Except for the most basic 'download and print' registration services, eCommerce is best thought of as an electronic transaction mechanism that reduces or even removes the need for a physical 'bricks-and-mortar' presence.
The main attraction for small businesses and organisations is that they can be freed from the need to manually process and organise every transaction. eCommerce solutions also allow easy integration of –
- Payments, donations and similar transactions
- Customer relations management (CRM)
- File sharing and information services
Hosted eCommerce is 'Software as a Service' (SaaS), an aspect of cloud computing discussed in Using the Cloud, where consumer applications software is totally provided and managed by a third party, and is accessible online via all sorts of devices (e.g. PCs, tablet computers and smartphones, as shown in Figure 2).
Figure 2 – Various Devices Can Connect to Your Service(s) via the Cloud