School of engineering and technological sciences



E- Commerce is the division of electronic business and is the process of buying or selling over internet, much like marketing but on the internet. Initially when Tim Berners-Lee programmed the internet, e-commerce was mainly meant to do Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Later as the internet developed the e-commerce also had developed. And with the development of E-Commerce the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) started regulating the activities of E-Commerce. E-Commerce includes anything from buying a virtual content for instant implementation to buying goods for domestic purposes.

The majority of people in the world today have used eBay to either buy or sell goods. The fact of the matter is that since eBay became known world wide it has drawn in millions of satisfied buyers and sellers. Working to eBay's advantage is the fact that there is not too much competition in this industry. When it comes down to it eBay is an online site that brings buyers and sellers together so that they can buy and sell goods on a world wide level. This concept has changed the way that people from all over do business.

If eBay sounds interesting to you there are some things that you need to be aware of before you get started. In order to get a good feel as to what eBay is all about you should search the site. And do more than just look it over a bit. There are many links that you can check out in order to get an idea of what is going on. These links will give you information on what you can and cannot do on the site, as well as how to get started. By doing this research you will be able to get started and ensure that you get the most out of your experience.

In addition to learning all of the rules that go along with doing business on eBay, you will also want to become very familiar with the fee structure that they use. This is important to know because eBay has undergone great scrutiny in recent years due to all of the pricing changes they have made. You will want to know how much money eBay is going to take from you as a seller, as well as what you can do in order to ensure that you still make a reasonable profit.

As a buyer on eBay you have less to worry about than if you are a seller. If you are going to be buying items all you need to worry about is finding what you want, and then arranging for shipping and payment. This will allow you to complete any transaction that you wish without having to go through any hoops to do so.

On the other hand if you are going to sell items on eBay there are a few more details to soak up before you get started. One of the most important details is knowing how to list items on the site. This means that you will have to learn how to write good descriptions and take good pictures. In addition, setting your prices is also a very important aspect of selling on eBay. Every price that you set is subject to a listing fee, and you will also have to pay a final value fee when you make a sale. Even though it may seem like selling on eBay is a long process, you should not be worried. The eBay system is easy to use, and you will pick up on it in no time.

What Is E-Commerce?

E- Commerce is a commercial transaction that involves the transfer of information across the internet. This covers a range of different types of businesses from consumer-based retail sites, like, through auction and music sites like eBay or, to business exchanges trading goods or services between corporations.

E- Commerce is the use of electronic communication to do business. It is not about technology and is not a new business. It is method for companies to create and operate their business in new and efficient ways. It represents the realization of digital, as opposed to paper-based, commercial transactions between businesses, between a business and its consumers, or between a government and its citizens or constituent business.

E-commerce is categorized by the Consumer- to- consumer (C2C) process in eBay.

Consumer to consumer is more like auctioning, bartending, etc.Where a consumer places bid and other buys it. Here the websites acts an intermediate for the business.

How does E- Commerce work?

For e- Commerce to work you need the following:

  • Customer
  • Internet
  • Web site host
  • Database
  • Method of payment
  • Distribution
  • Customer: Usually a person or company with access to the internet.
  • Internet: It is necessary. Without it the customer takes a trip to the shops.
  • Web site host: The trader or company selling it's goods must also have access to the internet. This is normally achieved via a web site host.
  • Database: Trader or company should provide this as the customers want to know what products the trader offers.
  • Method of payment: Method for customers to make payment for their required goods. This may be done electronically or more in a traditional method.
  • Distribution: Trader or company must provide an avenue for the goods and services to be dispatched to the customer either via postal delivery, courier or electronically.

What is eBay?

eBay is an online marketplace built to enable trade on a local, national and international basis. eBay offers an online platform where millions of items are traded each day through Online Auction Formats, also called auction-style listings,or through immediate "Buy It Now" Fixed Price and eBay Store listings.

eBay is a place to buy, sell, shop, collect, a website which is free for buyers and inexpensive for sellers and is socially responsible like the real world in many ways.

