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What is Ecommerce
In the good old days, business was pretty simple. I had a pig, you had some wool; we showed up at the market and haggled, then I went home to knit a cardigan while you whomped up some barbecue.

Nowadays we don't have to show up at the market, and we don't even need physical goods or currency to conduct business. Ecommerce is the most recent step in the evolution of business transactions. It replaces (or augments) the swapping of money or goods with the exchange of information from computer to computer.

Within a few years, Internet has turned businesses upside down, be prepared or die. This might seem like an over-hyped statement – but it is not.If we look around, even today, the Internet is fundamentally changing the way companies operate – from conducting business internally to conducting business with trading partners. Entirely new companies and business models are emerging. It is helping companies to lower costs dramatically across their supply and demand chains, take their customer service into a different league, enter new markets, create additional revenue streams and redefine their business relationships. If a company does not use the Internet to do any or all of these things in the near future, it will be destroyed by competitors who are leveraging the power of the Internet to conduct business, which literally means e-commerce or electronic commerce is the most crucial reality of today’s business scenario.

Give me some examples.
Electronic commerce, or e-commerce, is a very broad term. E-commerce conducted between businesses differs from that carried out between a business and its consumers. For business-to-consumer e-commerce, the Web has become the dominant pipeline. Think The Company offers lots of books for sale on its Web site. Consumers find what they like, type in their credit card number and unpack the books a few days later. Conducting individual stock trades, moving money from checking to savings or tracking an overnight package delivery via the Internet are other examples.

Business-to-business e-commerce takes many forms, some of which have been around for years. Electronic data interchange (EDI) is a format for exchanging business information over private networks. It was created to automate and speed the exchange of information between companies that regularly did business together. For example, on Tuesday your computer can automatically tell my computer that you've shipped the 500 pallets of wool I ordered. Then on Wednesday my computer acknowledges your shipping confirmation and tells you that I'll mail you a few thousand pigs on Thursday. No money actually changed hands electronically here but plenty of business data did. If your business and my business do transactions like this often, the automated system beats having our clerks stand by the fax machine every day and then retype the information they receive into our respective computer systems.
EDI is still used, and there are many other mechanisms for business interaction, such as electronic catalogs and electronic payment systems. The Web plays an expanding role just as it does in consumer e-commerce. For instance, you might let your office-supply provider put an ordering page on your intranet.

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