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(Amazon.com’s former headquarters in the Pacific Medical Center building in Beacon Hill, Seattle.)

Electronic commerce (e-commerce, or online sales) is the exchange of goods, services and information between computer networks, including the Internet.

Electronic commerce is not limited only to Internet. As part of the inter-company trade, networks are used for many years. Electronic transactions also carry on mobile phone networks. We talk about m-commerce (mobile commerce).

In a context of strong environmental constraints, development of distance selling tends to transform the problems of logistics.

e-Commerce and marketing

In general, any business or individual wanting to create an online store may usefully call a service provider specializing in e-commerce to study the market, its competition, so positioning on the web.

Combined sales

In the world of electronic commerce, the term click and mortar (or bricks and clicks) refers to companies that offer a complementary way:

  • of Internet sales (“online” activities)
  • and sales in store or “physical” POS (classical distribution).

These click and mortar distribution patterns opposed to “virtual” where only online trade are offered to customers. Some “virtual” operators seem to redirect part of their distribution strategy to the click and mortar.

Multichannel sales

Develop a multi-channel strategy, to associate Internet, digital television, mobile and physical stores. The interest of such a device is to exploit the growing number of consumers who use, to purchase, multiple channels of interactive distribution.

This form of distribution also allows face some obstacles inherent characteristics of the electronic channel. Some consumers are reluctant to pay online and wish for example to pay in stores. A multichannel strategy also has interest from the point of view of logistics using the network of stores as a stock and transforms them into withdrawals points. Several e-commerce players have opted for such a strategy. Traditional retail players have meanwhile taken longer to combine the electronic channel and physical channel.

In all cases the multichannel strategy requires a particular organization on many functions such as traffic management, information systems, customer relations, pricing, promotion, retention, etc. It is now the e-business.

Although one of the pillars of e-business is e-commerce, e-business and e-commerce are two terms that are ultimately two totally different meanings.

e-Commerce and e-Business

An e-commerce solution allows a merchant to sell just online products, so this is mail order on the Internet. An e-commerce solution does not guarantee the success of the site itself, as it offers only limited to cart functionality and provides a basic way of managing online catalog. It does not address the fundamental problems of a vertical community developments around the site, the customer loyalty, the introduction of client/vendor confidence, sales optimization, analysis of customer behavior, etc.

With 22% growth in 2009, the e-commerce tends to a convergence of the web and mobile.

e-Business is all that can be implemented in advance to achieve a sale and subsequently ensuring customer loyalty. The business consists of different order of “exchange relations” (mailing, customer loyalty, promotions, support, after sales, etc. service). An e-business solution is a set of applications, tools that allow one hand to create a website for online sales and also to provide the merchant any means necessary to prospect, convert and retain customers (lists of gifts, loyalty points, cash back, gift vouchers, discount coupons, sponsorship, affiliation, etc.).

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