E-commerce, short for electronic commerce, refers to the buying and selling of goods or services over the internet, providing convenience and accessibility to customers and businesses alike.

What does E-commerce mean?

E-commerce, short for electronic commerce, refers to the buying and selling of goods and services over the internet. It encompasses a wide range of business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) transactions, including Online shopping, digital downloads, and virtual services. E-commerce has revolutionized the way businesses operate and consumers shop, enabling seamless transactions and access to a global marketplace.


E-commerce has numerous applications in technology today:

  • Online shopping: E-commerce platforms like Amazon and eBay allow consumers to purchase a vast array of products from the comfort of their homes, 24/7.
  • Digital downloads: Services like Apple’s App Store and Google Play allow users to purchase and download digital content such as apps, movies, and music.
  • Virtual services: E-commerce enables businesses to offer services online, such as cloud computing, Software as a service (SaaS), and consulting.
  • Business-to-business transactions: E-commerce marketplaces like Alibaba connect businesses with suppliers and buyers, facilitating efficient B2B operations.
  • Subscription services: Subscription-based e-commerce models allow consumers to receive regular deliveries of products or access to services, such as beauty boxes and Streaming platforms.

The importance of e-commerce in technology stems from its convenience, accessibility, and global reach. It provides businesses with new channels for growth and distribution, while empowering consumers with more choice, information, and personalized shopping experiences.


The roots of e-commerce can be traced back to the 1970s with the advent of electronic fund transfer (EFT) systems and the development of early online shopping prototypes. In the early 1990s, the internet and World Wide Web (WWW) laid the foundation for modern e-commerce.

  • 1994: Amazon was founded as an online bookstore, marking a significant milestone in e-commerce history.
  • 1995: eBay was launched as an auction platform, providing a space for individuals to sell and buy goods.
  • 1998: PayPal was founded, offering a secure payment gateway for online transactions.
  • Early 2000s: The dot-com bubble burst, but e-commerce continued to grow steadily.
  • 2010s: The rise of smartphones and mobile apps further accelerated the adoption of e-commerce.
  • Today: E-commerce is an integral part of the global economy, with continued innovations in technology and payment systems shaping its future.