Gone are the days of the conventional selling or buying methods when you would go to a shop for buying or selling. With the advent of the internet, has arrived electronic banking, electronic marketing, and electronic commerce or e-commerce.

e-banking has changed the concept of banking altogether so much so that you do not have to visit the bank at all – except for some odd transaction or to execute documents that need your signature. All your banking transactions can be done through the internet – via your computer or your mobile phone. Electronic commerce or e-commerce which is also known as e-comm. has gone a step further and brought buying and selling to your doorstep, no, your table. It is the buying or selling of products or services through the electronic systems such as the internet or other computer networks. E-commerce uses all or any of the technologies such as electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, internet marketing, electronic data interchange, inventory management systems, and data collection systems to complete its transaction cycle.

e-commerce is in itself a broad term for selling, electronically on the internet, through a website. With the ability to process credit cards electronically on the internet, just about anything – the sky is the limit – can be sold on the web. More and more people are buying online and enjoying the benefits of convenience and highly competitive prices. You will find that online stores are able to sell products at a highly reduced price. That is because online stores are able to eliminate overheads such as employees and and the rent of a brick and mortar store. You will find that in this highly changing world, convenience tops everything. And, shipping has become so fast now that when you order an item online you will find it at your doorstep the next morning.

e-commerce websites are different, but they all do the same type of function and they have the ability to accept credit or debit cards which is very essential for e-commerce. When you make a payment through a credit or debit card, it is processed through a highly secure payment gateway company that works in tandem with these credit card companies and you can be sure that these transactions are processed very securely.

Do you get the impression that you do not understand e-commerce at all and all those transactions are Greek and Latin to you?. If your answer is ‘Yes’, then this article will help you out by exposing you to the entire gamut of e-commerce. Here is how e-commerce works. The basic idea is that a product or service has to be sold and there should be an exchange for value. When one party is paying money, the other party has to provide a product or service. You can buy practically everything that is available in a brick-and-mortar store – books, automobiles, grocery, toys, apparel, and gadgets. e-commerce can also be very useful in purchasing books and software apart from helping you to make travel and stay arrangements.

When you enter a e-commerce website and decide on the product or service that you would like to acquire, your order passes through a process that is run by a software called a shopping cart. The shopping cart also helps you go through other tasks such as:

  • Calculation of taxes and other levies
  • Capturing the invoice, billing, and confirming the delivery address of the customer
  • Ensuring that user terms and conditions are adhered to
  • Processing of discounts and other coupons
  • Tracking of order numbers
Types of e-commerce

E-commerce can be divided into four main categories: B2B, B2C, C2B, and C2C.
B2B (Business-to-Business)
Companies that are doing business with each other such as manufacturers selling to distributors or wholesalers selling to retailers.
B2C (Business-to-Consumer)
Most of the businesses sell to the general public through catalogues utilizing shopping cart software.
C2B (Consumer-to-Business)
e-commerce empowers consumers around the world by providing the meeting ground and platform for mutual transactions.
C2C (Consumer-to-Consumer)

You will find many sites that offer free classifieds, auctions, and forums where individuals can buy and sell through online payment systems like PayPal.

Entrepreneurial Learning:

E-commerce replaces conventional shopping with a medium that lets users view goods and services from the comfort of their homes through a click of a mouse button.

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