In general eBay is an online auction website allowing members to buy and sell items you want at competitive prices.

How does eBay works?

eBay is an amazing site that offers a service to both buyers and sellers. It works by allowing people to post things they want to sell. At the same time, those interested in buying such items can look for them and try to buy them. eBay is considered to be the market place around the world due to the diversity of items found on there from every single country.

It isn't uncommon for members of eBay to take part in both the buying and the selling aspect of things. In order to take part in these features you do have to have an account. Guests can look around on eBay but they can't buy or sell anything. It only takes a bit of time to set up your eBay account though and then you are ready to go.

eBay works differently for both buyers and sellers. With buyers, you will enter keywords about what you have to offer. You just follow the prompts and fill in the information as it is listed on the eBay site. You will want to upload photos of what you are selling as well. Pay attention to questions that people have and answer them.

When your listing has ended with a buyer, you will need to communicate with them about payment. Once you have received the payment you can ship the item to them. You should also leave feedback for that person that rates your experience working with them.

For buyers, you get to look around at what you want on the eBay site. Most of the items listed are sold on an auction basis. This means you bid a price you are willing to pay. If someone else outbids you, they get it. If you are the highest bidder when it ends then you get it. There are also Dutch auctions where the seller has more than one of the items to sale. The top bidders will each win one.

There is also BUY IT NOW listings where a person can choose to pay for the asking price right away. This means they instantly win it. A newer feature is the MAKE AN OFFER option. It allows buyers to tell you how much they are willing to pay for it. The seller can accept that offer, give a counter offer, or completely deny the offer.

Once you win an item on eBay, you are obligated to pay for it. You will communicate with the seller to determine the method of payment. Once you have received your item you need to remember to leave feedback for the seller.

eBay continues to strive to offer you the very best experience for both buying and selling. They do pay attention to consumer comments, complaints, and suggestions so that they can continue to make it even better. They are always complimented for continually adding new features to the site for the convenience of everyone. The fact that eBay is always willing to take risks as well as to evolve is what makes it work.

Example on how eBay works:

We don't have to register to take a look at what's available on eBay, but you do need to register if you want to buy or sell. It doesn't matter whether you register on, or any other international site - eBay user IDs work on every eBay site. Once you're registered, it's time to start buying and selling. The following example gives on how it works.

What are the rights and duties of the company or seller?

The seller or the company has a duty to process the binding order and send the ordered goods to the address mentioned in the order within three working days from receiving the order. If the method of payment is bank transfer, three days from receiving the money on the account. If the description of the product states longer delivery time this becomes the binding delivery time for the order.

If the conditions stated in 'Rights and duties of the buyer' are fulfilled the seller will pay back the sum paid by the buyer for the goods within seven working days from receiving the goods. The money will be sent to the address the goods were sent. The seller will not pay back the costs connected with sending the goods. (Packing and postage, COD fees etc.)

The seller declares that the personal information received from the buyer will be used strictly for reasons connected with the services of and will not be passed over to a third party, if it's not directly connected with fulfilling the orders. If asked on paper by the buyer according to 'Rights and duties of the buyer', the seller will erase all personal data regarding the buyer from the customers' database. If the buyer repeatedly refuses to collect and pay for the ordered goods according to 'Rights and duties of the buyer', the seller can hold or stop processing further orders by this buyer.

What are the rights and duties of the buyer?

The buyer will state a correct delivery address on the order. The buyer will collect all of the ordered goods and pay the full price as stated on the binding order (including postage, packaging, COD fees etc.). The buyer has a right to have all personal data erased from the customers' database of, if he/she hasn't completed any order. It will be done upon the request from the buyer sent on paper to the address of the seller. The request has to include login and password of the buyer.

