The Internet & E-Commerce
By now, you understand that you're going to need a website. Yes, your website will have
all of the pertinent information about your business, it will have some fantastic graphics,
and it will contain all of the necessary components. You will have an online database and
checkout system. Now let's talk about these amazing things called the Internet and e-com-
It is helpful to have a good mental image of “regular” commerce first. If you understand
commerce, then e-commerce is an easy transition.
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary gives the definition of commerce:
com·merce n [MF, fr. L commercium, fr. com- + merc-, merx merchandise] (1537)
1: social intercourse: interchange of ideas, opinions, or sentiments
2: the exchange or buying and selling of commodities on a large scale involving transport-
ation from place to place.
So commerce is, quite simply, the exchange of goods and services, usually for money. We
see commerce all around us on a daily basis. As consumers, we partake in the action of
commerce continuously. When you buy something at a grocery store, you are participat-
ing in commerce. In the same way, if you hold a garage sale at your house, you are par-
ticipating in commerce from a different angle. If you go to work each day for a company
that produces a product, that is yet another link in the chain of commerce. When you think
about commerce in these different ways, you instinctively recognize several different roles.
There are buyers, sellers, and producers.
You can see that at this high level, commerce is a fairly simple concept. Whether it is
something as simple as a person mixing and selling lemonade on a street corner or as com-
plex as a contractor delivering a nuclear warhead to the government, all commerce at its
simplest level relies on buyers, sellers, and producers.
When you get down to the actual brass tacks of commerce and commercial transactions,
things get slightly more complicated because you have to deal with the details. However,
these details boil down to a finite number of steps. Let's take a look at a list that highlights
the basics. In this case, the activity is the sale of a computer repair to an end-user customer:
1. If you would like to sell something such as a service to a customer, at the very core of the
matter is the service itself. You must offer the service on the web. The service may include
a product (such as a part that will be installed) and can be anything from a screw set to a