What is ECommerce?

Understanding e-commerce & e-commerce Store front

E-Commerce is conducting commerce online via a website storefront. An E-Commerce storefront is a website on the internet where a company displays it products and services, their pricing and discounts and enables buyers to place orders and make payment online. Delivery of goods and services may be done electronically or in physical form depending upon the nature of the goods and services.

Ecommerce can further extend to cover a much wider gamut of business activities, viz. E-Business. Let us understand each of the two terms more closely...

What is E-Commerce?

E-Commerce or Electronic Commerce, is the buying and selling of products and services using the electronic route where buyers and sellers are connected to each other via an electronic network and communicate with each other electronically to finish a business deal and subsequently seller provides facilities to the buyer to pay electronically. The advent of the Internet and facilitating technologies such as electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, etc. have made e-commerce possible.

So, essentially, e-commerce entails conducting of business electronically. The traditional method of conducting business involves physical interaction between buyer and seller and exchange of business documents and money in physical forms. Whereas, in e-commerce, the buyer and seller may never meet, may never see each other and may never even talk to each other, and yet conduct business. The seller sets up an e-commerce website to showcase his products and services. Buyers visit the seller's website and are provided with a user-friendly step-by-step system for choosing and buying products/services online. This is a cost-effective method of conducting business and the advantages are several - significant among them being - an increased market reach and reduced cost of doing business.

One often hears about terms like B2B, B2C, etc. When the buying and selling takes place amongst business entities, i.e. both buyer and seller are business establishments, such an e-commerce is termed as B2B. Whereas, when the buyer is an individual customer, the e-commerce is termed as B2C. In practice, any e-commerce website would facilitate both B2B and B2C e-commerce, since buyers need not necessarily be individuals alone.

What is E-Business?

Electronic Business, commonly referred to as eBusiness or e-Business, may be defined as the utilization of information and communication technologies (ICT) in support of all the activities of business. While eCommerce constitutes the exchange of products and services between businesses and individuals, eBusiness has a much wider perspective. E-Business covers a wider gamut of business activities to enable the external activities and relationships of the business with individuals, groups and other businesses.

Electronic business methods enable companies to link their internal and external data processing systems more efficiently and flexibly, to work more closely with suppliers and partners, and to better satisfy the needs and expectations of their customers.

In practice, e-business is more than just e-commerce. While e-business refers to more strategic focus with an emphasis on the functions that occur using electronic capabilities, e-commerce is a subset of an overall e-business strategy. E-commerce seeks to add revenue streams using the World Wide Web or the Internet to build and enhance relationships with clients and partners and to improve efficiency.

E-business involves business processes spanning the entire value chain: electronic purchasing and supply chain management, processing orders electronically, handling customer service, and cooperating with business partners. Special technical standards for e-business facilitate the exchange of data between companies. E-business software solutions allow the integration of intra and inter firm business processes. E-business can be conducted using the Web, the Internet, intranets, extranets, or any combination of these.