E-commerce – also known as I-commerce, is the process of buying and selling of goods and services over electronic systems such as the internet or other computer networks. E-commerce is more than simply buying and selling because it encompasses the different aspects of business that surround the exchange of money and it caters to a myriad of other technologies. This means that e-commerce involves other aspects of business such as customer relationship management, marketing and business research. It also means that e-commerce will use other technologies other than computers such as mobile phones, online transaction processing, data collection, and supply chain management among others.
There exists other variations of e-commerce:
- M-Commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services over mobile networks; for instance, mobile phones and laptops. M-Commerce also encompasses the payment of bills over these mobile networks.
- T-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services using the TV as the interface. This mode of trading is widely used and it employs infomercials, there would be promotional shows being aired all day long that discuss various products, interested buyers would call in and buy the products which would then be shipped to their residence.
E-commerce is increasingly becoming the most popular form of conducting business as the world is becoming globalised. The popularity of e-commerce has soared because it offers business that has 24 hour availability, business that has great customer service, global customer base and convenient transactions. E-commerce has made it possible for buyers and sellers to communicate and transact anywhere and anytime in a quick and efficient manner. The growth of e-commerce has also brought about the development of other related businesses and global economic development. Good examples of e-commerce businesses are Ebay, Amazon and Etsy shops.
E-commerce is governed in the US by the federal trade commission. The federal trade commission regulates the privacy and advertising. Internationally, e-commerce is regulated by International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network which is aimed at solving consumer problems and fostering free and open communication between the members involved.
E-commerce has brought a lot of changes in the global economy.
- Increased competition among businesses all over the world and this has completely restructured business policies.
- Improved customer experiences worldwide because customers are presented with a host of options on where to buy their goods and services.
However, Data integrity and security remain pressing issues in e-commerce but with time, they will surely be resolved.