Electronic commerce, commonly known as e-commerce, is the buying and selling of product or service over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. Electronic commerce draws on such technologies as electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), inventory management systems, and automated data collection systems.
Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web at least at one point in the transaction’s life-cycle, although it may encompass a wider range of technologies such as e-mail, mobile devices and telephones as well.
Electronic commerce is generally considered to be the sales aspect of e-business. It also consists of the exchanging of data to facilitate the financing and payment aspects of business transactions.
Even today, some considerable time after the so called ‘dot com/Internet revolution’, electronic commerce (e-commerce) remains a relatively new, emerging and constantly changing area of business management and information technology.
There has been and continues to be much publicity and discussion about e-commerce. Library catalogues and shelves are filled with books and articles on the subject.
However, there remains a sense of confusion, suspicion and misunderstanding surrounding the area, which has been exacerbated by the different contexts in which electronic commerce is used, coupled with the myriad related buzzwords and acronyms.
In the emerging global economy, e-commerce and e-business have increasingly become a necessary component of business strategy and a strong catalyst for economic development. The integration of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in business has revolutionized relationships within organizations and those between and among organizations and individuals.