What is E-commerce?
E-Commerce, also known as electronic commerce or internet commerce, refers to the buying and selling of goods or services using the internet, and the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions.
Moreover, ecommerce refers to the sharing of business information, maintenance of business relationships and conducting business transactions with the help of computers that are connected to a telecommunication network, and without the use of paper documents.
We can classify E Commerce by application into:
- Electronic markets- Here the consumer can choose from a wide range of products and services available in the market which makes it easy for him to compare prices for better purchase options.
- Internet Commerce- its the most common and widely used, it is used to advertise and sell unlimited products and services. Then the purchased products are sent to the buyers address.
- Electronic Data Interchange- Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the electronic interchange of business information using a standardized format; a process which allows one company to send information to another company electronically rather than with paper. Business entities conducting business electronically are called trading partners.
Ecommerce is used in various business fields; the major categories of e commerce are:
- Business to Consumer
- Business to Business
- Business to Administration
- Customer to Customer
Some common applications of E Commerce;
Online Marketing: It’s about gathering of data about consumer behaviors, preferences, needs, buying patterns, etc. It supports various marketing activities like fixing price, negotiating, enhancing product features, and building strong customer relationships because this data can be used to provide customer with a smooth and enhanced purchasing experience.
Finance: E-commerce is being significantly used by the banks and other financial institutions. We can check account balances, transfer money to other accounts, pay bills, pay insurance premiums etc. We can also trade in stocks online and can get information about stocks to trade by analyst ratings of companies.
Manufacturing: E-commerce also includes surprise chain operations. Some companies easily form a group and create an electronic exchange and facilitate the purchase and sale of goods, exchange of market information, back office information like inventory control, and so on. This creates an easy flow of raw materials and finished products among the member companies.
Online Booking: It is again most widely used by every single one of us to book hotels, holidays, airline tickets, travel insurance, etc. These bookings and reservations are made possible through an internet booking engine or IBE. It is used by tour operation and hotel industry.
Online Publishing: Digital publication of books, magazines, catalogues, and developing digital libraries are all included under this section.
Digital Advertising: Online advertising is a concept of using internet for promotion of something to the audience. The content is shown in the form of ads and the viewer integrates ads into online content. Different types of ads include banner ads, social media ads, search engine marketing, retargeting, pop-up ads, and so on.
Some common E-commerce platforms are:
- Magento: Magento is an ecommerce platform built on open source technology which provides online merchants with a flexible shopping cart system, as well as control over the look, content and functionality of their online store.
- WooCommerce: WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce plugin for WordPress. It is designed for small to large-sized online merchants using WordPress. Launched on September 27, 2011, the plugin quickly became popular for its simplicity to install and customize and free base product.
- PrestaShop: PrestaShop is an immensely feature-rich, free, open-source e-commerce solution which you can use to run stores in the cloud or via self-hosting. It’s currently used by 250,000 shops worldwide and is available in 65 different languages.
- OpenCart: OpenCart is an online store management system. It is PHP-based, using a MySQL database and HTML components. Support is provided for different languages and currencies. It is freely available under the GNU General Public License. By May 2016, 342,000 websites were using OpenCart.