E-Commerce

Electronic commerce, commonly written as e-commerce or eCommerce, is the trading or facilitation of trading in products or services using computer networks, such as the Internet or online social networks. Electronic commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), inventory management systems, and automated data collection systems. Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web for at least one part of the transaction's life cycle although it may also use other technologies such as e-mail.

E-commerce businesses may employ some or all of the following:

  • Online shopping web sites for retail sales direct to consumers
  • Providing or participating in online marketplaces, which process third-party business-to-consumer or consumer-to-consumer sales
  • Business-to-business buying and selling
  • Gathering and using demographic data through web contacts and social media
  • Business-to-business (B2B) electronic data interchange
  • Marketing to prospective and established customers by e-mail or fax (for example, with newsletters)
  • Engaging in pretail for launching new products and services
  • Online financial exchanges for currency exchanges or trading purposes

Economists have theorized that e-commerce ought to lead to intensified price competition, as it increases consumers' ability to gather information about products and prices. Research by four economists at the University of Chicago has found that the growth of online shopping has also affected industry structure in two areas that have seen significant growth in e-commerce, bookshops and travel agencies. Generally, larger firms are able to use economies of scale and offer lower prices. The lone exception to this pattern has been the very smallest category of bookseller, shops with between one and four employees, which appear to have withstood the trend. Depending on the category, e-commerce may shift the switching costs—procedural, relational, and financial—experienced by customers.

Individual or business involved in e-commerce whether buyers or sellers rely on Internet-based technology in order to accomplish their transactions. E-commerce is recognized for its ability to allow business to communicate and to form transaction anytime and anyplace. Whether an individual is in the US or overseas, business can be conducted through the internet. The power of e-commerce allows geophysical barriers to disappear, making all consumers and businesses on earth potential customers and suppliers. Thus, switching barriers and switching costs may shift. eBay is a good example of e-commerce business individuals and businesses are able to post their items and sell them around the Globe.

In e-commerce activities, supply chain and logistics are two most crucial factors need to be considered. Typically, cross-border logistics need about few weeks time round. Based on this low efficiency of the supply chain service, customer satisfaction will be greatly reduced. Some researcher stated that combining e-commerce competence and IT setup could well enhance company’s overall business worth. Other researcher stated that e-commerce need to consider the establishment of warehouse centers in foreign countries, to create high efficiency of the logistics system, not only improve customers’ satisfaction, but also can improve customers’ loyalty.