E-commerce is redefining the way companies do business with consumers. From the business' perspective, the overarching goal of a B2C site is to create a more cost-effective way to serve customers.
From the customer's perspective, the benefits are many: 24/7
(24 hours a day, 7 days a week) shopping convenience, the ability to view a large product selection without having to leave the house, and pricing information.
Whereas EDI services handle large-scale business invoice automation, small-scale consumer credit card transactions use merchant systems. These systems include components such as merchant servers and merchant software for handling
Web-based purchases. Another critical component of the merchant system is a merchant account at a financial institution, which is required to handle credit card
transactions. All the components (merchant server, software, and account) are needed to facilitate credit card transactions.
There is notable consumer concern over online security. Transmitting confidential customer and credit card information must be secured.
Some useful security measures include encryption and Web site posted security agreements for consumers at point-of-purchase. Companies
will generally post security information in the form of a pop-up window that alerts customers to the security of a forthcoming
confidential document. The document and any information customers send back are encrypted (or coded) for privacy and are generally
protected by a security protocol such as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer).
See the table below for an overview of the characteristics of a B2C site.
In the next lesson, you will learn about the characteristics of consumer-to-consumer sites.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer): A security technology for transmitting private documents over the Internet using authentication for servers and browsers.