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Electronic-commerce (commonly referred to as E-Commerce or eCommerce; also abbreviated as E-com, ECOM, or eCom) is the convergence of computer science and business. It represents the act of doing business using electronic technologies, particularly as it relates to the sale of goods or services.

E-Commerce tends to refer to a particular subset of E-Business, with focus on consumer-facing commercial activities.


Common topics of E-Commerce include:

  1. Graphic Design (logos, artwork, visual image design)
  2. Web Development (HTML, xHTML, HTML5) & Web Design (CSS)
  3. Mobile Web Development (WAP, xHTML, HTML5)
  4. Front-end Web Applications (JSP, ASP, PHP)
  5. Database Management technologies (Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL)
  6. Web Analytics & SEO (user/device, log/usage & traffic source/referer analysis)
  7. Data Mining (OLAP, extraction/scraping, visualization)
  8. Behavioral Targeting (BT)
  9. Content Management Systems (CMS)
  10. E-Procurement (auctions, online retail, shopping carts, etc)
  11. E-Payment (financial transactions, credit card processing, ATM, NFC, etc)
  12. E-Security (Encryption, DRM, Anti-Virus, Policies, PCI compliance, etc)


Sales of goods

Selling a product online.



Sales of services

Selling a service online that you yourself offer, or, on behalf of another person.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate programs offer incentives to those who promote their products/services in the form of "kickbacks", typically financial rewards, credits, or a small % of the sales as profit margin.


Dropshipping is procuring B2B or B2C sales of a given product/service on behalf of the product/service manufacturer and/or wholesaler. In this model, frequently used in small home businesses, an individual basically becomes an informal sales agent for a company that has an inventory of products/services to provide, but who typically does not employ (staff) any or sufficient numbers of sales representatives. As a result, dropshipping helps both the small business & home entrepreneur gain a small margin by acting as a facilitator of the sale, and, the company with excess inventory by providing another medium through which to reach customers and move their products/services.


Selling advertising space against original content you've published, and in some cases, within legal requirements (such as copyright and content reuse), against embedded or otherwise re-marketed third-party content, is one of the primary means of conducting commerce electronically.

Email Campaigns

Email Campaigns are a main Marketing tool of E-Commerce, and can be quite productive to drive traffic and purchase activity when utilized in careful moderation with precision of targeting users with information they actually want and need so will find useful/helpful.

Common types of Email Campaigns include:

  • Welcome/onboarding
  • Abandonment cart
  • Cross-sell
  • Upsell
  • VIP customer emails
  • Product review
  • Product replenishment
  • Shipping reminders

In addition, users can be segmented into “customers” and “leads” categories.

Legal Requirements

Different countries have different legal requirements in terms of legality of selling products/services online (what can be sold, by who, how, when, what licenses or permits are required, etc). Main examples of E-Commerce activities posing serious legal problems are Gambling, Pornography and/or Adult Services, which comprise a large portion of E-Commerce but yet is illegal in many jurisdictions and geo-political regions. Unfortunately for honest businesses looking to make a buck without exploiting people or their bodies, porn has proven to be one of the most profitable, low-cost and high-return E-Commerce Business Models. Although, with an increasing amount of retail business of all types happening online, so-called "legitimate" is quickly starting to regain its share of all E-Commerce sales as well. Another good example is auctioning online; before eBay legitamized online auctions, they were forbidden in many geo-political regions. Other prime considerations apart from what can be sold and related questions, center around how the actual transactions must be carried out, secured, recorded/logged, accounted for and taxed, as well guaranteed and supported by the retailer (seller) after the purchase by the consumer (buyer).


In Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is in charge of all income tax and business revenue taxation.





There are a set of semantics within the E-Commerce domain that describes terms and models. GoodRelations is a lightweight ontology for annotating offerings on the Web.







