Learn about electronic commerce. Ecommerce (electronic commerce, or EC) is the buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network, primarily the internet. These transactions occur in three major functional areas;—business-to-business, business-to-consumer, and consumer-to-consumer.
- [Instructor] E-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services or the transmitting of funds or data over the electronic network or the internet. These business transactions occur either as business to business, business to consumer, or consumer to consumer. The terms electronic commerce, e-commerce, e-business, and e-service all can be used interchangeably. E-commerce actually began back in the 1960s.
It came about when businesses started using electronic data exchange or EDI to share business documents with other companies. One of the first electronic exchanges was email. It was very crude compared to today's standards and features. Nevertheless, we were communicating electronically rather than snail mail or the postal service. We were starting the revolution of a paperless environment. I remember back in the early 1980s when email really started taking off with companies such as Microsoft which had MS Mail and the infamous America Online or AOL.
People were signing up with AOL by the thousands. The company could not handle the volume of account requests nor did they have the infrastructure to support it as it was growing so rapidly. Back them email was used as a secondary means of communication, meaning you sent someone an email because it was not urgent and the expectation was that when the recipient had some time in their busy schedule they would read your email and respond accordingly. Wow, has that changed since then.
Now, email and instant messaging is the primary means of communication and the expectation by many managers and employers is that the minute you receive the email you are to read it and respond immediately. Now, they may not say this openly, but don't answer an email in a very short period of time and you will get a phone call with the infamous question, "Did you get my email?" After that they will tell you the time they sent it and then will probably resend it while they are on the phone with you so that it will be in the top of your inbox.
I actually had one boss that used to crack me up. He would send me an email, then call me immediately, and ask if I had received his email, then had me open it where he would then proceed to read it to me. Anyway, as businesses and people began sharing email and electronic documents in the 1980s, eBay and Amazon took e-commerce to a whole different level in the 1990s. This is what we call in the industry as a technology flashpoint, meaning there is a major change in technology or the use of technology just as the automobile industry started the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
Consumers can shop and purchase basically any type of product off of the internet and never have to leave their home. Today, this is becoming the norm with a number of smartphones and other mobile devices. Some estimates are showing that the use of smartphones account for 40% of e-commerce transactions. E-commerce consists of a variety of applications. For examples email, online catalogs, shopping carts, electronic data transfer, and web services. This includes business to business activities and outreach such as using email for unsolicited ads, what some call spam, e-newsletters, digital coupons, targeted advertisements such as vacation getaways, dining advertisements, concert tickets, and such, just about anything you can imagine.
Now, that we have a clear understanding of what e-commerce is and its history, let's next explore the advantages of e-commerce.
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