Electronic commerce (e-commerce, EC) describes the buying, selling, transferring or exchanging of products, services or information via computer networks, including the Internet.
E-commerce is a transaction of buying or selling online. Electronic commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), inventory management systems, and automated data collection systems. Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web for at least one part of the transaction’s life cycle although it may also use other technologies such as e-mail.
- Types of E-Commerce:
- Business-to-consumer (B2C): the sellers are organizations and the buyers are individuals.
- Business-to-business (B2B): both the sellers and buyers are business organizations. B2B represents the vast majority of e-commerce.
- Consumer-to-consumer (C2C): an individual sells products or services to other individuals.
- Business-to-employee (B2E): An organization uses e-commerce internally to provide information and services to its employees. Companies allow employees to manage their benefits, take training classes electronically; buy discounted insurance, travel packages, and event tickets.
- E-Government: the use of Internet Technology in general and e-commerce in particular to deliver information about public services to citizens (called Government-to-citizen [G2C EC]), business partners and suppliers (called government-to-business [G2B EC]).
- Mobile Commerce (m-commerce) refers to e-commerce that is conducted in a wireless environment. For example, using cell phone to shop over the Internet.
- E-Commerce Business Model
A business model is the method by which a company generates revenue to sustain itself.
- Online direct marketing: manufacturers or retailers sell directly to customers.
- Electronic tendering system: businesses (or governments) request quotes from suppliers; uses B2B (or G2B) with reverse auctions.
- Name-your-own-price: customers decide how much they want to pay.
- Find-the-best-price: customers specify a need and an intermediary compares providers and shows the lowest price.
- Affiliate marketing: Vendors ask partners to place logos or banners on partner’s site. If customers click on logo, go to vendor’s site, and buy, then vendor pays commission to partners.
- Viral marketing: receivers send information about your product to their friends.
- Group purchasing: small buyers aggregate demand to get a large volume; then the group conducts tendering or negotiates a lower price.
- Online auctions: companies run auctions of various types on the Internet.
- Product customization: customers use the Internet to self-configure products or services. Sellers then price them and fulfill them quickly.
- Deep discounters: company offers deep price discounts.
- Membership: only members can use the services provided.