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Definition and Concept of Electronic Commerce


Electronic commerce is narrowly defined as buying and selling products/services over the Internet. The concept has been broadened to include all business activities of a sales cycle. The distinction between Ecommerce and E-business has become blurred. Ecommerce and Electronic Commerce has been used interchangeably, Electronic Business, however, has not been a widely accepted terminology.

David Kosiur described the Components of Electronic Commerce in three dimensions (Processes, Institutions and Networks) in his 1997 book Understanding Electronic Commerce. We expand Institutions as Ecommerce Players, Networks as Technologies and add Markets as the fourth dimension of Ecommerce.

Business Activities (Processes) of a sales life cycle

Technologies for automating sales life cycle


  • Regulations (Government Agencies)
  • Corporate
  • Consumers
  • Institutions

Markets (Industries)

  • E-Learning, online learning or distance learning
  • E-tailing
  • Online Trading and financial services
  • Online Dating Services
  • ...

The fifth possible dimension is market segments by geographical regions.

Related Topics
Benefits of Ecommerce - digitalization and networking
History of Ecommerce
Future of Ecommerce
Internet Users
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) - Overview and Standards
Key success factors in e-commerce
E-commerce problems
Ecommerce Product suitability - What Sells Best Online?


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