In the 19th century commerce was affected by the development of rail system which reduced the cost of shipping and let seller sell his products around the country rather than in one region and helped the country to develop a national system of trade. It also led the creation of national daily newspaper, weekend holidays and improved the nation’s health by making perishable goods such as fresh fish and fruits more widely available.
The process repeated this time electronic commerce affected the commerce by cutting the cost of transportation of information, and by letting the seller to introduce his products worldwide rather than nationwide by the later part of Twentieth century  .
In the early 60s and 70s when mankind was trying to find and develop fast means to travel and communication, the business developers introduced Electronic commerce (E-com) for the business efficacy. However, the use was limited to only business to business (B2B) transitions which were Electronic data interchange( EDI) and Electronic funds transfer (EFT). By late 1991 when internet became widely available for commercial purposes, consumers also realized the usefulness of E-commerce and so started taking advantages of E-commerce. As a result, today thousands of businesses have been taken to websites.
E-commerce is called as New Economy for modern world which is created by using digital technology changing our societies drastically in terms of business transactions, services, transfer of information and online shopping. As Kevin Kelly describes  “It’s global; it favors intangible things- ideas, information, and relationships. And it is intensely interlinked. These attributes produce a new type of marketplaces and society, one that is rooted in ubiquitous electronic networks” 
If simply defined, E-commerce is about “exchange of digitized information between parties”  which can be ordering of goods and services as well the control of their flow, making contracts and sharing information instantaneously from one part of the world to another and this can be held between consumer to consumer, business to consumer and business to business.
These days people relate internet with e-commerce which is a wrong perception It is the most popularly used means these days but according to the World Trade Organization,  E-commerce can be used by using telephone, the fax, the television, electronic payment and money transfer system, Data interchange and the internet. 
Considering the above statement, any transaction, any order of goods and requesting of services by using any of the above six instruments falls under the means of E-commerce.
There is no precise definition of e-commerce as it changes according to its evolving role. At the beginning of the new millennium in 2002, another definition came which defined it as “any business transaction concerning goods and services, where participants are not in same physical location and communicate though electronic means” 
Hence these days, E-Commerce Is a business term used for selling and buying goods and services over internet and other electronic means between B2B, B2C and C2C.
Beneficiaries Of E-commerce
There are three classes of society of those who are taking benefits as doing their business electronically (i) Business to Business (B2B), (ii) Business to Consumer (B2C), and (iii) Consumer to consumer (C2C).
Business to Business .
B2B electronic commerce over internet is increasingly becoming the popular choice of communication for the business as it’s “instantaneous.” 
B2B e-commerce is whereby both parties conduct transactions in the course of business, also known as “paperless trading” especially in the US  . For instance suppose a motor manufacturer needs to purchase parts from supplier, this can be done either via e-mail or by EDI (Electronic Data Interchange system).
Business to Consumer
This is the type of dealing in which one party is doing their business by selling goods over website or by advertisement where they are directly dealing with consumers, such as sales person dealing with customer in high street, example of this kind of dealings are shopping on website such as www.amazon.co.uk or www.sony.co.uk.
Consumer to Consumer
In this kind of dealing both parties are natural persons and do not operate any business. The good example of C2C is consumer selling goods to another consumer through a website or some consumer advertising over a website for example www.ebay.co.uk.
Scope of Law
There is no single or specific law for e-commerce as Kevin Kelly describes  as it’s of global nature, electronic commerce has propensity to break the national barriers more easily rather than traditional cross-border trade. 
Hence the user can either use a website for making a purchase or e-mail an offer from any jurisdiction and acceptance can take place from other jurisdiction due to this global nature that website might be subject to law of that country. 
The issue of Electronic contracts was 1st considered at the international level in 1996 by United Nation Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) by introducing the Model law on Electronic Commerce and the Model law on Electronic Signature.
In United Kingdom Electronic Commerce Act 2000, Electronic Commerce Regulations 2002 was introduced to provide basic legal frame work for electronic commerce and to deal with its problems in a country, and Electronic Signature Regulation 2002.
The enactment of Acts was the result of European Union Directive 2000/31/EC, which was introduced to provide fundamental structure for electronic commerce in national markets, to remove cross-border barriers for online services within the member states, and to provide legal certainty to the services.
Felling the heat of Electronic Commerce problems, United States of America also enacted the legislations specifically dealing with Electronic commerce. These were: (i) Uniform Electronic Transaction Act 1999 (UETA), (ii) Uniform Computer Information Transaction Act Amended 2000,2000(UCITA) and Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act 2000. 
Same way different Asian countries also introduced special legislation to cope with E-commerce. Examples are Singapore’s Electronic Transaction Act 1998, India’s Information Technology Act 2000, Hong Kong Electronic Transactions ordinance 2000, Philippines’ Electronic Commerce Act 2000  and Electronic Transactions Ordinance 2002.
Advantages of Electronic Commerce:
With Respect to Virtual Shop:
As discussed above, e-commerce affected the commerce by reducing the cost of trade, especially in selling and buying.
In 1995 Bill Gates stated in his book regarding shopping that;
“The net will carry us into a new world of low-friction, low -overhead capitalism, in which market information will be plentiful and transaction cost low… it will be a shopper’s heaven” 
Bill Gates’ words have already been proved. Shopping over internet has become the new and the most popular market for the customers.
Due to low cost, sellers don’t have to buy or rent the costly articles from a shop in high street. Instead they just need to get space over internet at a very low price as compared to high street shops. Furthermore, there isn’t any need to hire employees as a seller himself can update or monitor the website. Lastly, he doesn’t have to pay any utilities.
All these advantages raise the margin of profit with an added benefit which is that the seller can attract customers by offering his product at a lesser price than high street shop price.
Another advantage of a Virtual shop is that it is open for business 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Customers can even shop on the day of Christmas or any other holiday. Also, a virtual shop can cater not only to local customers but to anyone in the world who has an internet connection.
Virtual shop is as profitable for the seller as it is for the buyer. When you shop online you save time, petrol and you can shop at any time even after business hours.
With respect to E-mail:
20th March 2002 was the land mark day in the history of E-mail and postal mail in United Kingdom. By then it was proved that majority of people trust and are interested in e-mail rather than traditional postal mail. 
The reasons are that it is cheap, fast and accurate. The biggest advantage is that it is private as only that person who knows the password can access it. Another great thing is that the same message can be sent to many recipients at the time within the same duration.