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10.7: E-Commerce Technology

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    e-commerce online shop
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Adapted from image by 200degrees  Pixabay License (re-coloured)

     An e-commerce platform is a way to build and create an online experience that allows a company to make sales and fulfill orders. While most people think an e-commerce platform is just a tool that provides a list of products and accepts payments online, a true e-commerce platform is much more than that. It is a complete business command center that controls everything from inventory to marketing. It should support basic requirements such as custom styling, search engine optimization, credit card processing, promotions, catalog management, analytics, product browsing, checkout, and order management. Some examples of e-commerce platforms are ShopifyWix and BigCommerce.

    To make an online store accessible to the public it requires a hosting solution. Hosting stores information on a server, which allows internet users to visit a company’s site and view all of the content. Every website is hosted somewhere, meaning it has dedicated server space from a provider. Some e-commerce platforms have hosting built in, while others require self-hosting or open-source hosting.

    Type of Hosting Description of Hosting Type
    Hosted Some ecommerce website builders offer a hosted platform. Building on a hosted ecommerce platform provides freedom to focus on the business, and not the technology management of the site.
    Self-hosted Self-hosted platforms require companies to use their own server space or pay to rent space from a hosting provider. This makes ongoing website management complex, as you’re responsible for updates, maintenance, and bug fixes. This requires a lot of internal resources that you could otherwise allocate elsewhere. Self-hosted platforms are typically open source, and you use a third party to host your website data. Third-party sourcing options charge fees for their services, and these costs quickly add up. Many times, these hosting services use tiered pricing structures, so those on the lowest plans don’t get much in the way of customer support. This can leave you hanging at really important times, like traffic boosts after unexpected press coverage.

    Instead of going with an e-commerce platform, businesses can also hire a full-service web developer to provide design, programming, support, hosting, search engine optimization, and more. Any combination of the services can be selected. Having the developer perform all the services would be the most expensive alternative. The ultimate cost for a website will be a function of its size, complexity, and the level of design. No two projects will cost the same. Part of the process of building a website, however, should be conducting some research and talking with website designers. The Internet offers a variety of sources on how to determine how much a website should cost. offers a historical perspective on website costs, a cost calculator to find out how much a web project would cost, and examples of specific web design and website development projects with cost figures. [1]

    Search Engine Optimization

    It is important when creating a website to consider search engine optimization (SEO). Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the techniques that help a website rank high in organic search results (such as on Google and other search engines). There are the two types of listings that appear when using a search engine: organic search and paid search. SEO aims to make a website more visible to people looking for specific information or a particular product or service via search engine. SEO falls under the umbrella of Search Engine Marketing(SEM). SEM is a form of internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages primarily through paid advertising.

    Payment Methods

    Security, privacy, and trust are most important when considering the payment function. Without this transaction, there is no e-commerce, so it is imperative that businesses take the necessary steps to reduce customer concerns about shopping online. It is also important for merchants to offer multiple payment methods to provide flexibility and ensure customers complete their purchase. See the following types of payment methods. Credit cards are by far the most popular payment method for online transactions.

    Electronic Payment

    E-payment is any payment done electronically. This form of payment includes debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, e-transfers, email payments, mobile wallets, and cryptocurrency.


    Electronic transfer or e-transfer is the ability to send money from your bank account held at a Canadian financial institution through the Interac Corporation. With e-transfers the sender logs-on to their bank account and chooses a recipient to send money to. The recipient’s email or phone number is provided for notification of the transfer. A security question can be added so that only the recipient with the correct password can process the transaction. The popularity of e-transfers is growing with 57 percent of the country’s population registering for the service by the end of 2018. Most e-transfers happen on mobile phones. [2].

    E-Mail based methods (PayPal)

    PayPal is a form of an email based payment method where members are able to send money to any registered person. Registration requires the user to set up an account with their e-mail address.  A notification is sent to those individuals who are to receive funds but are not registered. PayPal accounts are tied to the registrants credit card or bank account.  Paypal also has a mobile application that can be used for contactless payment through the use of QR codes.

    Mobile Wallets

    A mobile wallet is an application on your mobile device that stores your payment information to allow for contactless payments. It is like a regular wallet where you keep your credit, debit or prepaid cards. You can use your mobile wallet when shopping in-person or online. Your financial institution or the merchant may set limits on how much money you can spend using a mobile wallet. There are concerns about how financial information is stored on mobile wallets, and what happens if you were to lose your phone.  To learn more about Mobile Wallets and the safety of them, go to the information page by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.  Some examples of mobile wallets in Canada are: Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay.

    1. WebFx. (2022). How Much Should a Web Site Cost? 
    2. Interact Corporation. (2021, May 15). Why 2018 was another banner year for Interac e-Transfer. Interac In The Know.

    10.7: E-Commerce Technology is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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