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What Is ECommerce?
Just a trendy name for selling or retailing from a website?
ECommerce is the name used to embrace all the business activities involved in the act of selling or trading goods and services directly online from a website.
It covers everything from online shopping catologues and other promotional facilities, business to business transactions, and directly selling goods, products or services to customers through a variety of online methods.
Whether you run an exclusive business-to-business operation or sell goods or services directly to the public, you will gain maximum benefit from your website by using dedicated ECommerce software, which is more commonly referred to as a Shopping Cart or Shopping Basket.
A Shopping Cart is a program that runs at the centre or hub of an ECommerce website, and should be able to provide the following minimum facilities:
- Catalogue or product display
- Enable buyers to select one or more products to purchase
- Track all purchase decisions by the buyer and store them in the "basket" pending payment
- Empower buyers to change, delete or add products in the basket prior to purchasing
- Provide a payment or checkout facility that is safe, secure and confidential
- Confirmation of sale to buyer by email or "thank you" page
These days, it is getting increasingly common for the data making up the product displays or catalogues to be provided via an online database, as this enables products to be updated at any time 24/7. Thus the website owner can ensure that his product data is always fresh and up to date, and the latest products and prices can be added to the site with the minimum of effort.
Database-driven websites are frequently referred to as being "dynamic", due to the fact that the product data is only created and displayed as a result of an onscreen action by the end user. When the user clicks to view a product, a request is sent to the database for the information which is then displayed on the screen. In a non-database site - commonly referred to as a "static" site - the product data has been "hard-coded" onto a page and permanently exists. Such sites are usually more expensive to maintain because unless the site owner is experienced in web design, all changes and updates to the site will need to be referred to the web designer.
For more information, check out our Ecommerce shopping page.