The definition of e-commerce includes but is not limited to the buying and selling of goods or services through the Internet. Businesses are able to sell to other businesses or directly to consumers over the web, thus reaching clients and customers on a global scale. Most people associate e-commerce with websites like Amazon, which is a business selling products to consumers. Actually e-commerce encompasses any kind of transaction that is completed over the Internet. This includes selling tangible products, downloadable products such as ebooks or software, subscriptions to membership programs or services.
As mentioned above, most people tend to think of the definition of e-commerce as electronic transactions between businesses and consumers (B2C), but that’s not all. We must not forget that there are also B2B transactions in which businesses sell items online or services to other businesses. Last but not least, most people seem to overlook C2C which is consumers selling to other consumers. Examples of C2C sites include auction sites and online marketplaces for things such as crafts. All three models have benefited greatly from the creation of the Internet. What was once confined to local markets is now expanded to reach cities or countries all over the globe. It is truly amazing how the Internet and e-commerce has changed the way we do business and the profound impact it has made in people’s lives.
To further explain the definition of e-commerce, let’s break it down to show how it works using an example of a B2C e-commerce website. You already have an online store set up, web users land on your website and browse for products. If that person likes what he or she sees then they click on the checkout button. This takes them to a checkout page asking for their information such as billing information, ship to address, credit card or other form of payment information. Once the form is filled out, the order is submitted. The inclusion of an ecommerce merchant account which allows businesses to process payments over the Internet is what really makes all of this possible.