E-Commerce – also known as Electronic Commerce – is the processing of sales transactions for goods or services made through electronic communications, such as the internet. Electronic commerce is generally considered to be the sales aspect of electronic business. It also consists of the exchange of data to facilitate the financing and payment aspects of the business transactions. Most of these transactions are completed automatically by online sales sites or by telephone order with personal or merchant business credit cards.
A sizeable percentage of e-commerce is conducted almost entirely electronically for services items such as user access to premium content on a website; however, most electronic e-commerce requires the transportation of physical items in some way to a purchaser.
Online retailers are sometimes known as e-tailers while, in turn, online retail is also known as e-tail. Almost all large retailer outlets additionally have electronic commerce presence online.
Originally, over thirty years ago in the late 1970′s, electronic commerce meant the facilitation of commercial transactions electronically, using technology such as Electronic Data Interchange and Electronic Funds Transfer, which allowed merchants to send commercial documents like invoices and purchase orders electronically. The growth and acceptance of credit ATM machines and telephone banking in the 1980s were also considered other forms of electronic commerce. By the early 1980′s, a small handful of companies – which specialized in selling electronic goods – were able to communicate sales information and close transactions via telephone modem communication before the official opening of the information super highway a few years later.
Although the internet became popular worldwide in the early 1990′s, another nearly half-dozen years passed before the introduction of security protocols and faster connections like DSL (which allowed continuous connection to the internet). By the turn of the millennium, a great number of Western businesses offered their services through the internet. Since that specific time period, e-commerce as a tern was associated with the ability to purchase various goods and services through the internet using secure protocols and electronic payment services.
Some common e-commerce communication methods include the following:
Accounting and finance systems; E-mail and messaging; Conferencing; Content Management Systems; Documents, spreadsheets, database; Domestic and international payment systems; Enterprise and client information reporting; Newsgroups; On-line Shopping; Orders and shipment information and Messaging.
Another example of e-commerce is online banking, such as online bill payments, buying stocks, transferring funds from one account to another and initiating wire payment to another location.
On the institutional level, large corporations and financial institutions use the internet to exchange substantial financial data in order to facilitate domestic and international business. Data integrity and security are pressing issues for electronic commerce.