E-Commerce in Azerbaijan
What is e-Commerce?
e-Commerce is defined as any commercial transaction, business or otherwise, that takes place online. This includes the buying and selling of goods and services as well as the collection of bill payments and the transferring of money.
What are its advantages?
e-Commerce offers several advantages over ordinary, paper-based commerce:
Convenient – why pay your bills at the bank or post office when you could pay them online from the comfort of your own home? Why go to a shop to buy a product when you could order it online and have it delivered to your door (especially when that product is sold from abroad)?
Transparent – e-Commerce transactions are always recorded. The merchant selling the product/service keeps a record, the bank has one, and so does the credit card company. In a sense, it “cleans” the economy because under-the-table transactions cannot be processed.
Global – You now have access to products and services from all over the world.
How does it work?
Any client wanting to purchase a service or product online goes to merchant’s website and chooses the product or service they would like to purchase. Then the client gets re-directed to the payment gateway website which looks like exactly like the merchant’s website. The client then enters his credit card information in this highly secure site. After that, the payment gateway sends the information securely to the processing center where the total payment amount is transferred to the merchant’s bank account. All this takes up to 3 seconds. After the completion, the merchant should deliver the purchased product or service to the customer.
Do I get charged a commission when I pay online?
What is a CVC number?
The CVC number is a 3-digit code on the back of your Visa, Visa Electron, MasterCard, or Maestro card. It exists for security purposes. Even if your card number is stolen, fraudulent payments cannot be processed without the CVC.
What should I do if I receive an error message during the payment process?
Contact the customer service address given in the error message and explain exactly what happened. Try to be as descriptive as possible in your explanation.
Are my transactions secure?
Yes. In Azerbaijan, both Azericard and GoldenPay, for example, use SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Encryption to encrypt transactions and make them secure.
Can I print a receipt after I pay online?
Yes. A print option is available on almost all transaction confirmation pages. You will often see both a button that allows you to print and a one that allows you to send the receipt to an email address of your choice.
Is the receipt legal?
Yes. The receipt you receive after paying online is completely legal and can be used as proof of payment in disputes with merchants.
What local e-Commerce services are currently available?
You can pay some of your bills online (Bakielectricshebeke, Azercell, Narmobile, Bakcell, Azerfon, B&B TV, Connect, among others). There are also a few local e-shops selling products online. However, you can expect this number to grow in the coming years.
What is the future of e-Commerce in Azerbaijan?
There is no question that e-Commerce will expand in Azerbaijan—it’s simply a matter of when. If you consider that it took the United States about eight years to fully embrace e-Commerce and turn it into a multi-billion dollar industry, then one can assume that the same timeframe will likely be the case here. Online payments have been possible only since early 2009, so that means another five or six year are likely to be necessary for online sales to develop fully.
Azerbaijan is only just finishing the first phase of e-Commerce implementation. Major pioneer merchants are connecting and offering at least some products and services online. In the second phase, an increase in the number of complex e-Commerce solutions will likely be made available. These will include services such as online ticketing for airlines and trains, online food ordering, and better online shops. In the third phase, these complex services will become expected in society. Consumers will start demanding that a company offers its product or service online. In turn, merchants will expand their offerings and improve already existing services. In the fourth and final phase, e-Commerce will form a sizeable percentage of the country’s economy. Consumers will transact with each other and businesses do so as well. When this happens, e-Commerce will truly become main stream.
Online transaction and data security is a key concern. Unfortunately, due to the fact that e-commerce is so new in Azerbaijan, most people are unaware of what “online transaction and data security” actually means. Below you will find information that explains everything you need to know about online security and what you can do to keep your information safe.
Online Transaction Security
E-commerce transactions require sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, to be passed from one website to another. To prevent third parties from intercepting such data and using it to commit fraud, the transaction is encrypted. This means that the data being passed between websites is changed from its original form into a completely unrecognizable form. Thus, any third party viewing this information would not be able to understand it.
Verisign, Inc. is the world leader in online transaction encryption (called Secure Socket Layer encryption). Any service that uses Verisign to encrypt all transactions provides assurance that your information is safe when you pay online.
Online Data Security
If you hold an account with Paypal or Amazon, for example, your account probably stores credit card information to make future payments more convenient. Have you ever stopped to think about what steps are taken in order to ensure that your data is stored securely?
An organization called the PCI Security Standards Council has as its goal to ensure that global standards for account data security are continuously developed, enhanced, and implemented. What this means for the consumer is that any company or organization that stores sensitive account data will need to do so on a PCI-certified server. To become PCI certified, strict requirements must be met. More info can be found by going to the PCI Security Standards Council’s website.
Phishing is defined as an attempt by a third party to gain access to sensitive information using a fraudulent website clone that looks exactly the same as its genuine counterpart. An example of this practice is as follows:
A phisher sends you an email that appears to be from an institution you trust (your bank, for example). The email tells you that you must verify information to keep your account active and provides a link where you can do so. When you click the link, you are taken to a page that looks exactly like your bank’s website. On it there is a form asking for your username, password, and other sensitive information.
Entering information into this form will in fact send your data directly to the phishers, who will then use the data to undertake fraudulent activities. If you receive a random email that appears to be from an institution you normally trust, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this institution normally send emails to me?
- Was I expecting an email from this organization?
- Is the link in the email legitimate? Right click on it, choose “Copy Shortcut” and then paste in Notepad. Is the URL the same as that of your trusted institution?
- Does the salutation contain my name or username? e.g. Dear Your Name Here
If you answered “no” to any of the above, someone is likely trying to steal your information. You can email the institution that presumably sent you the email and ask if the email is legitimate. Otherwise, simply delete the email and stay alert for future phishing scams.
Keeping Your Sensitive Information Safe
Keeping your information safe should be of utmost importance to you. This means creating strong passwords and safeguarding them at all costs, being sure to log out of your accounts (and clearing the cache) before leaving a public computer, not revealing your credit card details to anyone, and being aware of attempts by third parties to steal information from you. If you take these precautionary steps, you should be able to enjoy a fraud-free e-commerce experience.