Definition

e-tailing (electronic retailing)

E-tailing (less frequently: etailing) is the selling of retail goods on the Internet. Short for "electronic retailing," and used in Internet discussions as early as 1995, the term seems an almost inevitable addition to e-mail, e-business, and e-commerce. E-tailing is synonymous with business-to-consumer (B2C) transaction.

E-tailing began to work for some major corporations and smaller entrepreneurs as early as 1997 when Dell Computer reported multimillion dollar orders taken at its Web site. The success of Amazon.com hastened the arrival of Barnes and Noble's e-tail site. Concerns about secure order-taking receded. 1997 was also the year in which Auto-by-Tel reported that they had sold their millionth car over the Web, and CommerceNet/Nielsen Media reported that 10 million people had made purchases on the Web. Jupiter research predicted that e-tailing would grow to $37 billion by 2002.

E-tailing has resulted in the development of e-tailware -- software tools for creating online catalogs and managing the business connected with doing e-tailing. A new trend is the price comparison site that can quickly compare prices from a number of different e-tailers and link you to them.

Contributor(s): David Schappell
This was last updated in April 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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