However, let's start with what most people think - as perception is reality. Most people associate an on-line store with a web-based shopping experience where they browse a website, pick something they want to buy, put it in a shopping cart, type in their credit card number and wait for it to arrive in the mail. On-line stores tend to be associated with products, and most often with consumer-oriented products.
Internet selling is this and perhaps more. For example, when a web-based match-making service charges a visitor to send an email to a prospective "friend", they have made an internet sale, but few would think of it as an on-line store. When you use the internet to pay for and use a fax broadcasting service to send out a mass mailing, you have purchased a service on the internet and the vendor has made an internet sale but neither of you may think he is running an on-line store.
In all these cases however, the transaction takes place over the internet, usually using a web-browser. The internet is facilitating a business transaction and while any business transaction conducted over the internet is an internet sale, not all of them would necessarily be considered as using an on-line store.
For more information, check out searchCRM's Best Web Links on E-Commerce.
This was first published in April 2001