| Technology Background
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few years,
you've probably heard a lot of talk about electronic commerce. Electronic
commerce, also referred to as e-commerce, e-business and even e-tailing,
is basically the buying and selling of goods and services over the
Internet - and in particular, the World Wide Web. That's pretty
much all it is! So why all the hype? Several reasons.
From the customers' perspective, there are many advantages to shopping
- They can purchase goods without leaving their home or office.
- Because the Internet has no national boundaries, they can also
shop anywhere in the world - and more competition means better
prices (not to mention the ease of finding those "hard to get"
- The Internet is open 24 hours a day - 7 days a week, meaning
customers can shop anywhere any time.
- The Internet is a great resource for information - allowing
consumers to make informed choices.
- The speed of shopping online suits today's busy lifestyle.
Hints and Tips for shoppers:
If you intend shopping online - make sure the site uses a secure server. Without
it - its not safe to use your credit card.
Before purchasing anything online - make sure you've considered all costs
involved - particularly if purchasing from overseas. Don't forget to take into
account exchange rates and delivery costs.
Of course, the customer isn't the only winner... Advantages for
- Greatly increased customer base! The whole world is now
a potential customer.
- Its much cheaper to create a "virtual store" online, than it
is to start one in a physical location. (And in the case
of Global Web Stores, your store is created for free!)
- Running a virtual store is much cheaper too! It can be
open 24x7 - and store owners don't need to employ someone to man
the store... it almost runs itself.
- Its very easy to create a professional image online - no matter
how small the store is. This allows small businesses to
operate on a level footing with the big guys.
- Virtual shop-fronts aren't just for existing stores to move
into... Many new businesses based entirely on Internet sales are
popping up every day. Its also much easier to find and sell to
E-commerce Solutions (suppliers)
In order to maximise security, client confidence and efficiency
- there are a few precautions a store-owner must take. In addition
to providing a secure environment for your clients - you need to
protect yourself from stolen/fake credit details and the like. There
are a number of solutions to assist in this regard, including:
- Secure server: Make sure your store processes orders through
a secure server. This encrypts the data they send so that it can't
be read by unauthorised individuals. Secure server addresses begin
with "https" instead of "http". You don't have to have your own
server to utilise this feature. See our e-commerce solutions page
for more information.
- Credit card checking: As a security measure - the last digit
on most credit cards are mathematically calculated on the basis
can verify the validity of a credit card number based on this
property (but not whether the credit card itself is valid, or
stolen, etc.) This can safe a lot of time for the store-owner,
who will not need to process obviously fake cards.
- Transaction server: Normally - when the customer submits credit
card details, the store-owner must manually process the order
(just like a mail order). A transaction server allows credit cards
to be processed live online - without manual intervention. Needless
to say, this saves the merchant a lot of time - and adds an extra
level of security for the shopper, since the merchant does not
even need to see the credit card number!
If you are thinking of selling products or services on-line -
there are many options available. We recommend that you visit our
e-commerce solutions page for more
Secure e-commerce: How does it work? How safe is it?
Most e-commerce sites work the same way... you browse the contents
of the store, selecting items you wish to purchase by adding them
to a "virtual shopping cart". When you're finished shopping,
you have to provide your payment details through an online form.
The question that many people have is: How safe are the details
they submit? If your credit card details are being sent half
way around the world - couldn't anyone take a look at it ? E-commerce
wasn't very old before people started taking these concerns seriously.
Security issues that needed to be addressed included:
- Encryption - This is basically a way of scrambling the information
so other people can't read it - so that only the person you sent
the details to, can actually read the information you sent them.
This is vital for information such as credit card numbers.
- Authentication - ensuring that someone is who they say they
- Data Integrity - preventing data from being modified along its
SSL to the rescue
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a protocol designed by Netscape
to address the above issues. It didn't take long for this
protocol to become standard - and is now supported by most web browsersa,
including Netscape (of course) and Microsoft Internet Explorer.
For more technical details on how SSL works, click here.