E-commerce is the monetary exchange of goods, services or information through computer networks, including the Internet.  

For many years, merchants have used electronic data interchange (EDI) networks for business-to-business trade. Electronic transactions are also carried out on mobile telephone networks, namely mobile commerce (m-commerce).  

In a context of strong environmental constraints, the development of distance selling tends to transform logistics issues related to the world of trade. The term “e-commerce” also includes the global flow of data. 


The emergence of online commerce is directly related to the appearance of the web in the early 1990s. On August 11, 1994, Phil Brandenberger, a resident of Philadelphia, placed the first online order using a secure credit card payment system. The New York Times covered the event and pointed out that «behind a little click for an individual hides a big step for the economy.» This first purchase of $12.48 for a Sting album represents the first stone of a building that has been growing ever since.  

The advent of the Internet has rapidly led to the development of a different business model. At the end of the 1990s, this economic model was made famous by Amazon, EBay and AOL, companies taking advantage of a bubble of market capitalization of young companies that is unparalleled in history, a phenomenon that also affects many small biotech companies.  

The arrival of mobile smartphones has introduced a new break, with quantitative pricing on data, allowing the rise of mobile commerce. 

Different types of seller-buyer relations  

Based on the nature of the seller-buyer relationship, these types are:  

business-to-government electronic exchange, often referred to as B2G (business-to-government);  

Online business-to-business commerce, often referred to as B2B (business-to-business);  

The electronic exchange between a company and its employees, often referred to as the Intranet or B2E, an acronym for business to employee;  

Online commerce for individuals, or B2C, the acronym for business to consumer or business to client “business to consumer”, these are merchant websites; 

Online commerce between individuals, or C2C (pronounced hereafter), acronym of consumer to consumer: these are websites of sale between individuals.  

Trade Between Individuals (C2C)  

In this Case, Three Trading Systems Coexist:  

  • Auctions;  
  • Trusted third parties;  
  • Classified ads. 

Trade Between Enterprises and Individuals (B2C)  

Some of the main goods and services sold via the Internet to individuals include:  

  • Cultural property: books, CDs and DVDs, etc.;  
  • Technological devices: PC, electronics, hifi, etc.;  
  • Tourism and travel: train tickets, plane tickets, rentals, etc.;  
  • Consumer goods with online supermarkets;  
  • Printing products: invitations, business card printing, plates, commercial media;  
  • Habitat products, clothing, childcare, etc.  
  • Services at home: cleaning, work, DIY, hairdressing, etc.  

As Well as Sales Systems Specially Adapted to the Internet World:  

  • Development of digital photographs;  
  • Downloading of music;  
  • DVD rental via Internet;  
  • Video on demand (VAD).  

Trade Between Enterprises (B2B)  

There are also products sold online exclusively to professionals such as:  

  • Textile, an employee who can order a personalized professional garment online (at his waist, with his name embroidered on the garment);  
  • Plotters, plan copiers, scanners, etc., for design offices;  
  • MGB equipment (meters, lasers, etc.);  
  • Commercial vehicles (vans, trucks, refrigerated vehicles, etc.).