"90% of online shoppers want some sort of human interaction in the process" "Jupiter Communication .
E-Commerce is the practice of buying and selling products and services over the Internet, utilizing technologies such as the Web, electronic data interchange, email, electronic fund transfers, and smart cards. As e-commerce continues to grow, it becomes clear that human interaction is a necessary (yet mostly lacking) component to the online buying experience. While only 40% of shopping transactions started online are completed (Internet World September, 2002), an even smaller percentage of people who visit a site even attempt to make a purchase. The ability to ask a question "something that we take for granted in most brick-and-mortar shopping experiences "has largely been ignored in the online world. This phenomenon is now beginning to change as e-commerce developers take advantage of multiuser capabilities to add human interaction to their sites. .
Background of E-commerce.
To better understand this idea of multi-user e-commerce we must first look at how this technology began. Electronic commerce was built on a foundation that was started more than 125 years ago with Western Union's money transfer as an example of telegraph technology. In the early 1900's the advent of credit cards as a payment system revolutionized the process of automated commerce functions. In the mid 1980's the introduction of the ATM card was the latest improvement to electronic commerce. The Internet, as a means for commerce, did not become a reality until the 1990's. Before this time, it was mainly a tool for the army, and a research device for some American universities. Its popularity grew when it proved to become a fast and efficient means to conduct long distance transactions, as well as an effective way to distribute information. .
All the way back in 1968, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) allowed different companies to perform electronic dealings with one another.