Electronic commerce or e-commerce is in fact composed from all the processes of selling and buying and than distributing along with the marketing required.
There mustn’t a confusion between e-commerce and e-business. Electronic commerce deals primarily with selling, buying, distributing and marketing via electronic means, while e-business deals with all the processes involved in an online business including internal management and post sale support. As e-commerce is primarily conducted over the world wide web it is also known as e-commerce. To be more precise e-commerce is composed from: online marketing, transaction management (including automated data-collection systems), electronic funds processing, the supply chain and the electronic data interchange associated. It is usually conducted over internet and extranets and can conducted via websites, email, ebooks and mobile applications.
After the dot com collapse in 2000 and 2001, we can see that the rudimentary websites based solely on pure e-commerce have mostly disappeared. Instead nowadays the trend is to incorporate e-commerce as a natural part of the traditional selling techniques. The products best suited for ecommerce have proved to be either of the virtual type (ebooks, memberships) or if non-virtual they have usually a high value per weight ratio and are tipically small such as books, prints, DVDs, video consoles and digital cameras, many surviving players of the dot com era concentrate on these type of services. Also another succesful approach in webcommerce is the selling of embarassing items such as certain drugs and pornography.
This new medium of conducting business also proved to have its own specific problems:
- The most important limiting factor is the distrust and limited know how of the average consumer for anything related to virtual buying.
- The internet although has a low penetration compared with the traditional commerce especially in the emerging markets of developing countries.
- Inherent market instability- it is very hard to predict how the market will react and evolve even on a short term.
- There is also a lack of trained professionals in the field which leads many times to security holes in the marketing chain.
- Hackers or organised crime can also prove to be dangerous, mostly through the techniques of identity theft, the theft of digital products and denial of service attacks which can lead to extortion.