What is eCommerce?

Definition: eCommerce is an abbreviation for “electronic commerce,” following the usual standard of adding an “e” to the beginning of a word to represent its electronic (i.e. online) counterpart (e.g. email). The term eCommerce refers to all types of commercial transactions conducted online, including online stores. This includes sales to consumers (Business-to-Consumer or B2C) as well as sales to other businesses (Business-to-Business or B2B).

The spelling of eCommerce is not standardized and can be written as Ecommerce, ecommerce, or e-commerce.

Examples of eCommerce

Common types of eCommerce include:

  • Online retail stores in which a customer can purchase an item and have it shipped to them (or alternately, download a digital product such as a music file or ebook)
  • Auction websites such as eBay in which consumers can bid on products within a time limit
  • Websites in which a customer can purchase a service to be rendered later (such as hiring a contractor)
  • Wholesale stores that serve other businesses by selling large volumes of products
  • Online marketplaces that allow users to sell their own products, such as Amazon

In short, eCommerce is any type of buying and selling online.

Benefits of eCommerce

Being able to do business on the internet has opened up a world of options to entrepreneurs everywhere. Store owners can serve a much wider audience, and can even do business globally, rather than being restricted to their own local areas. Online advertising and marketing is an integral part of eCommerce and serves to connect a business with potential customers across any distance.

Another benefit of eCommerce is the increased speed that results from using computers to handle transactions and other data transfers that formerly needed to be done manually. Online payment processors transfer all the relevant information within seconds, making buying online as seamless as possible. In fact, the speed of online shopping makes it the preferred choice for many consumers who want the most convenient shopping experience possible. Being able to buy needed items from home, without having to visit a brick-and-mortar store and wait in a line, is incredibly appealing to the majority of people, as is the ability to shop during any time of the day or night.

The same benefits apply to B2B eCommerce as well, and since B2B sales often involve massive amounts of products and information, the difference is often even more noticeable than in B2C eCommerce. The use of computers and the internet to handle B2B purchases significantly lightens the workload for both buyers and sellers.

eCommerce has shown fast growth across all types of industries and shows no signs of slowing down. Every day, more businesses open websites, and eCommerce is quickly becoming the dominant means of doing business.

 

See Also:

Brick-and-Mortar Location

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