WHAT FORCES ARE FUELING E-COMMERCE?
There are at least three major forces fuelling e-commerce: economic forces, marketing and customer interaction forces, and technology, particularly multimedia convergence
One of the most evident benefits of e-commerce is economic efficiency resulting from the reduction in communications costs, low-cost technological infrastructure, speedier and more economic electronic transactions with suppliers, lower global information sharing and advertising costs, and cheaper customer service alternatives.
Economic integration is either external or internal. External integration refers to the electronic networking of corporations, suppliers, customers/clients, and independent contractors into one community communicating in a virtual environment (with the Internet as medium). Internal integration, on the other hand, is the networking of the various departments within a corporation, and of business operations and processes. This allows critical business information to be stored in a digital form that can be retrieved instantly and transmitted electronically. Internal integration is best exemplified by corporate intranets. Among the companies with efficient corporate intranets are Procter and Gamble, IBM, Nestle and Intel.
EG. SESAMi.NET: Linking Asian Markets through B2B Hubs
SESAMi.NET is Asia’s largest B2B e-hub, a virtual exchange integrating and connecting businesses (small, medium or large) to trading partners, e-marketplaces and internal enterprise systems for the purpose of sourcing out supplies, buying and selling goods and services online in real time. The e-hub serves as the center for management of content and the processing of business transactions with support services such as financial clearance and information services.
It is strategically and dynamically linked to the Global Trading Web (GTW), the world’s largest network of trading communities on the Internet. Because of this very important link,
SESAMi reaches an extensive network of regional, vertical and industry-specific interoperable B2B e-markets across the globe.
Corporations are encouraged to use e-commerce in marketing and promotion to capture international markets, both big and small. The Internet is likewise used as a medium for enhanced customer service and support. It is a lot easier for companies to provide their target consumers with more detailed product and service information using the Internet.
The development of ICT is a key factor in the growth of e-commerce. For instance, technological advances in digitizing content, compression and the promotion of open systems technology have paved the way for the convergence of communication services into one single platform. This in turn has made communication more efficient, faster, easier, and more economical as the need to set up separate networks for telephone services, television broadcast, cable television, and Internet access is eliminated. From the standpoint of firms/ businesses and consumers, having only one information provider means lower communications costs.
Moreover, the principle of universal access can be made more achievable with convergence. At present the high costs of installing landlines in sparsely populated rural areas is a disincentive to telecommunications companies to install telephones in these areas. Installing landlines in rural areas can become more attractive to the private sector if revenues from these landlines are not limited to local and long distance telephone charges, but also include cable TV and Internet charges. This development will ensure affordable access to information even by those in rural areas and will spare the government the trouble and cost of installing expensive landlines
Is e-Commerce the Same as e-Business?
While some use e-commerce and e-business interchangeably, they are distinct concepts. In e-commerce, information and communications technology (ICT) is used in inter-business or inter-organizational transactions (transactions between and among firms/organizations) and in business-to-consumer transactions (transactions between firms/organizations and individuals).
In e-business, on the other hand, ICT is used to enhance one’s business. It includes any process that a business organization (either a for-profit, governmental or non-profit entity) conducts over a computer-mediated network. A more comprehensive definition of e-business is: “The transformation of an organization’s processes to deliver additional customer value through the application of technologies, philosophies and computing paradigm of the new economy.”
Three primary processes are enhanced in e-business:
1. Production processes, which include procurement, ordering and replenishment of stocks; processing of payments; electronic links with suppliers; and production control processes, among others;
2. Customer-focused processes, which include promotional and marketing efforts, selling over the Internet, processing of customers’ purchase orders and payments, and customer support, among others; and
3. Internal management processes, which include employee services, training, internal information-sharing, videoconferencing, and recruiting. Electronic applications enhance information flow between production and sales forces to improve sales force productivity. Workgroup communications and electronic publishing of internal business information are likewise made more efficient.
Is the Internet economy synonymous with e-commerce and e-business?
The Internet economy is a broader concept than e-commerce and e-business. It includes e-commerce and e-business.
The Internet economy pertains to all economic activities using electronic networks as a medium for commerce or those activities involved in both building the networks linked to the Internet and the purchase of application services such as the provision of enabling hardware and software and network equipment for Web-based/online retail and shopping malls (or “e-malls”). It is made up of three major segments: physical (ICT) infrastructure, business infrastructure, and commerce
Discussion about the technological aspects of E-commerce.
Find out the various companies engaged in online business and discuss about their strategies.