What is E-Commerce?
"E-commerce is short for "electronic commerce."
E-commerce refers to the process of transacting or facilitating business on the Internet. It involves buying and selling goods and services online, but it's not limited to these activities alone. Any transaction that takes place electronically falls under the umbrella of e-commerce.
Examples of E-commerce...
E-commerce is a popular way of buying and selling goods on the Internet. Online storefronts created by sellers are equivalent to retail outlets. Buyers can browse and purchase products with just a few mouse clicks. While Amazon.com wasn't the first platform for online shopping, it is undoubtedly the most renowned destination for online shoppers.
When you shop online, paying for your purchases requires an online payment system, which can be facilitated by payment processors and payment gateways.
Electronic payments eliminate the inefficiencies and potential risks associated with writing and mailing checks, as well as the safety concerns that arise when using cash.
When you think online auction, you think eBay. Physical auctions predate online auctions, but the Internet made auctions accessible to a large number of buyers and sellers. Online auctions are an efficient mechanism for price discovery. Many buyers find the auction shopping mechanism much more interesting than regular storefront shopping.
Today it is possible for you to perform the entire gamut of banking operations without visiting a physical bank branch. Interfacing of websites with bank accounts, and by extension credit cards, was the biggest driver of e-commerce.
Air tickets, movie tickets, train tickets, play tickets, tickets to sporting events, and just about any kind of tickets can be booked online. Online ticketing does away with the need to queue up at ticket counters.
Types of E-commerce
E-commerce can be classified based on the type of participants in the transaction:
Business to Business (B2B)
B2B e-commerce transactions are those where both the transacting parties are businesses, e.g., manufacturers, traders, retailers, and the like.
Business to Consumer (B2C)
When businesses sell electronically to end-consumers, it is called B2C e-commerce.
Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
Some of the earliest transactions in the global economic system involved barter -- a type of C2C transaction. But C2C transactions were virtually non-existent in recent times until the advent of e-commerce. Auction sites are a good example of C2C e-commerce.
Benefits of E-commerce
The primary benefits of e-commerce revolve around the fact that it eliminates limitations of time and geographical distance. In the process, e-commerce usually streamlines operations and lowers costs.
Specialized Forms of E-commerce
On some platforms, e-commerce has shown the promise of explosive growth. Two such examples are:
M-commerce is short for "mobile commerce." The rapid penetration of mobile devices with Internet access has opened new avenues of e-commerce for retailers.
F-commerce is short for "Facebook commerce." The immense popularity of Facebook provides a captive audience to transact business.