So much of what we do in this day and age involves electronic equipment. From the moment we wake up we start using electronic gadgets, we use the toaster or hair-dryer, MP3 players as we travel to work, a computer at work, we watch the TV at night time and so on and so on. For the most part, electronic equipment really aids our day to day business and no more so than with the words on everyone’s lips at the moment – e-commerce.
If you use a computer on a daily basis then it is highly likely that you already use e-commerce software, perhaps without knowing you do. To put it in the most simple terms, e-commerce is the buying and selling of products, including services, over electronic systems. Normally this means the internet, but it can also be done over other computer networks.
You will be aware of the widespread use of the internet, which has also made its influence felt in trade and commerce. The amount of trade that happens electronically has grown by a significant amount. In order for the concept of e-commerce to work it relies on a number of other things, which include electronic fund transfers, internet marketing and online transaction processing to name but a few.
When we talk about buying and selling things, we aren’t actually just referring to physical products. You may be surprised to learn that a large percentage of the e-commerce that takes places is actually for virtual items, including things such as website domains. Of course, for anyone who’s bought something from Amazon, we all know that physical products are also bought and sold a lot online. You will notice that pretty much all of your favorite high street shops also have an e-commerce outlet. Online retailers like this are often known as e-tailors.
For the general public, e-commerce has made a big difference to the way we purchase things. It clearly makes life a lot easier for us if we know that we can buy what we need while sitting at a computer, without having to find the time to get out and about. Even farmers in the remote wilds of Iceland, who previously had no access to the consumer delights that most of us enjoy, have been known to exclaim, “What an amazing thing this internet is. I can order anything I like and a few months later it turns up at my door!” We may not have to wait so long for our parcels to wing their way to our doors, but e-commerce has still revolutionized retail.
A lot of e-commerce also takes place between businesses and when this occurs it is known as B2B, or business-to-business commerce. This is what a company like Amazon.com uses when it buys its stock for the warehouses.
So, as you can see e-commerce is a big part of all of our lives and is a very accessible idea that we all use daily, sometimes without even knowing it.