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E-tail vs. retail

What is the difference between an online store and Internet Sales?
I guess the simple answer to your question is that you can sell things on the internet without having an on-line store (although I could also argue that they are the same thing.)

However, let's start with what most people think - as perception is reality. Most people associate an on-line store with a web-based shopping experience where they browse a website, pick something they want to buy, put it in a shopping cart, type in their credit card number and wait for it to arrive in the mail. On-line stores tend to be associated with products, and most often with consumer-oriented products.

Internet selling is this and perhaps more. For example, when a web-based match-making service charges a visitor to send an email to a prospective "friend", they have made an internet sale, but few would think of it as an on-line store. When you use the internet to pay for and use a fax broadcasting service to send out a mass mailing, you have purchased a service on the internet and the vendor has made an internet sale but neither of you may think he is running an on-line store.

In all these cases however, the transaction takes place over the internet, usually using a web-browser. The internet is facilitating a business transaction and while any business transaction conducted over the internet is an internet sale, not all of them would necessarily be considered as using an on-line store.

For more information, check out searchCRM's Best Web Links on E-Commerce.


This was last published in April 2001

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