Just what is online retail all about?

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Online retail is the procedure whereby consumers directly buy goods or services from a seller in real time, without an intermediary service, over the Internet. If an intermediary service is present the procedure is called electronic commerce. An online shop, eshop, e-store, internet shop, webshop, webstore, online store, or virtual store evokes the physical analogy of buying products or services at a bricks-and-mortar retailer or in a shopping mall. The procedure is called Business-to-Consumer (B2C) online shopping. When a business buys from another business it is called Business-to-Business (B2B) online shopping. Both B2C and B2B online shopping are forms of e-commerce.

In 1990 Tim Berners-Lee developed the very first World Wide Web server and browser. It opened to commercial use in 1991. In 1994 other advances took place, such as online banking and the opening of an online pizza shop by Pizza Hut. In the same year, Netscape introduced SSL encryption of data transferred online, which has become crucial for secure online shopping. In 1995 Amazon expanded its online shopping, and in 1996 eBay appeared on the scene. More recently Overstock has also become one of the world's biggest and dependable online shopping stores.

The term 'webshop' has a number of meanings as a noun. An online retailer may be called a 'webshop'. Web development, hosting and other web-related activities can be called 'webshops.' The word 'webshop' is also used as a verb- 'I will webshop for that.' Purchasing online grew because, over time, transportation costs went up and telecom costs went down and access to the Internet became the norm. Online retail provides a larger selection of goods and services and thus greater choice at optimal prices. The dificulties with online shopping are that you can not taste, touch, smell, or try on what you are purchasing.