduct electronic transactions with companies anywhere they have internet access. This makes it possible for people to place orders from anywhere, which means they can place orders for items they want to have today, but not be able to get in until the item is available at the store they want to buy it at. While e-commerce sites continue to decrease the average wait time for consumers for receiving their purchased items, the merchants who use them are making it easier for consumers to pay for their merchandise.