E-commerce (also electronic commerce) comprises the electronic sales process of products or services, including the corresponding payment processes and services.
More specific, e-commerce entails all business relationships conducted via the internet between suppliers, who use the internet exclusively (as pure players) or additionally (as multi-channel distributors) to stationary or traditional mail order business, and online consumers.
A central advantage of e-commerce is that sales processes can be carried out by the customer independent of location and time. On the provider side, the enormous reach and a considerable reduction in transaction costs with business partners are the key advantages. However, the physical distance between supplier and consumer still needs to be overcome for physical services and thus requires corresponding logistics capacities of the supplier (e.g. Amazon).
Since e-commerce has been playing a central role in the sales strategy of many consumer goods companies for quite some time, industrial goods companies also increasingly use internet-based sales channels as an addition to personal direct sales. This often leads to the generation of new customer groups and achieves cost advantages.