Advantages of using e commerce in business are motivating lot of businesses to use E-Commerce for their business. Various business areas such as retail, wholesale and manufacturing are using E-Commerce.
The most common Applications of E-commerce are as follows:
Retail and wholesale:
E-commerce has a number of applications in retail and wholesale.
E-retailing or on-line retailing is the selling of goods from Business-to-Consumer through electronic stores that are designed using the electronic catalog and shopping cart model.
Cybermall is a single Website that offers different products and services at one Internet location. It attracts the customer and the seller into one virtual space through a Web browser.
Another application e-commerce is Marketing.
Data collection about customer behavior, preferences, needs and buying patterns is possible through Web and E-commerce. This helps marketing activities such as price fixation, negotiation, product feature enhancement and relationship with the customer.
Financial companies are using E-commerce to a large extent.
Customers can check the balances of their savings and loan accounts, transfer money to their other account and pay their bill through on-line banking or E-banking.
Another application of E-commerce is on-line stock trading. Many Websites provide access to news, charts, information about company profile and analyst rating on the stocks.
E-commerce is also used in the supply chain operations of a company.
Some companies form an electronic exchange by providing together buy and sell goods, trade market information and run back office information such as inventory control.
This speeds up the flow of raw material and finished goods among the members of the business community. Various issues related to the strategic and competitive issues limit the implementation of the business models.
Companies may not trust their competitors and may fear that they will lose trade secrets if they participate in mass electronic exchanges.
Customer-to-Customer E-commerce is direct selling of goods and services among customers.
It also includes electronic auctions that involve bidding. Bidding is a special type of auction that allows prospective buyers to bid for an item.
For example, airline companies give the customer an opportunity to quote the price for a seat on a specific route on the specified date and time.
The term e-commerce framework is related to software frameworks for e-commerce applications. They offer an environment for building e-commerce applications quickly.
E-Commerce frameworks are flexible enough to adapt them to your specific requirements. As result, they are suitable for building virtually all kinds of online shops and e-commerce related (web) applications.
An e-commerce framework must
allow replacing all parts of the framework code
forbid changes in the framework code itself
contain bootstrap code to start the application
be extensible by user-written code
E-Commerce frameworks should
define the general program flow
consist of reusable components
be organized in functional domains
They provide an overall structure for e-commerce related applications.
Furthermore, they implement the general program flow e.g. how the checkout process works. Contrary to monolithic shop systems, existing program flow can not only be extended but completely changed according to your needs.
Evolution of e-commerce systems
Since the beginning of (internet) e-commerce around 1995, a lot has changed on the technology side. The first generation of e-commerce systems evolved from existing ERP and related systems. This was followed by the 2. generation of standalone shop systems between 2004 and 2008. E-commerce frameworks are the latest generation of e-commerce systems and started around 2012.
Hybris, the shop system owned by SAP is one of the representatives of the 1. generation. It’s strongly connected to the SAP ERP system and Hybris is mainly a shop front-end for SAP. Customer relationship (CRM) and content management (CMS) tools are available in the ERP system but very limited.
The Magento shop system represents the 2. generation of standalone e-commerce systems. They usually contain CRM and CMS and some other functionality but also only at a very basic level. They might be enough for the smallest shops but are unusable for shop owners who run for real profits.
Aimeos is one of the few real e-commerce frameworks that are currently available. These 3rd generation systems excel in their own domain: Present and sell products. For all other e-commerce related tasks, they connect to specialized systems and exchange data in both ways. Thus, shop owners can choose the best systems for their needs.
E-Commerce framework architecture
E-commerce frameworks must be based on a strong architectural model. Usually, they make heavy use of interfaces and design patterns like
Dependency Injection (make components independent of used object implementation)
Factories (create objects at a central place that instantiates the actual implementation)
Decorators (dynamically add functionality to existing objects)
Publish/Subscribe model (notify listening objects about changes instead of polling for updates)
A “design pattern” is re-usable solution that solves similar software design problems in an elegant way. They require programming language templates which enforce public class methods and their signatures called “interfaces”.
The basic requirement are independent, side-effect free components that form the building blocks. One or more components care about the functionality of a business “domain”. Such a domain can be the HTML front-end, a JSON REST API and the administration interface.
The vertical separation of code into business domains enables scaling out applications by deploying the application as a bunch of micro services.