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What Is an Ecommerce Merchant?

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  • Written By: Harriette Halepis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2014
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An ecommerce merchant is a person who buys or sells goods or services electronically. There is no limit as to the type or amount of goods or services that an ecommerce merchant may trade, and many different types of these merchants can be found throughout the world. While ecommerce in itself has been in existence for more than a decade, this type of business has changed rapidly with advancements in technology.

Around the beginning of the 1980s, the term ecommerce began to surface. During that time, the term referred to any transactions that took place electronically. This type of transaction included the electronic transfer of funds, invoices, and data. When the Internet was invented in 1990, merchants began to realize that selling goods and services electronically was both possible and profitable. The selling of any goods or services through the Internet was illegal until 1991.

Originally, the main purpose of the Internet was to bridge the gap of communication between people from all over the globe. Therefore, any form of commerce that could be conducted over the Internet was not permitted, since this was seen as capitalizing on an attempt to increase world communication. As more and more merchants began to demand the legalization of electronic sales, the barrier on electronic sales eventually collapsed.

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When the year 2000 rolled around, the term ecommerce merchant was well-known around the world. Since the Internet is such a large virtual community, many people began to worry about the safety of sending personal information, such as a credit card number, to a merchant via the Internet. Thus, many different merchants began to create websites that were safe and secure by implementing electronic security measures.

At present, there are thousands, possibly millions, of ecommerce merchants. These merchants are based in different countries across the globe, and anyone from any country can take advantage of goods and services sold on the Internet. In addition, various other types of ecommerce have begun to grow, including business that is conducted through email and cellphone applications.

Anyone with a valid product or service to sell can become an ecommerce merchant. In fact, most brick and mortar stores around the globe also act as ecommerce merchants by offering consumers products that can be purchased online. Still, the best way to become an ecommerce merchant is to provide consumers with a product or service that is entirely unique. This way, competing against the thousands of other merchants on the Internet will become easier.

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