E-commerce is the exchange of goods or services through an electronic means, such as the internet for example. If you own a business, or perhaps you are thinking about starting one of your own, then the internet is something that is likely going to come into play quite a lot in the life of your business. Many businesses that offer either an item or a service will quickly find out that they are going to get more exposure if they are able to sell their products online through the internet. When you think of the process of buying or selling items online, chances are good that you likely think of buying or selling on amazon.com or some other website like eBay. You may even do most of your own buying on websites that have actual physical brick and mortar locations but also offer the ability to buy online without having to go into a store. Sites such as target.com or best buy sell items online as well as in a physical store so that they can offer a larger variety of merchandise that can be shipped anywhere without the added hassle of stocking it in each individual location. E-commerce is a very flexible way of doing business because it breaks down barriers. It allows people to buy and sell items from other people or businesses from all over the world. Now, a person with a small one man start up can compete with larger corporate businesses and reach many of the same audience of that of the larger companies. With the help of an e-commerce merchandiser, a small operation now also has the ability to showcase their products on some of the big websites that have long been available to larger business. For example, if a smaller company wishes to sell on amazon.com, they can be listed right alongside their larger competitors without the shopper being aware of the difference in the size of the companies. E-commerce has been around for quite a while, since the 1960’s, which was well before the advent of the internet as we now know it. The method of exchange then was conducted through an electronic data exchange, or EDI. When the internet began to become more widely used in the early 90’s and 2000’s, several local businesses jumped at the chance to begin reaching a larger audience. Amazon.com was one of the first online only stores and initially only sold books to their customers. EBay also helped usher in the age of online purchasing when they created an online marketplace where regular people can sell items to each other instead of buying through a store. No matter what type of product or service that a company offers, if they do not have any kind of online presence, they are leaving money on the table. E-commerce helps increase a company’s exposure as well as their viability. It can be the make or break point on whether a businessperson will succeed in their efforts as an entrepreneur.