E-commerce is an extension of that cable and much more that merely a substitute for traditional shopping. E-commerce operates from business to consumer and business to business. Amazon is a typical example of business-to-consumer e-commerce, but buying and selling stocks & shares and managing your bank accounts also fall under this category. Business-to-business e-commerce goes further and includes electronic data exchange or interchange (EDI), a speedy, automated system of information exchange between companies who work closely together.
E-commerce is an ideal medium. Sending data over a network is more efficient and much faster than “traditional” methods and thus, far more cost effective.
Elements of Commerce
When you get down to the actual elements of commerce and commercial transactions, things get slightly more complicated because you have to deal with the details. The following list highlights all of the elements of a typical commerce activity.
- If you would like to sell something to a customer, at the very core of the matter is the something itself. You must have a product or service to offer.
The product can be anything from ball bearings to back rubs.
- You must also have a place from which to sell your products. Place can sometimes be very ephemeral — for example a phone number might be the place
- You need to figure out a way to get people to come to your place. This process is known as marketing.
- You need a way to accept orders and money.
- Many businesses do not require you to pay for the product or service at the time of delivery, and some products and services are delivered continuously (water, power, phone and pagers). That gets into the whole area of billing and collections.
- You need a way to deliver the product or service, often known as fulfillment. Sometimes customers do not like what they buy, so you need a way to accept returns.
- Many products today are so complicated that they require customer service and technical support departments to help customers use them. Computers are a good example of this sort of product