If the buyer chooses to pay directly on the seller's bank account, the payment has to be on the sellers account within 14 days from placing the order. If the sum will not show up at the seller's account, the order will be cancelled.

What about trust issues of e- Commerce?

  • Privacy and fear of fraud
  • Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD)
  • SSL pretty good
  • Reliability
  • Order lost, card charged? Rare
  • Returning faulty goods
  • Customer support e.g. getting phone numbers, desire to speak to some one.

What about trust issues of eBay?

Those who make money selling on eBay know that one of the many things eBay takes pride in is its safety and security features which help protect its customers from fraudulent transactions and other security issues. Aside from their attentive staff and customer inquiry centre that is surely ready to help whenever you are in need or just have a few questions in your head - eBay have special features that help you shop online without much worries. So what are these features that we speak of? Well, let us tell you about eBay and their safety measures, here they are:

EBay Feedback system: What the title suggests! EBay gives you a voice when you need them. With the feedback system, you have the power to leave comments on the seller's and buyer's page and rate their performance accordingly. You can rate the seller or the buyer on every step of the way or just go big time and rate them at once. You can also leave comments to let them know how you found the transaction and whether or not there are points where they can improve on. If you want to make money selling on eBay do the right things the right way to keep the positive feedback rolling in.

PayPal system: The PayPal is another one of eBay's brain child that helps you make purchases on the internet without the fear of having your money or purchases stolen. You can trust PayPal to handle the transactions for you without additional charges too. PayPal is the real deal and it can handle your purchases without worries - if it's about eBay - PayPal's got it. Those make money selling on eBay know sales will increase since buyers trust PayPal.

EBay Toolbar with Account Guard: One of the best tools around! This toolbar helps you navigate around when you're in the eBay site or in the realms of PayPal. However, if you are somewhere else making purchases - this little trooper can tell you if the site may be fraudulent or not! Talk about keeping you safe!

EBay Security Centre: Your trusty eBay police! If there is anything about eBay or anything in and has happened in eBay - you know where to go! They have people ready and always on the go to assist you.

What are the Positive and Negative issues of E- Commerce?

There are so many positives in opening an ecommerce business online. For instance your business can be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and it can be open on holidays even when you are personally enjoying the festivities. Ecommerce is typically much less expensive to start than a brick and mortar counterpart. In many ways it may seem like a no-brainer to rush headlong into an ecommerce store.

However, some of the negatives should also be considered. For instance, your website may be geared to a worldwide audience, but when you launch the site it is simply a little known commodity on the edge of cyberspace. It's tough to have a grand opening online because it can take awhile for consumers to find you. So much rests on the rankings of site engines to help ecommerce stores get up and running.

One of the things that consumers like about ecommerce shopping is also one of the things that business owners find most challenging - no personal contact with buyer. Your automated ecommerce solution helps maximize productivity while minimizing direct interaction with customers. Some sense of contact can be initiated through auto responders that provide helpful tips and/or instructions to assist the buyer with their new purchase or in understanding your business a little bit better.

Online businesses have discovered ways to present the possibility of consumer input...

  • Business Blog (Bblog) - This allows you to post personal items about the product, yourself and your ecommerce store. For certain customers this provides a personal touch they may still desire. It also allows you some level of personal interaction with consumers.
  • Forum - This allows business owners to read up on what customers are saying about the product. Questions can be answered and elements of the personal touch can be clearly seen.
  • Feedback Form - Allow consumers the opportunity to provide feedback (both good and bad) that will be automatically posted on your website. This can help other customers make a decision because the feedback did not originate with a member of your ecommerce team. When the feedback is bad make sure to respond and if the product truly is not a solid performer make sure to remove it from your line up of available products. Even unhappy consumers can appreciate your willingness to do the right thing.

Most consumers are happy they don't have to talk to a sales associate. As a business owner you should also be thrilled that this knowledge provides you with an opportunity to reach out to disenfranchised consumers with a product they need in an environment they are comfortable with. Just make sure your do your best to optimize your website so search engines can rank your site in the best possible way.

What are the Pros and Cons of eBay?

Pros of eBay

  • eBay has very stringent rules about advertising a company website or including external links on a traditional auction listed on eBay. However, you can direct traffic to your eBay store, which becomes a cost effective way of securing new customers.
  • Promoting inventory on an eBay store is very inexpensive, with each product costing as little as $0.02 per month. This is an effective way to advertise items and increase brand awareness for very little cost.
  • New robust functionality features for eBay store owners now allows sellers to customize stores to increase company brand awareness. Standard functions now include includes email marketing, web analytics, and merchandising tools.
  • A new feature at eBay: eBay has started to show store listings within search results ONLY if the regular search returns less than 10 items.
  • eBay Stores allow sellers to promote their brand and list hundreds of items at a fraction of the cost of listing them on the traditional eBay auction format.
  • eBay Stores can now be tailored and monitored in much the same way that a private company website can.
  • eBay store allows impatient consumers, who are looking for a bargain but want it now, to purchase quickly without having to bid and wait for an auction to close.

Cons of eBay

  • eBay Store items do not generally show up in the eBay search. This means that items listed in store inventory are not receiving the same amount of exposure as auction listings.
  • Products listed in an eBay store usually sell for less than the same item might sell for in a company website. This may translate to reduced revenues or smaller profit margins. However, large volume sellers can make up for this profit gap by moving more merchandise on an eBay store due to increase traffic and product exposure.
  • eBay stores are not free! A basic store setup costs $15.95 per month. If you want a featured store, the cost runs closer to $50 monthly. Of course, for high volume power sellers, an anchor store will cost $500 a month. Therefore, depending on your eBay store setup, you must generate enough sales to cover costs and make a profit.

What are the UK and EU laws relating to E- Commerce?

The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 govern the conduct of electronic commerce in the UK. They are a key part of our online law and impact many online activities.

That said, e-commerce law is about much more than the 2002 Regulations. The English law of contract governs online as well as offline contracting. The key tenets of contract law are to be found in the long history of judgments and decisions by the courts, supplemented by legislation such as the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.

  • The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 - These are the UK implementing Regulations for the Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market
  • Guide to the E-commerce Regulations - This Dti guide is designed to help businesses deal with the impact of the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002.
  • The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 - These are the UK implementing Regulations for Directive 97/7/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 1997 on the protection of consumers in respect of distance contracts

Brief Review of the point of law

In addition to the requirements above, certain other information must be given where you are selling online, whether to businesses or consumers:

  • The technical steps to follow to conclude the contract;
  • Whether or not the contract will be filed and/or permanently accessible;
  • The technical means for identifying and correcting input errors prior to placing orders;
  • Languages offered for the conclusion of the contract;
  • Provide a link to any relevant codes of conduct to which you subscribe (unnecessary if the contract is concluded by email); and
  • Your terms and conditions must be made available in a way which allows a user "to store and reproduce" them (again, unnecessary if the contract is concluded by e-mail).

What is your opinion on the way forward to e-Commerce & e-Bay?

Opinion on e-Commerce

During tough times brands tend to redirect above-the-line marketing spends to below-the-line opportunities. The unprecedented economic circumstances facing us today mean a sharp decline in marketing spend across the board -- with only investment in digital rising. It's therefore no surprise that retailers are looking to digital techniques to manage customer interactions and to optimize marketing activity and every pound of marketing spends.

This doesn't mean mass marketing through digital channels -- retailers have an opportunity to differentiate themselves by implementing tactical yet highly targeted digital campaigns. Unlike many other brands marketing online, retailers are blessed with sophisticated and flexible ecommerce platforms that handle valuable data relating to consumers and transactions. They have the opportunity to produce the type of personal cross-channel communications to which most brands merely aspire.

