E-commerce (electronic commerce or EC) is a broad term that refers to the purchasing and selling goods and services over electronic systems such as the Internet. The idea of ‘e- prefixes on words like ‘commerce’ may lead you to believe that e-commerce involves using computer networks to facilitate trade, but in practice, it can be challenging to draw a line between some types of online transactions and traditional face-to-face sales.
What is e-commerce?
E-commerce means buying or selling products or services electronically—over the internet, through a mobile device, etc. A more specific definition characterizes e-commerce as “non-face-to-face buying and selling of goods and services, typically via the internet and often via businesses owned and operated over the internet.”
Why do people buy online?
While some products are best sold through physical retail stores, many companies sell their products exclusively online. Online stores allow for low overhead costs—no need to pay employees or maintain inventory in a store. It also allows companies to reach a broader audience, as anyone with an internet connection can potentially access their site.
Lastly, e-commerce makes it much easier for consumers to search for specific items that they might not find locally. Popular reasons why people shop online include discounts, convenience, a wider selection of goods/services available, speed of delivery/shipment options, the ability to return items without driving anywhere, and competitive pricing.
How does e-commerce work?
Setting up an online store isn’t tricky; many sites offer free (or low-cost) templates for basic e-store fronts. Setting up an account with a custom domain—a customized web address like “yourname.com”—can be done in less than ten minutes and costs very little money depending on the provider. How you go about getting your goods to consumers depends on how you set up your business—in some cases, companies will ship their products directly from warehouses or other distribution centers. In contrast, others will use third-party shipping partners like UPS or FedEx say RemoteDBA.com experts.
Where did e-commerce come from?
The origins of E-commerce can be traced back to computer-based systems which required users to fill out detailed forms before receiving information. The first auction website, which is believed to have facilitated the first transaction for $14, was reportedly not far from where the Declaration of Independence was signed.
Many people trace the origins of online sales back to 1994 when Netscape Navigator—the first popular web browser allowing people to use the internet on desktop computers—was released. This gave rise to an explosion in e-commerce websites that will enable consumers to shop and read product reviews via the World Wide Web. Many large retailers adopted online shopping carts, allowing customers to make purchases without having to manually fill out order forms or other types of tedious requests.
What are the most popular e-commerce platforms?
A few of the most prevalent e-commerce platforms include eBay, Etsy, Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and Amazon. There are also several leading payment processors used by online merchants, including PayPal and Stripe. Most online retailing is done on marketplaces like these, where companies sell their products directly to consumers.
How does e-commerce affect local economies?
E-commerce often has a massive impact on local economies—while some studies conclude that it can be more detrimental than helpful in some cases (i.e., if large corporations open up warehouses in areas with lower costs of living), others indicate how important it can be for creating new jobs and filling vacancies. When sales shift from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to e-commerce platforms, the local economy might benefit from increased warehouse jobs. E-commerce is sometimes viewed as a gateway for suburban areas to become more urbanized with increased population density and less dependence on automobiles.
What are some limitations of e-commerce?
Technology can often create false expectations of efficiency—in some cases, people will choose online retailers over their local equivalents, even if it means waiting longer to receive shipments or driving out of their way to pick up items they purchased online. Some products are difficult or impossible to buy online (like groceries at the supermarket), although there may be third-party delivery services that could have these products delivered directly to customers’ homes.
What are some benefits of e-commerce?
Many consumers appreciate the convenience of online shopping—an internet connection, a computer or mobile phone, and some payment methods are often all they need to find new items or information about them. Relative-commerce enables this group of people to sell their products directly to consumers worldwide, giving them more freedom than traditional retail businesses that have had to adapt to changing times. It’s also relatively easy for entrepreneurs already familiar with conducting business online to start an e-commerce storefront without assistance from third parties.
For example, the grocery store chain FreshDirect had more than $1 billion in sales in 2015. Another example is Amazon, an online retail giant that initially started as a platform for people to sell books and other items directly to consumers.
What are the most popular e-commerce platforms?
The most popular e-commerce platforms include eBay, Etsy, Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and Amazon. There are also several leading payment processors used by online merchants, including PayPal and Stripe. Most online retailing is done on marketplaces like these, where companies sell their products directly to consumers. How does e-commerce affect local economies? E-commerce often has a massive impact on local economies – while some studies conclude that it can be more detrimental than helpful in some cases (i.e., areas already struggling economically), the overall benefits of e-commerce often outweigh its detriments.
In most cases, e-commerce can allow consumers to purchase items from companies located in a different region, even if they’re located across the world (1). It can be helpful for creating new jobs and filling vacancies when sales shift from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to e-commerce platforms (2). E-commerce is also sometimes viewed as a gateway for suburban areas to become more urbanized with increased population density and less dependence on automobiles (3). What are some limitations of e-commerce? Technology can often create false expectations of efficiency – in some cases, people will choose online retailers over their local equivalents, even if it means
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