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I have a danish on my desk that I want to eat. Actually, it's half a danish... almond, homemade with butter. But first, this week's white paper topic: ecommerce.

I'm actually going to direct you to a datasheet by AppFinity on e-commerce solutions. This does require registration, but it's worth it. Not necessarily for the datasheet alone, but to access other white papers. I know, white papers sound like they are meant to be dull. You hear "white papers," and think "white bread", and if you're in North America, you think of "Wonderbread" which tastes like sawdust. No, that's not true. I suspect sawdust tastes better .... (sigh... danish).

When written well, a white paper won't leave you feeling manipulated into buying something. Rather, will give you a better understanding of the issue and how your company can resolve it either with or without the vendor's product. (I'm told Mike Stelzner's book is good--I would tell you more, but I haven't read it yet. I'm waiting for someone to take pity and send me a free copy. )

Anyhow back to ecommerce. Ecommerce is the commerce of goods and services over the Internet. Transactions involve credit cards, Paypal, and other types of electronic funds transfer mechanisms. In the US, ecommerce grew faster than the total economic activity in manufacturing, retail, merchant wholesale, and (selected) services in 2006.

Like any retail or point of sale system, ecommerce software needs to integrate with other areas of the company, such as accounting, customer service, inventory and shipping, etc. to ensure that product is sent out in a timely manner. The data sheet by AppFinity lays out a couple of other points that need to be considered when looking at an ecommerce solution.

Here's a little tidbit (tidbit. timbit. bad press): white papers, modeled after government documents, were adapted by the private sector in the 1990s as a messaging tool.
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