What is E-commerce and Can We Call It Something Else?

E-commerce is the act of selling or exchanging goods and services online via the Internet. Also referred to as eCommerce, electronic commerce and online shopping. It’s rumored that the first e-commerce transaction happened in 1972 between Stanford and MIT students who were selling marijuana to each other via their artificial intelligence lab, Arpanet 🤯. In 1991 the Interwebs aka the Internet was officially open for business and just 3 years later in 1994 the first e-commerce transaction happened. The first e-commerce sale took place on August 11th, 1994, where a Sting CD was purchased via credit card for $12.48. The sale took place on a the website NetMarket operated by a 21-year-old entrepreneur named Dan Kohn. It was the first e-commerce transaction protected by encryption.

Since then, e-commerce has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry that integrates seamlessly into our lives. You can find, buy and receive almost anything online; from freelancer services to goods and products. The digital landscape has benefited everyone with the convenience of instant transactions from the consumer side and the profitability of scalable transactions from the business owner’s side. Simply put, if you depending solely on offline transactions as a business owner, you’re leaving money on the table and missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with customers en masse.

The Five Types of E-commerce Models That Exist

  1. Business to business (B2B)
  2. Business to consumer (B2C)
  3. Consumer to consumer (C2C)
  4. Consumer to business (C2B)
  5. Business to business to consumer (B2B2C)

Now, that you understand the brief history of e-commerce and where the name comes from, let’s start a poll to rename it. Okay, maybe we won’t be able to re-write the official dictionary definitions but surely I would love to hear your opinion on names. Who knows, maybe urban dictionary will make it a thing.

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