Applications of E-Commerce

The major areas of business and commercial activities where E-commerce is widely used today includes trading of goods which comprises of marketing and selling, auctions of goods, financial services like banking and insurance. E-commerce is not limited to the areas discussed here but spreads many other developing areas for doing business and other activities.
Internet Bookshops 
One of the first applications of E-commerce is Internet bookshops. Customers prefer purchasing books on Internet as they do not require to be physically checked and can be easily described. Books can be easily shipped to the customers place little or no damage to them. Online bookstores need a good website displaying all the books category wise, picture of the cover page, description of the books including the number of pages, price of the book, discounts and reviews of other customers. The search of a book can be made by title of the book, author’s name or publication name. The online bookstores may also record the customer’s interests and inform them about new arrivals to attract and retain their interest.
Electronic Newspaper 
An electronic newspaper also known as E-newspaper is a newspaper that exists on the Internet in digital form. It has advantages over the printed newspaper and the news broadcasted on television and radios. It can give us up-to-date news on the issues that are happening worldwide. With the advent of digital technologies, the browser can be set to select the news as per the interest of the reader. It also removes the hassle of printing process and further help in reducing the costs. Majority of the leading newspaper now provide E-newspaper to the readers.
Online Auctions 
An auction is the process of buying and selling products or services by offering the customers to bid the price and selling the product to the highest bidder. The traditional auctions have limited participation of people. Today, the same auction mechanism can be implemented using E-commerce technologies which allow the people to bid on Internet. This is known as Online Auction. There are many websites providing live auctions of goods. These websites provide the platform for both the seller and the bidders. When a product is placed by someone for auction on these sites, he or she becomes the seller. At the same time if someone bids for a product which is placed by other sellers on the site, in that case one becomes a bidder. To sell an item through an online auction site, one needs to first register with the site. This is required so the items one sells or bids on, can be tracked and also to determine the winning bids and build a database of seller and bidder feedback. Members are also required to provide their basic contact information before they are allowed to sell. Then, the member must go through the site’s steps to sell each item that they want to put up for auction. The member generally puts a digital picture of the item and writes a brief description about the item. By placing goods for auction, a person can get a good price through bidding and once the target price is reached or the time limit is over, the item is transferred to the bidder. Various payment options are also provided to the bidder. The sellers can get the advantage of getting best price for their products and the bidders save time to get the product of their choice. 

Marketing and Selling
Many companies’ now-days conduct their business of marketing and selling of goods and services by their websites. They provide their product catalog online over Internet for better marketing. The catalog displays different categories of products with images, videos in some cases, brief description and features of the product. The customers can view the catalog and select the products of their choice by adding them to the shopping cart. An online shopping cart is similar to the original store shopping cart. The store, the customer selects the products and puts it in the shopping cart. When finished, the final billing is done for all the products in the shopping cart purchased by the customer. Similarly, in online shopping cart the customer can add the product, review what he/she has selected, make necessary modification or addition and finally order the products while checking out. The user needs to provide shipping detail. The payment of the purchase can also be made through Internet. Today, one can purchase groceries, toys, computer accessories, mobiles and many more products from Internet. Some websites provide holiday packages along with airline tickets. Today buying an airline or railway ticket can be easily bought online. Once the ticket is booked the E-copy of the ticket is sent on one’s mail as well as an SMS on one’s mobile. 

Online billing 
In online billing, companies send their bills to customers through E-mail. Once the customer receives the bills, he/she can pay on the company’s website using credit card or net banking facility. Companies who need to send the bills to a large number of customers periodically can use these facilities. 

Information Services
Many organizations use the Internet to provide latest information to their users or members. This includes educational institutes and universities, which provides the examination results, online enrollment forms, examination schedule and seating arrangement and important notices. Students can view their results using the website from anywhere. Another example of information services is the notices and reminders sent to the customers by the companies or banks. Many organizations provide various forms to be downloaded so that the customer can easily download and use it. Companies can also get the information or details about the customers by filling the forms online. 

Support services 
Support services have become increasingly important due to the huge technological changes that have taken place in the last decade. Today, even the simplest products utilize sophisticated electronics which require specialized knowledge and technical ability for the maintenance and support when any problem arises. After selling the products, companies are providing online support to the customers. For example, a company selling electronic product provides online complaint registration to their customers, which is then forwarded to the support engineer. Customers can also track the status of their complaint placed online. Software companies provide online support to their customers for any problem in installation, configuration or use. Software vendors also allow their licensed customers to download the recent updates of the software. Hardware vendors put software drivers for their devices so that the customer can download them by choosing proper product type and model. 

Net Banking
Net banking or electronic banking is getting more popular day by day. Sometimes a customer may want to make an urgent payment or check his account without visiting the bank due to some problems. Online banking can help the customers solve these problems. Online banking is the process of conducting the banking transactions over the Internet. Today majority of the leading banks have started providing online banking facility to its customers. With the help of online banking customers can avail the following services. Check account balance at any time. Transfer the money from one account to other. Obtain statements for any credit or debit. Find status of transactions. Pay various bills online like telephone, electricity and many more without going to the bank. The customer is provided with a password for online banking services with which he can log in to the bank site and performs all the banking activities from his computer or mobile.  

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