E-commerce has transformed the manner in which businesses and individuals conduct their business transactions. As a result, most business institutions as well as individuals have gotten used to this form of transacting business. By definition, e-commerce or electronic commerce is the exchanging, selling, and buying of goods and services via computer networks, particularly over the Internet (Laudon & Trevor, 2011). In most cases terms of sale and all transactions are performed electronically. It is not surprising that e-commerce has spread across industries and business institutions such as banks.
E-commerce can be grouped in four major categories; namely, B2B, B2C, C2B, and C2C.
B2B or Business-to-Business
This occurs when one business transacts with another business online. A good example is when a manufacturer conducts business transactions with a wholesaler online e.g., Heinze selling ketchup to McDonald. Almost 80 percent of e-commerce is a B2B
B2C or Business-to-Consumer
Laudon & Trevor (2011) assert that this type of e-commerce involves consumers or customers gathering information about a service or product then purchasing or receiving these products via an electronic network. Most of the time a company sells goods to the consumer through catalogs using shopping cart software, for example Apple sells a laptop to a client through the Internet.
C2B or Consumer-to-Business
This arises when a consumer posts a business or a project with a set budget where companies are expected to review the consumer requirements and place their bids on the project. The consumer then reviews these bids and selects a company that is in a better position to complete it. Firms like Elance provide a platform and meeting ground for such transactions.
C2C or Consumer-to-Consumer
In this type of e-commerce, two consumers transact business among themselves with or without third parties. These transactions are enabled through online payment systems such as PayPal, which can be found in online sites that offer free forums, auction and classified services.
A comparison of Electronic Payment Systems
Electronic payment systems are good examples of e-commerce. It is undeniable that these systems will continue grow as businesses and banks create more opportunities to use them (O’Mahony et al., 2001). This discourse makes a comparison and contrast between digital wallets, micropayments, accumulated balance, stored value and digital checking payment systems. Digital wallet payment systems allow buyers to store their personal information online and fill this information at a checkout form. This prevents buyers from doing this manually every time they want to buy something. On the other hand, micropayment systems allow online buyers to make payments under $10, which are very small for credit card payments. Accumulated balance payment system allows the users to make purchases and micropayments (O’Mahony et al., 2001). Any debit balances that may arise are stored for future payments via phone bill or credit card. Stored value payment systems allow users to make prompt and instant payment based on a stored digital balance such as PayPal. Digital checking systems allow users to extend the functionality of existing online accounts for shopping. As compared to most conventional checking systems, this payment system is much faster. Laudon, K & Laudon, J. (2011) believe that each system is different in its own way. Nevertheless, they are similar due to the fact that they are electronic payment systems. Personally, stored payment value system is my preferred electronic payment system. Based on my preferences and the organizations I interact with, I tend to interact with the digital wallet payment system.
How Internet Technology supports business-to-business e-commerce
As revealed in the above discourse, business-to-business e-commerce is supported by Internet technology because the Internet provides a platform on which e-commerce transaction runs. This means that without Internet technology, e-commerce would not exist.