E-commerce (electronic commerce) is the activity of electronically buying or selling of products on online services or over the Internet.
Electronic commerce draws on technologies such as:
- Mobile commerce
- Electronic funds transfer
- Supply chain management
- Internet marketing
- Online transaction processing
- Electronic data interchange (EDI)
- Inventory management systems
- Automated data collection systems.
E-commerce is in turn driven by the technological advances of the semiconductor industry, and is the largest sector of the electronics industry.
Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web for at least one part of the transaction's life cycle although it may also use other technologies such as e-mail. Typical e-commerce transactions include the purchase of online books (such as Amazon) and music purchases (music download in the form of digital distribution such as iTunes Store), and to a less extent, customized/personalized online liquor store inventory services. There are three areas of e-commerce: online retailing, electronic markets, and online auctions. E-commerce is supported by electronic business.
E-commerce businesses may also employ some or all of the followings:
- Online shopping for retail sales direct to consumers via Web sites and mobile apps, and conversational commerce via live chat, chatbots, and voice assistants.
- Providing or participating in online marketplaces, which process third-party business-to-consumer (B2C) or consumer-to-consumer (C2C) sales
- Business-to-business (B2B) buying and selling.
- Gathering and using demographic data through web contacts and social media.
- Business-to-business (B2B) electronic data interchange
- Marketing to prospective and established customers by e-mail or fax (for example, with newsletters)
- Engaging in pretail for launching new products and services
- Online financial exchanges for currency exchanges or trading purposes.
Development of e-commerce
1995: Amazon.com is launched by Jeff Bezos.
1995: eBay is founded by computer programmer Pierre Omidyar as AuctionWeb. It is the first online auction site supporting person-to-person transactions.
1999: Alibaba Group is established in China. Business.com sold for US$7.5 million to eCompanies, which was purchased in 1997 for US$149,000. The peer-to-peer filesharing software Napster launches. ATG Stores launches to sell decorative items for the home online.
1999: Global e-commerce reaches $150 billion
2001: eBay has the largest userbase of any e-commerce site.
2001: Alibaba.com achieved profitability in December 2001.
2002: eBay acquires PayPal for $1.5 billion. Niche retail companies Wayfair and NetShops are founded with the concept of selling products through several targeted domains, rather than a central portal.
2003: Amazon.com posts first yearly profit.
2004: DHgate.com, China's first online B2B transaction platform, is established, forcing other B2B sites to move away from the "yellow pages" model.
2007: Business.com acquired by R.H. Donnelley for $345 million.
2014: US e-commerce and Online Retail sales projected to reach $294 billion, an increase of 12 percent over 2013 and 9% of all retail sales. Alibaba Group has the largest Initial public offering ever, worth $25 billion.
2015: Amazon.com accounts for more than half of all e-commerce growth, selling almost 500 Million SKU's in the US.
2017: Retail e-commerce sales across the world reaches $2.304 trillion, which was a 24.8 percent increase than previous year.
2017: Global e-commerce transactions generate $29.267 trillion, including $25.516 trillion for business-to-business (B2B) transactions and $3.851 trillion for business-to-consumer (B2C) sales.