Electronic commerce or e-commerce is a term for any type of business, or commercial transaction, that involves the transfer of information across the Internet. It covers a range of different types of businesses, from consumer based retail sites, through auction or music sites, to business exchanges trading goods and services between corporations. It is currently one of the most important aspects of the Internet to emerge.
E-commerce allows consumers to electronically exchange goods and services with no barriers of time or distance. Electronic commerce has expanded rapidly over the past five years and is predicted to continue at this rate, or even accelerate. In the near future, the boundaries between "conventional" and "electronic" commerce will become increasingly blurred as more and more businesses move sections of their operations onto the Internet.
Online Shopping - Buying and selling goods on the Internet is one of the most popular examples of e-commerce. Sellers create storefronts that are the online equivalents of retail outlets. Buyers browse and purchase products with mouse clicks. Though Amazon.com is not the pioneer of online shopping, it is arguably the most famous online shopping destination.
Electronic Payments - When you are buying goods online, there needs to be a mechanism to pay online too. That is where payment processors and payment gateways come into the picture.
Online Auctions - When you think online auction, you think eBay. Physical auctions predate online auctions, but the Internet made auctions accessible to a large number of buyers and sellers. Online auctions are an efficient mechanism for price discovery. Many buyers find the auction shopping mechanism much interesting than regular storefront shopping.
Internet Banking - Today it is possible for you to perform an entire range of banking operations without visiting a physical bank branch. Interfacing of websites with bank accounts, and by extension credit cards, was the biggest driver of e-commerce.
Online Ticketing - Air tickets, movie tickets, train tickets, play tickets, tickets to sporting events, and just about any kind of tickets can be booked online. Online ticketing does away with the need to queue up at ticket counters.
Business to Business (B2B) - B2B e-commerce transactions are those where both the transacting parties are businesses, e.g., manufacturers, traders, retailers and the like.
Business to Consumer (B2C) - When businesses sell electronically to end-consumers, it is called B2C e-commerce.
Consumer to Consumer - Some of the earliest transactions in the global economic system involved barter -- a type of C2C transaction. But C2C transactions were virtually nonexistent in recent times until the advent of e-commerce. Auction sites are a good example of C2C e-commerce.