Ecommerce

E commerce basically refers the online trading over different electronic systems such as Internet and computer networks. It also includes online process of developing, marketing, delivering selling paying for products and services. E-commerce is known as E-tailing too. E-tailing can be divided into following

  • E-tailing or "virtual storefronts" on Web sites with online catalogs, sometimes gathered into a "virtual mall"
  • The gathering and use of demographic data through Web contacts
  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), the business-to-business exchange of data
  • Email, Fax and their use as media for reaching prospects and established customers (for example, with newsletters)
  • Business-to-business buying and selling
  • The security of business transactions

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E-tailing or The Virtual Storefront and the Virtual Mall

As a place for direct retail shopping, with its 24-hour availability, a global reach, the ability to interact and provide custom information and ordering, and multimedia prospects, the Web is rapidly becoming a multibillion dollar source of revenue for the world's businesses. A number of businesses already report considerable success. As early as the middle of 1997, Dell Computers reported orders of a million dollars a day. By early 1999, projected e-commerce revenues for business were in the billions of dollars and the stocks of companies deemed most adept at e-commerce were skyrocketing. Although many so-called dotcom retailers disappeared in the economic shakeout of 2000, Web retailing at sites such as Amazon.com, CDNow.com, and CompudataOnline.com continues to grow.


Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

EDI is the exchange of business data using an understood data format. It predates today's Internet. EDI involves data exchange among parties that know each other well and make arrangements for one-to-one (or point-to-point) connection, usually dial-up. EDI is expected to be replaced by one or more standard XML formats, such as ebXML.


Benefits of E-Commerce

E-commerce can provide the following benefits over non-electronic commerce:

  • Reduced costs by reducing labour, reduced paper work, reduced errors in keying in data, reduce post costs
  • Reduced time. Shorter lead times for payment and return on investment in advertising, faster delivery of product
  • Flexibility with efficiency. The ability to handle complex situations, product ranges and customer profiles without the situation becoming unmanageable.
  • Improve relationships with trading partners. Improved communication between trading partners leads to enhanced long-term relationships.
  • Lock in Customers. The closer you are to your customer and the more you work with them to change from normal business practices to best practice e-commerce the harder it is for a competitor to upset your customer relationship.
  • New Markets. The Internet has the potential to expand your business into wider geographical locations.

Distribution Channels

E-commerce has grown in importance as companies have adopted Pure-Click and Brick and Click channel systems. We can distinguish between pure-click and brick and click channel system adopted by companies.

  • Pure-Click companies are those that have launched a website without any previous existence as a firm. It is imperative that such companies must set up and operate their e-commerce websites very carefully. Customer service is of paramount importance.
  • Brick and Click companies are those existing companies that have added an online site for e-commerce. Initially, Brick and Click companies were skeptical whether or not to add an online e-commerce channel for fear that selling their products might produce channel conflict with their off-line retailers, agents, or their own stores. However, they eventually added internet to their distribution channel portfolio after seeing how much business their online competitors were generating.