Business to Consumer E-Commerce

Introduction

The growth in the number of Internet users worldwide almost seems to have been matched by the number of innovative ways that have emerged for conducting electronic commerce over the Internet. Having a virtual presence not only minimizes (or indeed removes) the need for physical (and expensive) shop fronts, it also dramatically expands your potential customer base. A number of models for business-to-consumer

E-Commerce have emerged, and are outlined below. It should be remembered, however, that the potential is as broad as the human imagination. It should also be remembered that this is a very young market and that not all models are yet proven to make money – some are existing on market expectation.

Models for E-Commerce

Sales

The most obvious commercial use of the World Wide Web (WWW) was to use it as a shop window enabling people from all over the world to come and view your products and services. As confidence in the medium grew the potential for actually selling goods and taking money via websites became a reality. This sort of business originally flourished in the United States (which has a credit card culture) long before it did in the rest of the world and it is certainly the most common form of business-to- consumer
E-Commerce now in practice.

There are three routes into having an online sales presence:

  • buying space on an internet ‘shopping mall’ and letting someone manage the service for you;
  • buying an off-the-shelf shopfront/catalogue software package;
  • building a system from scratch.

Interactive Options

There are a host of features available to today’s web designer now that browsing technology (and what it can support) has become more stable. These broaden the scope of how visitors can make use of a site, and therefore strengthen the E-Commerce solution. They empower the visitor to find out all the information they need before purchasing something – whether that be directly through information or from peer review.

Options include:

  • password protected areas;
  • chat rooms;
  • bulletin boards/newsgroups;
  • catalogues;
  • credit card transactions.

Security

SSL vs SET

Confidentiality, Authentication, Integrity, Non-repudiation.

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