Electronic commerce, or eCommerce, refers to the purchasing and selling of goods or services via electronic means, such as the Internet or mobile phone applications. It may also refer to the process of creating, marketing, servicing and paying for services and goods. Businesses, governments and the public can participate in eCommerce transactions.
Technologies used in eCommerce require consumer interactions in order to make an individual feel as though he is an active participant in the transaction process. As a result, eCommerce technologies can adjust to each individual's experience. For example, while shopping online, an individual is able to view different angles of some items, add products into a virtual shopping cart, checkout by inputting his payment information and then submit the order.
Technologies within eCommerce allow for the personalization and customization of marketing messages groups or individuals receive. Pearson Education states that companies can base such messages on individual characteristics of a consumer. An example of personalization includes product recommendations based on a user's search history on a Web site that allows individuals to create an account.
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Users can access and utilize text messages and visual and audio components to send and receive information. Pearson Education states that such aspects provide a rich informational experience in regards to marketing and the consumer experience. An individual may see information richness on a company's blog if a post contains a video related to a product and hyperlinks that allow him to look at or purchase the product and send information about the post via text message or email.
Individuals, businesses and governments only use one set of technological, media and Internet standards to use eCommerce features. Consequently, universal standards help simplify interactions. An individual can see these standards while shopping online, as the process to purchase items is similar on Web sites that use eCommerce technologies. Similarly, when an individual creates an online account, the site generally requires an individual to create a username and password so he can access his account.
Because they are web-based, eCommerce technological features are available anywhere you can connect to the Internet at any time, including homes, offices, video game systems with an Internet connection and mobile phone devices. Because eCommerce is ubiquitous, the market is able to extend its traditional geographic boundaries and operating hours. An example includes the ability to access the Internet wherever there is a Wi-Fi hotspot, such as a cafe or airport. Moreover, individuals who have cell phones with data capabilities can access the Internet without a Wi-Fi connection.
The use of eCommerce reduces the cost to store, process and communicate information, according to Pearson Education. At the same time, accuracy and timeliness increase; thus, making information accurate, inexpensive and plentiful. For example, the online shopping process allows a company to receive personal, shipping, billing and payment information from a customer all at once and sends the customer's information to the appropriate departments in a matter of seconds.
Social networks use eCommerce technologies to allow members, the general public, to share content with the worldwide community, according to Kurt Grashaw in an article for the Web site Merchant Circle. Consequently, consumers with accounts can share personal and commercial information to promote a product or service. When a company has a professional social networking account, a member of the same social network has the option of associating himself with the company or a product by saying he likes or recommends it. When an individual updates his status on a social networking account, he may also mention a product or company by name, which creates word-of-mouth advertising.
Technologies within eCommerce seamlessly stretch across traditional cultural and national boundaries and enable worldwide access. Pearson Education states that instead of just offering goods and services to a population within a specific boundary, businesses can market to and serve an international audience. The Internet and multilingual Web sites, as well as the ability to translate a Web page, allows international visitors all over the globe to access company Web sites, purchase products and make business interactions.