E-commerce can be defined as electronically conducted commercial transactions via the internet, pertaining to the buying and selling of goods and services. Data exchange, informational and monetary related, is also included a part of e-commerce. E-commerce includes online goods and services (software, e-books, media streaming), retail services (ordering food, travel, mail deliveries), marketplace services (e-wallet, comparison shopping) and customer support (help desks, live support). It can also be classified on the nature of the dealing parties: B2B, B2C, C2B and C2C or the distribution channels adopted by them: pure click, brick-&-click or click-to-brick. Financial services, digital content, travel & leisure, e-tailing and other online services constitute the variety of ecommerce options available to the internet accessing customer base that are gathering momentum with increased internet use.
E-commerce is preferred as it allows companies to conduct business without having physical presence, thus reducing infrastructure, communication and other related overhead costs and speeding up the transactions by eliminating many unnecessary intermediaries. Apart from these economic factors, customer interaction and marketing forces and multimedia convergence fuel e-commerce growth. One of the driving forces of e-commerce success can be attributed to women preferring online shopping and increased influence of social networking platforms on the society. To succeed, a company needs to have a strong, reliable and efficient supply chain and connectivity network to ensure timely processing of orders. Transparent yet stringent policies regarding products/services, customer information and corporate processes have been facilitating customer participation, countering issues of security. The Financial Services Authority in U.K., Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in Australia, Federal Trade Commission in USA and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation for APAC are a few online trade and marketing regulatory bodies, establishing and enforcing code of conduct and transparency standards for fair online trading.
Increased competition has given buyers the upper hand over sellers. With products’ pricing and features transparency and wider range being easily accessible at best prices, consumers have also been exploring the e-commerce market. Biggest contributors to e-commerce revenue have been the regions of Europe, America and Russia. E-commerce in China has been increasing greatly among nations like Brazil, India and Middle-East. Amazon, E-bay, 360buy.com, Groupon, Sony store, iTunes, Alibaba, Microsoft, Amway, Barnes & Noble, Symantec and Wal-Mart are a few well-known e-commerce facilitator sites. Start-ups such as Snapdeal, Flipkart, Lenskart, Jabong and Myntra, to name a few, have revolutionized the e-commerce scenario in India, inspiring other brands to dive into the online competition.
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