Shopping Cart

[12] [13] [14]



Product Lookup

Comparison Shopping



Selling Engines

[16] [17]

Promotion Platforms

Shipping Costs



Build a Content Management System for an E-commerce Store with Next.js and Sanity: https://egghead.io/learn/ecommerce/build-a-content-management-system-for-an-e-commerce-store-with-nextjs-and-sanity

External Links


  1. Most Consumers Are Using BOPIS -- Or Will, Study Finds: https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/362136/most-consumers-are-using-bopis-or-will-study-f.html
  2. E-Commerce in Japan – English sites offer quality Japanese products: http://www.stippy.com/japan-work/english-language-ecommerce-sites-offer-latest-japanese-products/
  3. A podcast conversation about GoodRelations, with Martin Hepp and Jamie Taylor: http://cloudofdata.com/2010/02/a-podcast-conversation-about-goodrelations-with-martin-hepp-and-jamie-taylor/
  4. CSS @media browser support summary (2011): http://web.archive.org/web/20110102091651/http://www.codestyle.org/css/media/print-BrowserSummary.shtml
  5. Receipt Printing (alternative stylesheet for regular Printer): http://stackoverflow.com/questions/656906/receipt-printing
  6. Javascript receipt printing using POS Printer: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/11463787/javascript-receipt-printing-using-pos-printer
  7. Bootstrap -- web order receipt example: http://www.prepbootstrap.com/bootstrap-template/simple-invoice
  8. MS Office templates - Invoices: http://templates.office.com/en-us/Invoices
  9. Canadian cross-border shopping: https://www.kinek.com/cross-border-shopping
  10. Shipping to the Border: https://www.kinek.com/shipping-to-the-border
  11. ReviewsAhoy (list of sites powered by JReviews): http://www.reviewsahoy.com/
  12. Who are competitors to Magento?: http://www.quora.com/Who-are-competitors-to-Magento (Complete list of Top OSS E-Commerce solutions)
  13. Flying Images to Shopping Cart, Animated Add to Cart using jQuery: https://w3lessons.info/2014/02/11/flying-images-to-shopping-cart-animated-add-to-cart-using-jquery/ | DEMO
  14. addEventListener to multiple checkboxes: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/51433092/addeventlistener-to-multiple-checkboxes
  15. wikipedia: Price comparison service
  16. Top 10 Shopping/Sales Platforms: http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/study/2097413/shopping-engines
  17. wikipedia: Online shopping
  18. 2016 UPS RATES -- Air Freight Within and Between Canada & US: https://www.ups.com/media/en/af_zones_rates_upc.pdf
  19. How do I calculate how much postage I need for a letter or parcel?: https://www.canadapost.ca/web/en/kb/details.page?article=how_to_calculate_you&cattype=kb&cat=sending&subcat=ratesdimensions
  20. Downloadable Shipping Rates by class of "Business Shipping": https://www.usps.com/business/prices.htm
  21. CanadaPost API (SOAP/WSDLs): http://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/business/productsservices/developers/soap/wsdlfiles.jsf
  22. Canada Post API: http://www.programmableweb.com/api/canadapost
  23. http://www.programmableweb.com/api/buysafe
  24. http://www.programmableweb.com/api/lijit
  25. Why 3 MIT Grads Want to Send You an Empty Box: http://www.wired.com/business/2013/05/one-click-selling/
  26. wikipedia: Taxation in the United States
  27. wikipedia: Sales taxes in the United States
  28. State and Local Sales Tax Rates in 2014: http://taxfoundation.org/article/state-and-local-sales-tax-rates-2014
  29. wikipedia: Taxation in Canada
  30. wikipedia: Sales taxes in Canada
  31. 30+ Responsive E-Commerce templates: http://designsmaz.com/ecommerce-responsive-html-templates/
  32. Dr. Robert Cialdini and 6 principles of persuasion: http://www.influenceatwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/E_Brand_principles.pdf
  33. Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Influence & Persuasion: http://awealthofcommonsense.com/2016/09/cialdinis-6-principles-of-influence-persuasion/
  34. Build a Shopping Cart With PHP and MySQL - New Premium Tutorial: http://net.tutsplus.com/tutorials/php/build-a-shopping-cart-with-php-and-mysql-new-plus-tutorial/
  35. Enhance a CodeIgniter Shopping Cart with jQuery: http://net.tutsplus.com/tutorials/php/how-to-build-a-shopping-cart-using-codeigniter-and-jquery/
  36. Examples of shipping rates at Shopify: https://help.shopify.com/manual/shipping/rates-and-methods/examples#shipping-rates-based-on-quantity-purchased
  37. OpenCola Softdrink RECIPE: http://www.colawp.com/colas/400/cola467_recipe.html
  38. How to make Coca-Cola and Open Cola: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-04/15/making-your-own-cola

See Also

E-Business | E-Payment | M-Commerce | Retail | CMS | E-Learning | LBS | BT | Digital Currency | Business Model | Metrics