Internet Basics: eCommerce is Like Playing House

Ever play house as a kid? You don't even have to be in a house to play it. You just say, "The kitchen's over there, and this is the laundry, and here's the garage," and so on. You make it all up in your mind, but none of it's really there.

You can add stuff whenever you want, and you can decide it's the end of the workday even if it's really ten o'clock in the morning.

That's what eCommerce is like.

With eCommerce, a business doesn't have to be in a traditional business-type setting or building. If they want a store, they just:

- make some webpages (which are really only computer files)

- upload them to a server (which is really only a computer hooked up to the Internet)

- make sure they have a way their customers can pay them (a payment provider)

And suddenly they have a store, even though there's no "actual" store anywhere that anyone can "go into." And it can be open 24 hours a day.

But just as playing house isn't just about the kitchen, eCommerce isn't just about selling things online. With eCommerce, if a business wants a service department, they just:

- create an email address

- then make sure somebody somewhere (anywhere) is going to pick up the emails sent to that email address

Or they might put customer support information on their website - things like Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), or installation instructions, or product registration forms.

Or they might make up tools their customers can use, such as a mortgage calculator, or a currency converter, or even an ovulation calculator.

Or they might provide access to a person they can contact for help through email, or chat, or a phone number (maybe), or even snail mail (regular postal mail).

They just make up what they need to do business online as they go along because it's so easy to make it up.

And that's why eCommerce is like playing house.

Copyright (c) Grant Pasay 2005. All rights reserved. You may forward this article in its entirety to anyone you wish.

About the author:

Grant Pasay is a writer, musician, moviemaker, and author of the new eBook, "The Internet Is Like A Refrigerator: And Other Weird Comparisons That Make it Easy to Understand Everything From AOL to Zip Files."

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