E-commerce (electronic commerce) refers to purchasing and selling of services and goods or transaction of fund over an electronic network, basically on internet. These business transactions take place as business-to-consumer, business-to-business, consumer-to-business or consumer-to- consumer.
E-commerce is conducted through a range of applications including shopping carts and online catalogues, emails, electronic data interchange (EDI), File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and web services. E-commerce offers a range of advantages including its 24/7 availability, extensive products range, easy & fast accessibility and global reach. However, there are some associated disadvantages such as customers are not able to touch the product before purchasing and there is longer waiting time for product delivery.
Players engaged in e-commerce industry not only need to concentrate on maintenance & infrastructure design but also on security aspects and customer data privacy. To increase security in e-commerce, companies authenticate transactions, control access to resources like webpages for registered users, encrypt communications, and use security technologies such as the Secure Sockets Layer and two factor authentication (2FA).
E-commerce market is expected to grow dynamically, majorly fuelled by expanding online and mobile users, increasing m-commerce sales, advancement in shipping and payment options, and internationalization of e-commerce business wherein large e-retailers are expanding their reach to emerging markets such as Asia Pacific. In Asia Pacific much of the growth is expected from consumers in rural areas. Top countries active in e-commerce industry are China, US, UK, Japan, Germany, France, South Korea, Canada, Brazil and Australia.
Online retailers are continuously focusing on understanding and identifying customer needs through their shopping behaviours to better serve them with innovative products. E-commerce companies are not only targeting customers on the basis of demographics, but are also analysing their spending patterns to better market their products and target customers.
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