Define e-commerce!


Conducting business online. Selling goods, in the traditional sense, is possible to do electronically because of certain software programs that run the main functions of an e-commerce Web site, including product display, online ordering, and inventory management. The software resides on a commerce server and works in conjunction with online payment systems to process payments. Since these servers and data lines make up the backbone of the Internet, in a broad sense, e-commerce means doing business over interconnected networks.

The definition of e-commerce includes business activities that are business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), extended enterprise computing (also known as "newly emerging value chains"), d-commerce, and m-commerce. E-commerce is a major factor in the U.S. economy because it assists companies with many levels of current business transactions, as well as creating new online business opportunities that are global in nature.
Here are a few examples of e-commerce:


Shopping Cart:

Software used to make a site's product catalogue available for online ordering, whereby visitors may select, view, add/delete, and purchase merchandise.

Payment Gateway (or Gateway):

an application that is resident on a merchant's server (or a server located at the merchant's isp or csp) that accepts payment information, encrypts it and routes it across the internet to a [payment services provider].

Some Fine Points in the Visa/MC Regulations

Visa/MasterCard has published their definition of an electronic commerce transaction to include "...a transaction conducted over the Internet or other network using a cardholder access device, such as a personal computer or terminal,"

When a cardholder enters credit card information into a form or shopping cart at a merchant's website, this is an electronic transaction. The cardholder initiated the transaction by entering card data and transmitting it to the merchant over the Internet.

If the cardholder sends an order request and the credit card information to the merchant in an eMail, this too, is considered an electronic commerce transaction, as the cardholder initiated the transaction by entering card data and transmitting it to the merchant over an electronic network.

If a cardholder visits a merchant's website for product information, and does not transmit an order over the Internet, but instead sends the order to the merchant by fax [or telephone or mail] this is considered a mail/telephone transaction because the cardholder did not use a PC or transmit the information over the Internet.

An electronic commerce merchant receives an order via phone or fax. The merchant enters the transaction information into its system to obtain authorization and to process the transaction. This is a mail/telephone order transaction. The cardholder initiated the transaction via phone or fax.


Pronunciation: dI-'kä-t&-mE also d&-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -mies
Etymology: Greek dichotomia, from dichotomos
Date: 1610
1 : a division or the process of dividing into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities
(Merriam-Webster dictionary on-line)

The Rules of the Road: