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E-Glossary

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E-commerce is a general concept covering any business transaction executed electronically between parties such as companies (business-to-business), companies and consumers (business-to-consumer), consumers and consumers, business and the public sector, and between consumers and the public sector.

Electronic commerce comprises electronic trading of goods and services and falls into two categories:
  • Indirect e-commerce: electronic ordering of tangible goods; the actual goods are delivered in a traditional form (ie: USPS, etc.)
  • Direct e-commerce: electronic ordering and delivery of intangible goods (electronic material ie: memberhsips, games, softwares, etc.)

Even though e-commerce predates the Web for some time, it is the Web technology and its general access towards open network standards that today are the driving forces of e-commerce and that have put it on the global agenda. Historically, before e-commerce existed on the Internet, it was used mainly for business-to-business transactions in different forms of closed networks.

For the consumer, it is easy to appreciate the importance of e-commerce. Why waste time fighting the very real crowds in supermarkets, when, from the comfort of home, one can shop on-line at any time in virtual internet shopping malls, and have the goods delivered home directly.

For business, e-commerce offers enormous opportunities. It allows to trade at a low cost world-wide and it offers enterprises the chance to enter a global market right from start-up.





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