Current IT field related information

04 Apr 09 Commerce, E-commerce and osCommerce

Let’s start with setting an agenda for this article. Let’s begin with asking ourselves, what is Internet? Well, for the purpose of our discussion, let’s not talk about the technical or marketing definition of the Internet; rather we should focus on what the Internet means to us.

What the Internet means to us depends upon our usage pattern and our behavior. For some people Internet represents freedom, while for others it represents opportunity, another group sees it as an enabler and others think of it as a leveler. With the tools like, blogs, forums, freelance exchanges, social networking sites, social bookmarking sites, and for some the Internet means a medium where you can buy or sell products. The Internet is not one but all of the above mentioned things.

E-commerce: what it is?

In this article let’s focus only on the buying and selling capability provided by of this medium, which is normally referred to as electronic commerce, e-commerce.

In the layman’s language, e-commerce is any commercial activity conducted over the Internet. E-commerce can either be business to business (B2B), business to consumer (B2C), consumer to business (C2B) or consumer to consumer (C2C), but the central tenet of e-commerce has always been exchange, and by exchange I mean any exchange of financial nature.

Let’s try to explain this with an example, suppose someone goes to the website of HP computers, and after going through the options available, he finalizes one model to purchase, but instead of buying the PC from HP computer’s online store, he goes to an authorized store in his locality to make the purchase. Will this transaction qualify to be called e-commerce transaction? Well, they answer to this question lies between the two extremes of yes and no. It can qualify as an e-commerce transaction as the buyer comes online and does everything except making a payment; instead, he goes offline to finish the process. But in the strictest sense of the term, it will not qualify as e-commerce. It will merely be an information exchange not a financial exchange. To be on the safer side, let’s say, if there is no financial transaction, we cannot call it an e-commerce activity.

E-commerce Life Cycle

The life cycle of e-commerce followed the same curve as did the development of any market. In the beginning it was just one homogeneous market, one e-commerce website selling everything, just like a superstore; but slowly the scene started to change and more and more niche e-commerce websites started cropping up. These web sites are like specialty stores of our locality that deals with just one kind of product.

osCommerce: coming of age

Over the year, the e-commerce scenario started to change and soon more and more niche product sellers were found joining the party, but everyone couldn’t afford to have a full-time programmer and a database designer to make an e-commerce website for him or her, thus a need for a ready to deploy e-commerce solution was building up. This need was addressed by ready-to-deploy open source e-commerce solutions but it was not until the development of osCommerce that this need was completely satisfied.

osCommerce is an open source e-commerce solution and due to its open source nature, there are contributors who work day and night to make this platform more robust and stable. Unlike paid employees of big corporate houses, these geeks are motivated by their passion; hence what comes out is a world calls e-commerce solution.

In its 8 years of existence, osCommerce has built more than 14,100 websites. osCommerce has a strong community of 207,200 store owners and developers who help each other in the time of need. osCommerce has more than 5300 add-ons, these add-ons provides scalability to the platform.

If you wish to start an e-commerce website, use osCommerce, it has the strongest support team (207,200 ready-to-help community forum members), matching which is practically impossible for any one group of developers.

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