E-commerce is the biggest thing to happen to retail since the mail order catalog—and it’s perhaps even bigger than that. In fact, the significance of electronic commerce (e-commerce) in relation to commerce is on par with the significance of electronic mail (e-mail) vis-à-vis what we now call “snail mail.” Think about that. Consider how many e-mails you’ve sent this week compared to how many handwritten or typed letters you sent by post. That’s the kind of revolutionary change that’s happening in the world of e-commerce—and much of it has already occurred. Consumers all over the world are buying and selling products, services and virtual goods on the Internet. In fact, by 2009, online retail and e-commerce sales were estimated at $173 billion. But e-commerce is still on the uptick, and there are fields of opportunities for budding entrepreneurs and established retailers looking to expand onto the web. From reaching a wider audience to streamlining the customer experience and going green with online catalogs and paperless billing, e-commerce opens numerous doors.
At the same time that e-commerce creates opportunities; it presents a unique set of challenges. From security issues, interstate legal issues, customer relationships, payment systems, shopping cart systems, website development and more, e-commerce is as complex as it is promising. To help you navigate the intricacies of e-commerce, we’ve dedicated an entire subcategory within our Business directory to E-commerce. Our E-commerce directory includes links, websites, articles and other useful resources that will help you profit and prosper while moving your product.