E-Commerce: History
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E-commerce platforms enable companies of all sizes to sell their items and promote their brand to a broader audience. The e-commerce sector is continually developing, as new technology and methods of purchasing and selling services and items are developed. 

  • e-commerce
  • benefits
  • challenges
  • transactions

1. Introduction

As the world evolves into a more digitalized form, so do people’s necessities and indulgences. Consumers increasingly prefer purchasing online to physically visiting stores [1][2]. With e-commerce, the majority of interactions between the customer and vendor occur online. Thus, they need to communicate through a secure method. The security of online interactions, especially online transactions, is not always guaranteed [1]. There have been more security breaches documented in which third parties obtained huge quantities of data [3][4]. Certain individuals are continually attempting to break security and exploit network vulnerabilities. Blockchain comes into play here. Blockchain is a peer-to-peer automated access-control manager and decentralized trustless network with a public ledger, in which members may connect without trusted middlemen or harmful actions [3][5]. The extensive use of encryption in blockchain provides the interactions between each network node a feeling of authority [5].
E-commerce refers to online purchasing and selling. However, e-commerce is more than just a financial transaction between a client and a business. It also covers non-financial interactions between the firm and its consumers [6]. In current times, a transaction is considered to be electronic commerce if it frequently utilizes the World Wide Web at any stage in the transaction’s lifecycle [7][8]. Existing review studies categorized and systematically organized the current e-commerce literature. Ngai and Wat [9], in one of the earliest e-commerce review papers, divided the field into three distinct areas: implementation and support (e.g., corporate strategy and public policy), technological issues (e.g., support systems, network technology, and security), and applications (e.g., marketing, payment systems, and inter-organizational systems). Recent e-commerce review studies focused on themes such as reference architectures [10], recommendation systems [11], online consumer behavior research [12], e-commerce in particular geographical locations [13], and trust building for consumer interactions [14]. In addition to identifying the most important factors for the success of e-commerce, these frameworks are of interest to both practitioners and academics because they help to identify criteria that could promote widespread e-commerce adoption and provide guidelines for developing successful applications.
Several scholarly publications have thoroughly researched the origins of e-commerce. By demonstrating how information technology has transformed e-commerce via the production of business network-based value, Kauffman et al. [15] concluded that the sector has undergone a digital transition. Wu et al. [16] develop a model in which firm characteristics such as competitor and customer orientation, as well as the competitive environment measured by normative pressures and customer power, organizational learning capability, and top management emphasis, represented success factors and adoption antecedents in their analysis of the intensity of e-business adoption and its impact on business performance. Uncertainty in the market and technology has a moderating effect on performance results. The regulatory environment (i.e., e-government compliance procedures and e-government services), a firm’s size, and supply chain power, which also includes supplier power, are all included as new antecedents in Roberts and Toleman’s [17] extension of the model. Additional studies based on theoretical frameworks such as the use of technology (UTAUT) (facilitating conditions, social influence, effort expectancy, performance expectancy), technology acceptance model (TAM) (perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness), and unified theory of acceptance [18][19] distinguished between decision-maker characteristics, innovation characteristics, and environmental factors [20]. An in-depth study of the elements that contribute to successful and efficient e-commerce operations is possible because of the amount of scholarly research that has been produced over the last two decades.

2. Types of E-Commerce

The context of e-commerce, including its history and development, is closely related to the current categories of e-commerce transactions. Over the years, the evolution of e-commerce has resulted in the emergence of new forms of transactions and business models. There are various forms of e-commerce:
  • Business-to-consumer (B2C)—This is the most prevalent form of e-commerce, in which businesses sell directly to consumers via online marketplaces, websites, or mobile applications.
  • Business-to-business (B2B)—This involves the sale of goods or services by businesses to other businesses. This may include wholesale purchases or relationships with vendors.
  • Consumer-to-consumer (C2C)—This occurs when consumers sell products or services to other consumers via online marketplaces, classified advertisements, or auction sites.
  • Consumer-to-business (C2B)—This involves the sale of products or services by consumers to businesses. This includes independent contractors, consultants, and small businesses selling specialized goods or services.
  • Business-to-administration (B2A)—This involves the sale of goods and services by businesses to government agencies and other public sector organizations. This can include items such as online tax filing and procurement systems.
  • Consumer-to-administration (C2A)—In this form of e-commerce, consumers can interact with government agencies or other public sector organizations via online portals, such as paying taxes or gaining access to government services.
The evolution of e-commerce transactions has been driven by technological advancements and alterations in consumer behavior. In the future, the emergence of new forms of e-commerce transaction can be anticipated as technology continues to advance.

3. Industry 4.0 and E-Commerce

Industry 4.0 manufacturing has recently seen a rise in intelligent customization and mass personalization production. Using digital technology and e-commerce, mass personalization takes into account each unique client and gives them the option to personalize the product [21]. Industry 4.0, which is characterized by the merging of the physical and digital worlds, has been gradually expanding beyond the industrial sector to other sectors, particularly the e-commerce sector. E-commerce players have begun to transform their business strategies using Industry 4.0 technology [22]. The customization process connected to Industry 4.0 technology presents a huge possibility for ongoing growth for the e-commerce sector. E-commerce has accelerated company and consumer digitization and produced productive digital workflows.
The rise of Industry 4.0, the current trend in industrial technology toward automation and data interchange, has accelerated the integration of blockchain and e-commerce. By using technologies such as IoT, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence (AI), Industry 4.0 seeks to develop smart factories that are more productive, adaptable, and sustainable. By offering a safe and open platform for online transactions, blockchain has the potential to transform e-commerce. By producing an unchangeable record of transactions, the technology may help overcome problems such as fraud, cyberattacks, and data breaches, improving customer adoption and involvement and boosting trust and confidence in online transactions.
In the context of Industry 4.0, blockchain technology may enable safe and automated data and information flow between machines and systems. This can result in more productive and efficient manufacturing processes, and allow transparent and traceable supply chain management. For example, blockchain technology can be used to produce a safe and transparent record of a product’s place of origin, the standard of the product, and its safety, increasing customer safety and confidence in the manufacturing sector. Industry 4.0’s use of blockchain technology and e-commerce has the potential to fundamentally alter how we trade and handle data, resulting in more effective, secure, and environmentally friendly business processes.

This entry is adapted from the peer-reviewed paper 10.3390/electronics12081889


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