Today's online retailers also face a significant challenge, in servicing a market that increasingly seeks out information from social networks, forums and comparison sites -- as well as direct from retailers themselves. This has led to retailers creating Web 2.0 features such as customer review and rating, engaging media rich content, collaborative filtering navigation and search techniques.

Beyond this, making brands' communications personal and impactful -- by cutting through the noise -- has become a major priority, and it's this angle that has driven the development of a technique known as "synaptic marketing". So called because of its likeness to a "digital brain" in accessing and analyzing multiple inputs instantly, synaptic marketing involves combining data from online (e.g. browsing and purchase history) and offline (e.g. purchase and customer service interactions).

The result is a comprehensive and real-time view of the customer that drives complex and dynamic decisions on which messages are shown to which customers, and when. These messages are then delivered to the customer through whichever channel they choose to use, or is identified as most pertinent to the interaction in question.

Based on proven direct marketing principles, the challenge behind this technique has been to create an environment in which data can be held, analysed and acted upon without interruption -- either to the business or the site/communications channel. At the heart of this is the combination of technology and analytical expertise --the "gold dust" of skilled people with a commercial and statistical focus. Furthermore, data is held and managed using a "data light" principle, based on identifying key data items and drawing on them only when needed. As well as seeing the benefits of this truly bespoke communication right now, smart retail marketers will be looking ahead to identify and implement leading edge technology as a prelude to future advances in this concept.

For example: "Web 3.0" -- defined as a collection of small, customizable applications using data "in the cloud" and running fast on any device -- has extraordinary potential.

The principle is that processes will have more built-in intelligence -- thereby reducing the amount of input and context needed from the user. The key within an e-retailing landscape could be to aggregate large groups of data held within user logins, friend lists, messaging systems and feeds for relevant targeting and viral distribution, while integrating with payment systems and online wallets in order to close the loop for ecommerce transactions.

To begin the technical journey towards this, mature e-retailers need to focus on how best to eliminate data silos between applications and data objects in applications, thereby enabling the deduction of meaningful relationships between users and behavioral data.

It's important to note that these types of approaches are based on the understanding that either the consumer's permission to use their data has been sought, or that the activity is based on non Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

Adhering to the principles of permission and privacy are a vital prerequisite to any marketing activity, and even more pertinent when we reach this level of data-driven decision making.

Web 3.0 at present is more akin to science fiction -- tellingly I don't believe that we yet have access to the kind of artificial decision engine needed to make this level of intelligent connection between data.

Generating insight to direct relevant and meaningful interactions with customers is already happening, in the discussed synaptic marketing technique.

The only difference here is the necessary (human) analytical element, which ensures that the scope of possible outcomes is comprehensive enough to meet the level of data input being made.

If Web 2.0 was concerned with making the web a compelling application interface platform, then the next stage of evolution would be leveraging this interface platform with open data interfaces and combined services, to create a more dynamic value chain, and to initiate multi-business solutions that help customers live more productive and profitable professional and personal lives.

While there aren't yet computers that can approach the remarkable feats the human mind can perform -- necessary to drive Web 3.0's ultimate potential -- the benefits of this kind of joined up thinking are already becoming accessible.

Opinion on e-Bay

I may not be right, nor may I be the "majority" of ebay customers, but from my perspective and previous purchases on EBay, I personally prefer to buy from sellers who have taken the time to build their own store. To me this shows that the seller is active and is planning on being around through the EBay site for a fairly long time. I feel more comfortable purchasing their items than purchasing an item that is "singly" listed on the eBay site.

Now, is this "easier" for the seller? I doubt it - I don't sell on Ebay so don't really know, but from a glance it would take more time to setup a store and collectively list all your items in such a way as it makes sense. But I think it adds "professionalism" to your products as long as your store is thought out well. I do not like those Ebay stores that are all gibberish and you are lost in not knowing where to find the product they promise - Simple is best sometimes.

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