Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Long Essay on E-COMMERCE

Long Essay on E-COMMERCE

Long Essay on E-COMMERCE

With the astonishing growth of the Internet, many companies are finding new and exciting ways to expand upon their business opportunities. There are very few successful companies that do not use computers in their everyday business activities, which also mean there are few companies that do not use e-commerce. To emphasize the point that the effect of the Internet is so widespread in today's business communities, one online article stated that more than 100000 companies have Internet addresses and 20000 companies have home pages on the Internet as of February 1999. These numbers have more than tripled since 1995 and the trend shows no signs of slowing. But what exactly is e-Commerce? To most casual Internet surfers, e-commerce means online shopping.

Simply put, e-commerce is the exchange of business information between two or more organizations. An example of this would be buying and selling products or services over the Internet. E-commerce became very popular soon after it proved to be an efficient means to conduct long distance transactions. The purpose of this essay is to discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of e-commerce, as well as examining its potential for the future of business.

Electronic commerce or e-commerce has developed very rapidly in the last few years and has left some people wondering what it is all about. Most people think e-commerce is just about buying and selling things over the Internet. E-commerce is a broad term describing the electronic exchange of business data between two or more organizations’ computers. Some examples might be the electronic filing of your income tax return, on-line services and on-line billing for services or products received. E-commerce also includes buying and selling any item over the Internet, electronic fund transfer, smart cards and all other methods of conducting business over digital networks. The primary technological goal of e-commerce is to integrate businesses, government agencies and contractors into a single community with the ability to communicate with one another across any computer platform. Electronic commerce was built on a foundation that was started more than 125 years ago with Western Union's money transfer as an example of telegraph technology.

In the early 1900s the advent of credit cards as a payment system revolutionized the process of automated commerce functions. In the mid 1980s the introduction of the ATM card was the latest improvement to electronic commerce. The Internet was conceived in 1969.

The Internet, as a means for commerce, did not become reality until the 1990s. Before this time, it was mainly a tool for the army and a research device for some American universities. Its popularity grew when it proved to become a fast and efficient means to conduct long distance transactions, as well as an effective way to distribute information.

Clearly, E-commerce will change the face of business forever. Companies that are thousands of miles away can complete business transactions in a matter of seconds as well as exchange information.
Without a doubt, the Internet is ushering in an era of sweeping change that will leave no business or industry untouched. In just three years, the Net has gone from a playground for nerds into a vast communications and trading centre where some 90 million people swap information or do deals around the world. It took radio more than 30 years to reach 60 million people and television 15 years. Never has a technology caught fire so fast.

The number one advantage that e-commerce possesses is speed. The Internet and World Id Wide Web give businesses opportunities to exchange messages or complete transactions a almost instantaneously. Even with the slowest connections, doing business electronically is much faster than traditional modes.

With increased speeds of communication, the delivery time is expedited and that makes whole transaction from start to finish more efficient. Also, you can find practically any product available for sale on the Internet, as one author put it, 'from books and Compact disks to French'.

Even more significant is the fact that information appearing on the Internet can be changed extremely rapidly. This gives business owners the ability to inform customers of any changes to the service that they are offering. This also allows one to update marketing and promotional materials as often and as frequently as one like so.

The second advantage of the electronic commerce is the opportunity it offers to save on costs. By using the Internet, marketing, distribution, personnel, phone, postage and printing costs, among many others, can be reduced. You can start doing business in cyberspace for as little as $100. Most businesses will spend more than this but compared to the cost of opening a physical store, the savings are tremendous. These funds can then be diverted to marketing and advertising of your product or service.

Cyberspace knows no national boundaries. That means that you can do business all over the world as easily as you can in your own neighborhood. Since the Internet connects everyone in cyberspace, information is transmitted at the speed of sound or the speed of light, depending on your connection.
Either way, distance becomes meaningless, which makes you able to link to anyone on the globe and anyone on the globe can link to you. The ability to provide links makes doing business on the Internet make it attractive to customers in any part of the world.

 Using the web to provide customer support is an excellent vehicle to help build the reliability and effectiveness of your product or service. The ability to provide online answers to problems through e-mail or an provide an archive section of frequently asked questions 24 hours a day, 365 day a year, builds customer confidence and retention.

The Internet tends to be a more personal environment. People expect to get a real person when they send mail. This can work to your advantage as a small start-up company or when you are a large corporation. No matter what business you are involved in, an online-help feature is an extraordinary advantage to have.

