E-commerce (electronic commerce) is the buying and selling of goods and services on the Internet.
In general terms, eCommerce can be either direct, in the case of “virtual” items such as a service that can be provided, transferred and delivered to the client exclusively through the Internet, or indirect, involving physical items (a book, a compact disc or anything else) that can be ordered on the Internet but that will be physically transferred to the client in some way (through express courier or other means). Goods can be purchased by direct contact with the producer/seller or through a third party acting as an intermediary.
e-Commerce could be compared to the old mail order trading. As a matter of fact, it is a computer window in which the purchaser can select from a non-static catalogue comparing different offers and prices.
e-Commerce can also involve many other activities, such as for example electronic funds transfers or the purchase of financial products.