E-commerce is a word to describe buying and selling online, using technology like computers or mobile devices. It can refer to transactions over email, social media, websites, and any other software or applications.
Internet banking is a system that enables customers of a bank or other financial institution to conduct most of its financial transactions through the bank’s website or mobile app. Customers no longer have to go into a bank branch. Any customer with internet access can obtain account balances, transfer money, pay bills, stop payment on a cheque, advise of a change of address, and many other tasks. Most banks enable customers to download copies of bank statements or download transactions directly into other accounting software such as QuickBooks.
Online Shopping and Order Tracking
Online shopping allows customers to purchase products directly on the internet. Customers can search for and compare products, place an order, and complete transactions with methods of payment such as a credit card, PayPal, or cash on delivery. Customers can shop online using most computers and mobile devices.
A shopping cart is a piece of software installed on an online shopping website that enables customers to easily add many items to an order, review the order, change quantities, and more. It will even store an uncompleted order for customers who leave the website and come back days or weeks later. Shopping carts are an important tool for e-commerce because they greatly increase the volume of sales.
Similar to buying products online, you can also purchase services. Many online services are available to purchase online, including outsourced office work, data entry, accounting, errands, tourism services, and more. A common example is online hotel booking, in which a customer can book a hotel room via sites such as Agoda.com or Booking.com.
Electronic tickets, or e-tickets, are the digital equivalent to paper tickets and are rapidly replacing paper. E-tickets can be purchased online for many purposes, such as air or train travel, concerts and theatre shows, or business events like conferences, networking events, and expos.
Online Office Suites
Online office suites provide software in a web browser or app to replace computer-based software like Microsoft Office. This software can be accessed online from any internet-connected devices and can facilitate live collaboration on shared documents. This makes it easy to work together with a global team at any time. One example is Google Drive, which provides word-processing documents, spreadsheets, presentation slides, forms, maps, and more.
Teleconference, Online Conference, or Video Call
These applications connect several people remotely with voice or video, and some include screen sharing so participants can see a shared document. To use these systems, your computer or mobile device must have a camera and microphone. There are many teleconferencing systems available. Simple systems like Google Hangouts or Skype will work on a mobile device or computer. A desktop application such as Zoom or Cisco WebEx will work only between computers. More complex systems are available that use specialized video cameras, projectors, phone systems, and dedicated control hardware, which enables teleconferencing with no computers involved.
Automated Online Assistant or Digital Assistant
Online digital assistant applications are based on an artificial intelligence platform. A digital assistant is like an employee who can work continuously with no complaints but can only perform the specific tasks it was designed to do. There are digital assistants that can book travel or purchase tickets, search reference information and answer questions, and more. One common example is the customer service assistant. When a customer accesses a company’s website or clicks “contact customer service,” the customer is offered a chat window. The customer can type a question and the digital assistant will reply instantly, as long as the question and answer have been preprogrammed into the assistant software.
Open Source E-commerce Software
If your business is intending to sell services or products online directly, rather than through a distributor, you will need to have a fully functional e-commerce website, including a shopping cart, secure payment processing, customer service, and more. Building a website like this can be expensive. If the available software is too expensive for your business, open source software may be a more affordable solution.