A potential source of trouble is customer concerns with privacy and security. Anything sent over the Internet is sent through several different computers before it reaches its destination. The concern regarding Internet security and privacy is that unscrupulous hackers can capture credit card or checking account data as it is transferred or break into computers that hold the same information. Security on the Internet is much like security for your home. There is a point when the effort outweighs the advantages. As with your home you usually stop adding security features when you feel safe.

Making a customer feel safe is what is important in doing business on the Internet. Even though no-one can guarantee 100% security in transferring financial information over the Internet, e-commerce is still safer than using credit cards at an actual store or restaurant or paying for something with the use of a 1800 number.

Also, every time you throw away a credit card receipt you could make yourself vulnerable to fraud. But how do we as consumers, know this for sure? What precautions do e-commerce websites take to avoid such problems? The answer is simple: encryption.

Ever since the 2.0 version of Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer, transactions can be encrypted using Secure Sockets Layer(SSL) an Internet protocol that crates a secure connection to the server, protecting the information as it travels over the Internet. SSL uses public key encryption, one of the strongest encryption methods around. A way to tell that a website is secured by SSL is when the URL begins with https instead of http. Browser makers and credit card companies are also promoting an additional security standard called Secure Electronic Transactions (SET).

SET encodes the credit card numbers that sit on vendors’ servers so that only banks and credit card companies can read the numbers. Obviously no e-commerce system can guarantee 100-per cent protection for your credit card, but you are less likely to get your pocket picked online than in a real store.

E-commerce is based on the assumption that the participants will pay for what they buy. There has been a noted reluctance among Internet users to actually pay, particularly for the digital goods and services. As a result, much of the current business on the Internet is funded using business models other than user-pays, primarily advertising and sponsorship. If a company is selling something, then they need to find, a way to accept payment that is not only convenient for them, but most importantly, convenient for the customers.

Setting up a simple web site can be very inexpensive, but if you are unsure of how to go about creating one, a simple web site may not be so simple. And if you don't know what you are doing, your site will definitely not be effective. A functional web site with online ordering requires expertise in four different areas. If a business owner does not have HTML, CGI scripting, ODBC and special programs for online clearing options experience, they may want to consider outsourcing.

Outsourcing is the use of a third party service company to provide the missing pieces to complete the total functionality of the business. This is a cost-effective way to allow a site to get up and running much faster and concentrate on the product or service rather than getting overwhelmed with the technical challenges. 

Finally, a possible disadvantage to e-commerce is not having a strong organizational commitment. A functional web site that is going to be successful will soon need additional resources in technology and skills. E-commerce is evolving at a very rapid rate and the business owner must be willing to evolve with it. Newer and more advanced technology will cost more, but should be supplemented by additional revenues. Also, the company must be willing to change the entire business or start a new one when they can see the need for change.

Rest assured the future of e-commerce is Intact and ever changing. Like electricity, antibiotics or the car, the Internet is a revolutionary technology. It is quite evident that e-commerce is only gaining speed. As one article stated, 'the growth of e-commerce won't diminish.

It will become such a pervasive influence on how a company works that all functions within an organization will have a stake in their e-commerce strategy. With Internet traffic doubling every 100 day the digital economy is alive and growing. The huge growth of virtual communities is causing shifts in economic power from large corporations to smaller businesses. Virtual communities erode the marketing and sales advantages of large companies.

A small, company with a better product and better customer service can use these communities to challenge larger competitors -something it probably could not, do in the real world. With many of the technological advances in the banking, online trading and retail industries, e-commerce will soon become the foundation of our life just as radio; telephone and television have in the past.

Technology has a place in everyone's day-to-day activities and soon e-commerce will be a major factor in the decisions we have to make. Remember, e-commerce is more complex than just buying that special someone's birthday present. E-commerce, along with the Internet, is an outlet for business. It is a way for the new guy to compete with the proven giants in the industry. Simply put, the Internet and the use of e-commerce provides many opportunities for even the smallest of businesses to compete with large corporations, in essence leveling the playing field. With the steady growth of the Internet and the fact that every year more and more families are plugging in and surfing the web, can a company survive without the use of the Internet and e-commerce? Probably, but not for long. The Internet and e-commerce are here to stay, so businesses can either change with the times or get left behind. The choice is theirs to make. 



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