Over the thousands of years that people have engaged in commerce with one another, they have adopted the tools and technologies that became available. For example, the advent of sailing ships in ancient times opened new avenues of trade to buyers and sellers. More recent innovations, such as the printing press, the steam engine, and the telephone, have each changed the way in which people conducted commerce activities.
For decades, firms have used various electronic communications tools to conduct different kind of business transactions. Banks have used EFTs to move customers’ money around the world, all kinds of businesses have used EDI to place orders and send invoices, and retailers have used television advertising to generate telephone orders from the general public for all kinds of merchandise.