HTML and CSS Reference
A formal definition of e-commerce is the integration of communications, data manage-
ment, and security technologies, which allows individuals and organizations to
exchange information related to the sale of goods and services. Major functions of
e-commerce include the buying of goods, the selling of goods, and the performance of
financial transactions on the Internet.
There are a number of advantages to both businesses and consumers when engaging in
e-commerce. For businesses, the many advantages include the following:
● Reduced Costs. Online businesses can stay open 24 hours a day without the over-
head of a brick-and-mortar facility. Many businesses establish a Web site before
attempting e-commerce. When they add e-commerce functions to their Web site,
the site becomes a source of revenue and, in many cases, pays for itself in short
● Increased Customer Satisfaction. Businesses can use their Web sites to improve
communication with customers and increase customer satisfaction. E-commerce
sites often contain an FAQ page. The availability of customer service representa-
tives by e-mail, discussion forums, or even online chat (see http://liveperson.com)
can improve customer relations.
● More Effective Data Management. Depending on the level of automation,
e-commerce sites can perform credit card verification and authorization, update
inventory levels, and interface with order fulfillment systems, thereby managing
the organization's data more efficiently.
● Potentially Higher Sales. An e-commerce store that is open 24 hours a day, seven
days a week and is available to everyone on the planet has the potential for
higher sales than a traditional brick-and-mortar storefront.
Businesses aren't the only beneficiaries of e-commerce; consumers see some advantages
as well, including the following:
● Convenience. Consumers can shop at any time of the day. There is no travel time
to get to the store. Some consumers prefer Web site shopping over traditional cat-
alog shopping because they can view additional images and join discussion
forums about the products.
● Easier Comparison Shopping. There is no driving from store to store to check the
price of an item. Customers can easily surf the Web and compare prices and
● Wider Selection of Goods. Since it is convenient to shop and compare, consumers
have a wider selection of goods available for purchase.
As you can see, e-commerce provides a number of advantages for both businesses and