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Ecommerce has changed the way the world does business. Short for electronic commerce, eCommerce is defined as “the buying and selling of products or services over the Internet or other electronic systems.“ This type of trade has grown by leaps and bounds in the past ten years. In 2008, eCommerce accounted for over 140 billion dollars in retail sales. Modern eCommerce typically uses the World Wide Web and also encompasses email, electronic funds transfers, Internet marketing, online merchant accounts, eCommerce accounting software and techniques and electronic data interchange. Most eCommerce involved the sale of physical items through online retailers. However, it can also be used to describe commerce for exclusive virtual items such as access to premium content on a website.

Ecommerce involves Internet marketing, which is the marketing of a product or service over the Internet to customers worldwide. Internet marketing is a valuable tool and involves the usage of several components of the World Wide Web, including web design, development, advertising and sales. Ecommerce accounting software is available to help you keep your internet business on track, and merchant accounts allow for convenience and increased sales by use of credit and debit cards. Ecommerce tax is a specific component of electronic commerce. Most people think that no sales tax is ever paid on items or services purchased online - however this is not always the case. Whether or not an online business charges sales tax depends on whether the business has an actual physical presence in your state. This process of determination varies state by state (please see our section on ecommerce sales tax.)

According to The Economist: July 3–9, 2010:
“Economists have theorized that e-commerce ought to lead to intensified price competition, as it increases consumers' ability to gather information about products and prices. Research by four economists at the University of Chicago has found that the growth of online shopping has also affected industry structure in two areas that have seen significant growth in e-commerce, bookshops and travel agencies.”


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