With the growth of the Internet community and the limitless possibilities the Internet gives to the single user, it didn't take long before someone realized that the World Wide Web is a really good place for the commercial entrepreneur. So, very quickly the online market was born, offering almost all kinds of goods to be purchased and delivered to your door. This new online sensation was called electronic commerce, or ecommerce.
E-commerce is a complex term referring to the process of selling and buying products and services over the Internet or other electronic systems. Considered as the sales aspect of the e-business, the electronic commerce has revolutionized trade as a routine activity for the contemporary man by bringing the marketplace to your home or the office, thus saving you time and efforts.
The development of e-commerce has given birth to new terms such as electronic funds transfer, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), Internet marketing, automated data collection systems, etc. They all designate certain key components of the sophisticated e-commerce system.
How does e-commerce work?
The majority of processes running within the e-commerce system are carried out on the World Wide Web. It is on the web where goods and services are presented through variously designed e-commerce websites to match the taste of a particular target audience. From there customers can order the desired items and pay for them in a variety of supported e-payment options such as credit cards, PayPal, etc. Certain e-commerce operations are executed via email as well. These may include sending order placement confirmations or electronic invoice notifications to the buyer's personal mailbox after a particular purchase.
Depending on the nature of the offered products and services, ecommerce operations may involve virtual and physical items. Due to the increasing use of the Internet in our daily lives, the percentage of the virtual items distributed through ecommerce is rapidly growing. These include services like buying admission to limited access websites or electronic versions of newspapers and magazines, online gaming, etc. Nevertheless, the majority of e-commerce transactions are still related to the purchase and transportation of physical items.
As far as the parties involved in the online transaction process are concerned, ecommerce can be thought of as being business-to-consumer, more popular as B2C, and business-to-business, also known as B2B. The B2C ecommerce, conducted between business entities and consumers, includes all online stores (e-shops) offering retail products and services to end customers such as flower stores, shoe stores, furniture stores, etc. The B2B commerce, on the other hand, takes place between business entities only, such as wholesalers and retailers, on not that widely popular web stores.
The impact of ecommerce
The rapid expansion of ecommerce has made it possible for almost all big retail companies to set up their own online stores with regularly updated content. Thus, it is now easier than ever to obtain an item from the latest collection of your favorite clothes brand, or be among the first to take advantage of a starting clearance campaign. Moreover, the ecommerce fashion is gradually 'infecting' smaller retail companies, which find it as a good chance to expand their reach to potential customers and increase the selling volumes. This trend is stimulated by the attractive low-cost ecommerce hosting services offered by different hosts on the web.
Setting up an ecommerce store
If you own a store, which you wish to take online, you probably went directly to this section of the article. Setting up a brand new ecommerce store can be quite hard and at the same time, quite easy. If you have experience in creating websites involving PHP and MySQL programming, then you will not have a problem to create the store from scratch. However, if you just want your store online with no additional hassle, then there is a way to do that, and it is called - e-commerce scripts.