Electronic commerce or e-commerce involves all activities related to the buying and selling of goods and services over an electronic media. EComerce originally referred to the facilitation of commercial transactions carried out over an electronic media using technologies like EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer). Today over a period of four decades technology has advanced tremendously resulting in the present hype about ecommerce. From conventional goods and services to latest digital content, almost everything you require is available over the electronic media. At present, almost all big retailers have established their electronic presence through the World Wide Web. Commercial transactions through credit cards, Automated Teller machines (ATM), telephone banking, online shopping, etc are all e-commerce activities.
In 1979 Michael Aldrich invented online shopping.
But it was not until after Tim Berns Lee introduced the World Wide Web in 1990 that the idea could take off to greater heights. In 1994, PizzaHut became one of those initial firms to accept online orders. The web browser Mozilla was released and the first online bank was opened in the very same year. In the beginning, magazine subscription, flower delivery and adult materials were attempted to be made available through
online transactions. For the security of transactions Netscape 1.0 introduced SSL encryption. The next major development was the launch of Amazon.com in 1995. Later the same year eBay was founded by Pierre Omidyar. Within a period of 7yrs eBay grew up to acquire PayPal for .5 billion. Several other developments happened and many companies came to the forefront in the field.
There are certain interesting terms used in the context of ecommerce. B2B or business-to-business refers to electronic commerce between businesses. Companies such as Amazon.com conduct B2C or business-to-consumers, which refers to electronic commerce conducted between businesses and consumers. Consumer to business transactions are referred to as C2B and consumer to consumer transactions as C2C. Business-to-employee transactions are referred to as B2E. Online shopping refers to electronic commerce where the buyers, with the help of an intermediary website like eBay.com, are able to become directly online with the seller’s computer.
The internet economy is booming day by day and business models the world over are changing drastically with the advent of electronic commerce. Electronic gadgets, computer products, books, music, entertainment, apparel, ticket, etc are the most popular ecommerce products. The costs saved through virtual offices allow them to provide exciting offers that make online shopping all the more popular with competing prices. Hence the present hype about ecommerce. Whereas the US and UK are already leading in ecommerce, amongst the emerging countries China is expanding its ecommerce presence with 384 million Internet users. Today there are different types of companies that facilitate ecommerce. There are websites purely launched for this purpose without any previous existence as a firm. There are firms that have extended an online portfolio to their distribution channels. In fact, most of the businesses today have their own website and many of them either offer online shopping directly or are listed with ecommerce enabling websites. One may be sure that with the advent and advances of ecommerce, the commercial world is becoming flat too.