E-Commerce Definition and How It Works

The evolution and growth of electronic systems like the internet, intranet and extranet have greatly contributed to changes in the way we do business. E-commerce is by far one of the biggest developments in recent years. Traditional businesses can no longer ignore e-commerce as it is becoming not only a contributor, but a necessity in the sustainability of all retail businesses.E-commerce is short for electronic commerce, and it is defined as the use of electronic systems to engage in commercial transactions. With this system the parties do not need to meet physically, transactions are completed over the world wide web. With e-commerce, it becomes easier than ever to conduct business as payments for goods and services are debited and credited within seconds without the hassles of personally dealing with the credit card companies or banks.There are several different types of e-commerce. Here is some basic information on each:1. Business to Consumer (B2C)
This is where the business sells goods or services directly to the final consumer without going through any middlemen.2. Business to Business (B2B)
Both the buyer and seller are businesses. Products or services are intended for other businesses as opposed to consumers. Examples of wholesalers come to mind for this type of e-commerce business.3. Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
This is where consumers conduct transactions with other consumers without any kind of involvement from businesses. E-commerce sites of this type are generally auction sites or online marketplaces.4. Peer to Peer (P2P)
This type of e-commerce is used by people who share computer content like files and software with each other.5. Mobile commerce
This is a form of e-commerce that uses mobile devices to conduct transactions. Everything else about the website remains the same, except they are displayed in a mobile-friendly way making it easier for smartphone users to make purchases through their mobile phones.So how does e-commerce work?In order to build an e-commerce business, you need to first create a website with shopping cart and checkout capabilities. There are a couple of different ways to do this, one of the easiest is to use an e-commerce software solution to build the site. Using an example of a simple B2C website selling products, simply add the products that you want to put up for sale onto the database. Customers that come across your site and want to buy your products just have to add them to the virtual shopping cart, submit their billing and shipping details during checkout, make payments and then wait for the product to show up at their front door.

What Is Social Commerce Anyway?

So what exactly is “social commerce”? In short, social commerce is selling with social media, online media that supports user contributions and social interaction. It’s selling with the current “Big Five”.The Big Five Include:1. Facebook
2. Youtube
3. Twitter
4. LinkedIn
5. PinterestAnd some other social media platforms like Google+, Instagram and Qoura.In 17th century, the French playwright Moliere used the term “Social Commerce”.Here, social commerce termed “social transactions” in which reputations and public “social” images were exchanged instead of money. Sports brand Nike has recently revived this idea with an innovative custom Facebook application that allows people to bid for and buy Nike sneakers with their reputation rather than money-in the form of points earned through Nike+ applications.Social commerce is about using social media as “transactional media” to complete sales transactions, but in some of the most innovative cases of social commerce, no money changes hands.Industry thought-leader Steve Rubel from the PR firm Edelman sums up the umbrella term of social commerce nicely: social commerce is about “creating places where people can collaborate online, find goods and services, get advice from trusted individuals and then purchase them.”Social Applications for E-Commerce Sites that enable vendors to collect and share user feedback-ratings, reviews, and recommendations-on their site and through their customers’ social networks, and personalize the e-commerce experience. These apps range from simple social sharing plug-ins that add sharing buttons such as the Pinterest “Pin” button to product pages, to social plug-ins that add Amazon-style ratings and reviews features to an e-commerce site. These apps not only accelerate and amplify the word of mouth, but can also allow vendors to predict demand and offer personalized recommendations based on similarities between shopper profiles.E-Commerce Applications for Social Sites that help vendors sell directly in social media such as from their blog, YouTube channel, or Facebook Page. These range from simple storefront plug-ins that republish an external e-commerce site on a social media page to standalone e-commerce applications for social media.E-commerce apps for social media sites have been particularly popular with small and medium-size businesses, providing a cost-effective and simple alternative to maintaining a traditional e-commerce site. Market leader Payvment currently has over 150,000 businesses using its social media e-commerce application.Mobile Applications for In-store Social Shopping that help people shop smarter by shopping together via mobile handsets. These range from mobile apps for “group-buying,” which allow people to get store discounts by clubbing together and buying in bulk, to mobile apps that help store visitors get instant feedback from their friends on whether or what to buy. Mobile apps for in-store social shopping also include so-called “check-in” apps such as foursquare, which reward people for sharing where they are shopping, as well as a new generation of mobile “ACT” apps (Assistive Consumer Technology), which add a social “augmented reality” layer to the store experience, displaying shared reviews, ratings, and recommendations when the handset is pointed at particular products.Web Applications for Social Shopping that support vendors to promote and sell their products on sites where share, shoppers congregate, exchange, and buy. These range from shopping club sites such as Fab and Gilt that run regular retail events for to community-based vendors, marketplaces such as Shoply and Etsy which allow vendors to cultivate one-to-one relationships with their customers. Web apps for social shopping also contain platforms such as The Fancy, Pinterest and Svpply which offer gathered and curated product selections-as well as sites such as Made.com, which allow designers to submit product designs, which if popular, go into production.