What is E-Commerce?

What is e-commerce? The answer may seem simple on the surface, but the complexities of e-commerce and how it is shaping the world are anything but. The following guide will provide a comprehensive overview of the concepts and realities of e-commerce to further the understanding of anyone who isn’t especially familiar with the details.

The Basics

What is e-commerce? E-commerce is simply the term for commercial transactions made electronically, specifically over the Internet. It is most commonly used to refer to products bought and sold online, whether physical or digital items. However, it can also refer to services provided as well. The term refers to purchases made through traditional website storefronts as well as mobile apps. It also refers to the digital payments processed in return for those goods and services. E-commerce has proven an ever-increasing sector of the economy ever since the late 1990s and that trend is not stopping.

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Its Impact

E-commerce has undeniably had a massive impact on how customers find and buy products, how companies conduct their business, on society and even on the planet at large. Businesses are using new techniques such as search engine optimization and online content marketing to drive traffic to their storefronts as well as building successful e-commerce businesses through major online retailers like Amazon and eBay. The impact of e-commerce on the environment is also not to be overlooked and is increasingly a topic of concern for many people and organizations. More businesses are looking for ways to make their e-commerce models more sustainable, though it is still a concern and a challenge.

The Ways E-Commerce Is Set Up

Those who want to be involved in e-commerce in some fashion, whether as merchants, digital storefront designers, professionals working in digital payment processing or cybersecurity providers, need to understand how and why companies and individuals set up online storefronts. Most businesses already have online stores or are looking for ways to conduct business online because of the much wider consumer base that can be reached via the Internet. Some people choose to go into dropshipping, a specific kind of e-commerce where stock is not kept on-hand but rather shipped directly from suppliers to the customer. Still others create and sell their own handmade goods and look to find a market for their items online. There are very few limits to e-commerce and plenty of people looking to carve out their niche in it.

The Future Of E-Commerce

Like most areas of the tech field, e-commerce is expected to continue to change rapidly and drastically going forward. Exactly how no one can really say, but there are a few areas where e-commerce is almost certain to grow and make use of new technologies. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) to personalize customer experiences and chatbots for faster, more efficient customer service is likely to increase. Subscription commerce is also likely to continue to grow, according to Forbes – this is a type of online commerce where a customer subscribes to a specific product or type of products to receive on a regular basis. The amount of e-commerce conducted on mobile is expected to grow too.

E-commerce has undoubtedly had one of the biggest impacts on how goods are bought and sold throughout all of human history. This is why it is important to understand what is e-commerce, no matter what professional role someone is in.