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Is E-Commerce Essential?

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E-commerce (electronic commerce) is the buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network, primarily the internet. These business transactions occur either as business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), consumer-to-consumer or consumer-to-business. The terms e-commerce and e-business are often used interchangeably. The term e-tail is also sometimes used in reference to the transactional processes that make up online retail shopping.

E-commerce is powered by the internet. Customers access an online store to browse through and place orders for products or services via their own devices.As the order is placed, the customer's web browser will communicate back and forth with the server hosting the e-commerce website. Data pertaining to the order will be relayed to a central computer known as the order manager. It will then be forwarded to databases that manage inventory levels; a merchant system that manages payment information, using applications such as PayPal; and a bank computer.

Finally, it will circle back to the order manager. This is to make sure that store inventory and customer funds are sufficient for the order to be processed. After the order is validated, the order manager will notify the store's web server. It will display a message notifying the customer that their order has been successfully processed. The order manager will then send order data to the warehouse or fulfillment department, letting it know the product or service can be dispatched to the customer. At this point tangible or digital products may be shipped to a customer, or access to a service may be granted.

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E-commerce refers to the electronic exchange of products, services or information between businesses rather than between businesses and consumers. Examples include online directories and product and supply exchange websites that let businesses search for products, services and information and initiate transactions through e-procurement interfaces.

Business-to-consumer (B2C) is the retail part of e-commerce on the internet. It is when businesses sell products, services or information directly to consumers. The term was popular during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, when online retailers and sellers of goods were a novelty.

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