The meaning of the term electronic commerce has changed over the last 30 years. Firstly electronic commerce meant the facilitation of commercial transactions electronically, usually using technology like Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), where both were introduced in the late 1970s. In the 1970s and 1980s, this would also have involved information analysis. The growth and acceptance of credit cards. However, from the 1990s onwards, this would include enterprise resource planning systems (ERP). Today, it encompasses a very wide range of business activities and processes, from e-banking to offshore manufacturing to e-logistics. The ever growing dependence of modern industries on electronically enabled business processes gave impetus to the growth and development of supporting systems, including backend systems, applications and middleware. Examples are broadband and fiber-optic networks, supply-chain management software, customer relationship management software and financial accounting software. The emergence of e-commerce also significantly lowered barriers to entry in the selling of many types of goods; accordingly many small home-based proprietors are able to use the internet to sell goods. Often, small sellers use online auction sites such as EBay(tm), or sell via large corporate websites like... [continues]
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