What is an Ecommerce System?

Contel Bradford

An ecommerce system is a system that facilitates the acceptance and processing of electronic payments online. Many different systems exist for merchants who want to try their hand at electronic commerce. These options range from fully integrated software solutions to third-party systems managed by service providers such as PayPal and WorldPay. While e-checks may be supported, most ecommerce systems are designed to support credit- and debit-card payments.

Debit cards are often used for ecommerce transactions.
Debit cards are often used for ecommerce transactions.

A complete ecommerce system typically is compromised of numerous components and features. The shopping cart, integration capabilities, and security infrastructure usually are among the most important features. Each can play a critical role in ensuring that the system runs efficiently for both the merchant and their customers.

Online shopping is made possible via various ecommerce systems.
Online shopping is made possible via various ecommerce systems.

The shopping cart is the core component of any ecommerce system. Similar to its real-world counterpart, this software allows shoppers to browse items in an online store, take the items to checkout, and to make a purchase. This type of program typically offers features such as order processing, multiple product listings, various shipping and handling options, category and inventory management, and support for multiple payment gateways.

Some of the more sophisticated ecommerce systems are integrated with shopping carts that provide the merchant with control over ecommerce design and every aspect of store management. These applications may offer advanced features such as real-time shipping-rate quotes, cross-selling capabilities, and customization that allows for branding. This type of application generally combines the features of a content management system and shopping cart into a single package.

An ecommerce system usually is integrated with a Website. In most cases, ecommerce integration not only involves implementing a shopping cart, but merchant accounts, payment gateways, and security mechanisms as well. This integration usually provides the merchant with an ecommerce system that has the ability to deliver a seamless shopping experience to the customer.

Ecommerce systems usually require numerous security features to help protect the merchant and the customer. Most systems utilize firewalls and intrusion protection technology to prevent unauthorized access to the server. Account numbers, passwords, and other sensitive information residing on the server often is protected by military-grade encryption. A proven technology, encryption helps to ensure that transaction data remains secure when traveling over the Internet.

The ecommerce system has become increasingly popular due to the widespread adoption of online shopping and banking. It plays an integral part in making sure electronic payments are accepted and processed in an efficient and secure manner. For this reason, it generally is essential for both the customers and online merchants who service their needs.

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