Abbreviation for electronic commerce. A way of doing real-time business transactions via telecommunications networks, when the customer and the merchant are in different geographical places. [Mattila] Note: Electronic commerce is a broad concept that includes virtual browsing of goods on sale, selection of goods to buy, and payment methods. Electronic commerce operates on a bona fide basis, without prior arrangements between customers and merchants. E-commerce operates via the Internet using all or any combination of technologies designed to exchange data (such as EDI or e-mail), to access data (such as shared databases or electronic bulletin boards), and to capture data (through the use of bar coding and magnetic or optical character readers).