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What is eCommerce?

eCommerceeCommerce is something which almost everyone is extremely familiar with, even if not all of us know the term.

If you’ve kept up with your internet lingo at any point in the past 25 years, then you’ll have figured out that the ‘e’ stands for ‘electronic’. So ‘electronic commerce’ is essentially any transaction which takes place via a computer network.

eCommerce is so commonplace these days that research suggests that more than half of all global internet users have dabbled in it! Not just that, but worldwide business-to-consumer eCommerce sales will surpass $2 trillion in 2017!

So clearly paying for goods online is something that we’re generally comfortable with, but how can we use this for learning? Let’s take a look!


Brief history of eCommerce

eCommerceeCommerce rose to prominence in the late 90s during the period now known as the dot-com bubble, which saw the emergence of some of the online giants we know today, including Amazon and eBay. But the history of eCommerce actually spans much farther than this.

In fact, we have to travel all the way back to 1971 to discover that the first ever electronic transaction was actually a drug deal! Students at Stanford University saw the enormous potential of Arpanet, but instead chose to use it to ‘quietly arrange the sale of an undetermined amount of marijuana’ to their counterparts at MIT.

As we’ve mentioned, it wasn’t until the 90s that eCommerce would really take off. This decade saw the launch of the World Wide Web and wide-scale adoption of personal computers, which meant that regular people could actually buy things!

Since then it’s become an integral part of the internet, and nowadays you’ll be hard-pressed to find a store that won’t allow you to purchase your goods there and then.

eCommerce on the LMS

With eCommerce taking the internet by storm, it’s not surprise that it often crops up in the world of online learning. Here are a few ways that it works when built into an LMS:

Charge existing learners for access to extra content

You might already have a full cohort of learners who are enjoying your library of content, but what if you want to offer some premium courses worth paying for? They could find these courses alongside everything else in the content library, but with a price tag attached. Then all they would need to do is pay for the course to unlock access to it. Simple!

Charge new learners for access to the LMS

eCommercePerhaps you want to attract external targets to your LMS and allow them to sign up there and then. You could configure your LMS to display a catalogue page to new users, from which they can directly purchase the course they want to take. At the same time they could set up their account and get cracking on their content right away!

No hassle

One of the best qualities of eCommerce is that it’s quick and easy for both the consumer and the seller. Your learner will have an extremely smooth experience as their payment is processed immediately and they get instant access to the content, even outside of your office hours. It also removes the hassle of delivering refunds, which can be handled with a single button click!

Avoid handling sensitive data

When you take payments directly, you end up having to store sensitive data and keep it secure for a number of years. But when using an eCommerce-enabled LMS, the likelihood is that they’ll be using a third-party provider such as PayPal or Stripe. One of the key advantages of this is that this provider will store all of the data for you, so you don’t need to worry about misplacing any important files several years down the line!

Keep an eye out for plenty more entries into our Online Learning Glossary over the coming weeks!

And if you’d like to find out more about the eCommerce functionality of our Academy LMS, why not book a free tour? Click the banner below to sign up:

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