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e-commerce E-commerce is one of the most important facets of the Internet to have emerged in the recent years. It involves buying and selling of goods and services and transfer of funds through the Internet.

For many companies, e-commerce is becoming the only option to expand their business online in that it offers the ability to expand into global markets with a minimum of expense, thus allowing firms to reach narrow market segments that are geographically scattered.

There are a lot of advantages in using e-commerce for a business. Let’s try to list the main ones.

The possibility to sell goods and services in any moment of the day and of the year. E-commerce allows people to carry out businesses without the barriers of time or distance. One can log on to the Internet at any point of time, be it day or night and purchase or sell anything one desires with just few clicks of the mouse.

The direct cost-of-sale for an order taken from a web site is lower than through traditional means, direct retail or paper based, as there is no human interaction during the on-line electronic purchase order process. Also, electronic selling virtually eliminates processing errors, as well as being faster and more convenient for the visitor.

e-commerce The products management of a website that sells its products online allows to display, for every single product, descriptions, technical information, photos and price.
(see image on the right)

All this information can and quickly be changed, simply editing the web page, whereas for a printed catalogue would be necessary to face the expense of printing a new version of it.

E-commerce is ideal for niche products. Customers for such products are usually few. But in the vast market place i.e. the Internet, even niche products could generate viable volumes.

Another important facet of E-commerce is that it is the cheapest means of doing business.

From the buyer’s perspective also ecommerce offers a lot of tangible advantages.
  • Reduction of time spent in sorting and choosing the products.
  • Availability of products at cheaper prices.
  • Possibility to buy at one’s own preferred moments, without having to go personally to the shop in working days and times.
  • Weighted and better buyer decisions.
  • Increased opportunities for buying alternative products.
The costs for carrying out a virtual shop, which allows the selling online of products and services are very modest, if we consider the many advantages and benefits. Two things are necessary:
  • A software embedded in your website that allows customers to search and view the products that you sell, and the management of virtual shopping cart, where products chosen by customers are inserted.
  • A merchant account, which is a virtual terminal connected to your bank account, i.e. a contract with a bank that allows you to accept payments with credit cards and receive the money on your account.