Electronic commerce, or ecommerce as it is better known, drives the Internet sales market and industry through the use of software, web servers, and secure transactions. Ecommerce is the digitization of the supply chain of any industry which encompasses the producer of the item being sold, the seller or store, and the end user or buyer. While these may vary from industry to industry, it is a general model which can be applied to most businesses. At the heart of ecommerce is the collection of orders, or order taking. Without this there can be no ecommerce.
Ecommerce allows a business to gather sensitive material and information such as names, addresses, and credit card numbers from their customers through a secure Internet connection, usually an SSL connection. In addition, ecommerce also relates to how a business attracts its customers; in other words, marketing.
Online or electronic markets operate slightly differently than brick and mortar marketplaces. For instance an online store does not have to have a building, unless of course the business is a warehouse of some kind. Yet, the business model, although a bit different, will still follow the principles of supply chain management, advertising, and profits as a tradition business.
An ecommerce software package should include supply chain management of some kind. Smaller, simpler programs will have a spreadsheet styled interfaceâ€"while higher end programs and software will have features such as automatic reordering and email notifications for inventory. The ecommerce package will also include a way for customers to return goods that are unwanted or incorrect due to human error.
Perhaps the most important part of any business is customer service and while traditional businesses can meet face to face online stores cannot for obvious reasons. Ecommerce software will have live chats or email help for online customers. Customer service will also include the fulfillment of warranty claims and information if applicable.