E-commerce also known as Electronic Commerce, refers to buying and selling of products or services over the Internet. Normally e-commerce is used to refer to the sale of physical products online, but it can also describe any kind of commercial transaction that is facilitated through the internet.
The first ever online sale was in 1994 when a man sold a CD by the band Sting to his friend through his website Net Market, an American retail platform. This is the first example of a consumer buying a product from a business through the World Wide Web or e-commerce as we commonly know it today. After that e-commerce has evolved to make products easier to discover and purchase through online retailers and marketplaces. All freelancers as well as small and large businesses have been benefited from e-commerce which enables them to sell their goods and services at a scale that was not possible with traditional offline retail.
Types of E-commerce model:
There are basically 4 main types of e-commerce models that can describe almost every transaction that takes place between consumers and businesses.
- Business to Consumer (B2C):
When a good or service is sold to an individual consumer by a business, e.g., we buy a pair of shoes from an online retailer.
- Business to Business (B2B):
When a good or service is sold by a business to another business, e.g., a software-as-a-service is sold by a business for other businesses to use.
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C):
When a good or service is sold by a consumer to another consumer, e.g., we sell our old furniture on eBay to another consumer.
- Consumer to Business (C2B):
When a consumer’s own products or services is sold to a business or organization, e.g., an authority offers exposure to their online audience in exchange for a fee or a photographer licenses their photo for a business to use.
Business Application of E-commerce:
- Conversational commerce: e-commerce via chat
- Digital Wallet
- Document automation in supply chain and logistics
- Electronic tickets
- Enterprise content management
- Group buying
- Instant messaging
- Online banking
- Online office suites
- Online shopping and order tracking
- Print on demand
- Shopping cart software
- Social networking
- Virtual assistant (artificial intelligence)
- Domestic and international payment systems
Advantages of E-commerce:
- E-commerce enables fast and secure shopping.
- It is making digitalized world.
- E-commerce also enables to choose different goods and services according to your choice.
- It is a simple way of selling and buying products and services.
- E-commerce replaced the paper work as all transactions are through internet today.
- It provides better management system, as it has a centralized database.
- E-commerce via internet covers a large number of customers worldwide.
Disadvantages of E-commerce:
- E-commerce has no universal standard for quality and reliability.
- E-commerce works through internet, it is possible that navigation on internet itself may be slow.
- Strong security is required in e-commerce as all transactions are through internet.
- There is high risk of buying unsatisfactory products through e-commerce.
- It uses public key infrastructure which is not safe.
- Customers also trap in banking fraud which is quite frequent.
- Hackers also try to get access of data or to destroy data in e-commerce.