E-Commerce is an abbreviated term used to refer to Electronic Commerce. It involves buying and selling of commodities over electronic systems like a computer network or the internet. With the increased usage of the internet in the globe, there has been a widespread use of the internet in business. The concept is drawing more innovations and numerous discoveries on how individuals can operate businesses successfully from the comfort of their homes. It encompasses all marketing and transaction process just as it is in the physical involvement (Chaudhury p.23). This paper will illustrate how E-Commerce has changed the face of business with the emergence of automated data management system.
E-Commerce which employs the use of World Wide Web (www), Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (http) and E-Mail has revolutionized the way business is done for the better.
The Internet Business
Even though e-commerce is based entirely on electronically managed processes, it has its back stopping eventually on physical transportation of goods in one way or another. This is the means of moving goods between the concerned parties i.e. the suppliers and the consumers. There are basically two types of electronic business; first is that which is carried between one business organization and another, this is called business-to-business or just B2B. The other one is business-to-consumer or B2C, which is that business deal between a business organization and the consumer (www.export.gov/sellingonline.com). Most individuals opt to conduct their business dealings through the electronic mediums because they tend to be relatively cheaper and faster in all aspects as far as transactions. E-commerce encompasses online digital orders up to online consumption, with all the processes carried on the World Wide Web and Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. Consumers can buy from automobiles, real estates, electronics, books and groceries. Other activities which can be done online include and not limited to buying of stock, payment of bills, online banking and wire payment applied on fund transfer from one account to the other. The latest technology has led into great innovations integrated in mini laptops which are making online running of businesses much easier. The laptops are possible to be carried along due to their light in weight. Quiet a heavy bank of knowledge can be accessed in the internet, receive and send e-mails, link up with social sites from which one can develop bonds and advertise his/her business (McCollum, pp.41-43).
Only three decades ago, the business community used electronic commerce to facilitate their business transactions by use of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer). These systems allowed businessmen to share business documents like purchase orders, invoices electronically. It later graduated into the use of Credit Cards, Telephone banking and ATM (Automatic Teller Machines). Then this culminated into on-line bookings or rather airline reservations (first invented buy the Sabre of USA and Travicom of UK). The auto companies adopted this concept extensively and the results were great. E-Commerce links business vendors, hosts and buyers in the transfer of ownership and rights of goods and services. Examples of some of the organizations that are involved in the B2C include llbean.com, Amazon.com, Travelocity.com, hotels.com and CompUSA.com (McCollum, pp.55-61).
Drawing an example from young innovative, Gabriel Schaffzin, who has utilized the internet’s wonderful applications to boost his fathers business. He discovered that through the internet, he could bring to an even level the competition mark of their business and widen their customer base. He has created a website for their company which allows everyone all over the world to access and find out about what they deal with and to some extent make online orders. This has seen them expand income by several folds. With the business doing very fine and customers; confidence building up, the sky seems not to be the limit for the business men. Many of their customers who are even hailing from the neighborhood opt for online orders to save time and other minor requirements (Wood, p.2). But on top of using the internet solely for business purposes, Martha Irvin gives some examples of individuals like William Herbert who got so much used to the internet as a social site such that without it, they say it was as if they were alone, isolated and cut off from the rest of the world. She explains that the internet contains anything including everything, just by a press of a button; the teens can access adult sites the same way they can come up with important innovative ways to tackle their assignments in educational institutions. What should be therefore done is for the parents and guardians to monitor the children to ensure that they only use the internet for constructive and not destructive purposes. But she also cautions against shutting the children off from accessing the internet that would amount to rending them obsolete. She argues that the cyber space is a special community for people of all ages to meet and seek a soft spot on a way forward. They will learn new things and put at the same knowledge level the dwellers from the developing and developed world. The cyber space, according to Martha is an even equalizer (Wood, p.3-4).
There was however one major problem with e-commerce, that was the security issue. The business was wholly based on trust between the parties involved, fraudulent businessmen came into play. Scams erupted and it was very hard tracking the culprits became hard as there were no regulations regarding online business. Several people withdrew their interests, but some risk takers forged ahead with their online inventions. Boston Computer College started the first ever online market place in 1990 and in 1991 the American Information Exchange came up with online consulting. It was not until 1994 when regulations to act a security measures and protocols. After this move, many people got into the online business and majorly associated the term e-commerce with trading through the internet under secure protocol and reliable electronic payment service. The government has also identified the importance of e-commerce in business and as a vital tool in helping development. For instance, the United States government established a body going by the name FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to affect these rules. Under the CAN-SPAN Act of 2003 which regulates internet adverts; it prohibits deceit and defines terms of corporate private policy. In 2009, the US government drafted another bill “Cyber security Act” to monitor and regulate military networks and further bring restrictions to like the electric grid (McCollum, p.6).
This paper has established that, for the business community–the customers and e-tellers a like. The internet offers the best platform to drive e-business to grater heights. But as this continues, care should be taken to ensure that the regulations are enforced and made stringent to avert and scam. That would be the only way to counter these hard economic times where travelling has become so expensive. And for the parents who fear for the damaging effect of the internet, they can block these damaging sites so that the juniors will not be able to access them as they surf the internet.
Chaudhury, Abijit; Jean-Pierre Kuilboer (2002). E-business and e-Commerce Infrastructure. McGraw-Hill.pp.23-61.
McCollum Tim. Making the Internet Work for You. Nations Business: New York (1997). 85(3). Pp.4-6.
Wood Nancy. Perspectives on Argument: An Essay by Martha Irvin. Allyn & Bacon. (2007).pp.1-4.