Commerce is the exchange of goods and services which often requires their transportation from one place to another (between cities, countries or between parts of a country), especially on a large scale. More specifically, commerce is the part of business which includes all activities, functions and institutions related to the movement and distribution of goods and services from the producers to the consumers on a large scale. Commerce not only includes trade, which is the actual transaction, exchange or transfer of goods and services, but also the auxiliary services and means which facilitate such trade. These auxiliary services include transportation, communication, warehousing, insurance, banking, financial markets, advertising, packaging, the services of commercial agents and agencies, etc. In other words, commerce encompasses a wide array of political, economical, technological, logistical, legal, regulatory, social and cultural aspects of trade on a large scale. From a marketing perspective, commerce creates time and place utility by making goods and services available to the customers at the right place and at the right time by changing their location or placement.
Commerce was a costly endeavor in the antiquities because of the risky nature of transportation, which restricted it to local markets. Commerce then expanded along with the improvement of transportation systems over time. In the middle ages, long-distance and large-scale commerce was still limited within continents. With the advent of the age of exploration and oceangoing ships, commerce took an international, trans-continental stature. Currently the reliability of international trans-oceanic shipping and mailing systems and the facility of the Internet has made commerce possible between cities, regions and countries situated anywhere in the world. In the 21st century, Internet-based electronic commerce, and its subcategories such as wireless mobile commerce and social network-based social commerce have been and continue to get adopted widely.
Legislative bodies and ministries or ministerial departments of commerce regulate domestic and foreign commercial activities within a country. International commerce can be regulated by bilateral treaties between countries. However, after the second world war and the rise of free trade among nations, multilateral arrangements such as the GATT and later the World Trade Organization became the principal systems regulating global commerce. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is another important organization which sets rules and resolves disputes in international commerce.