Commerce refers to a negotiated exchange of goods or services. Electronic commerce (e-commerce) on the other hand refers to the application of electronic technologies to conduct business, usually on the World Wide Web (WWW) or over the Internet. After the Internet became publicly available in 1993, innovative people came up with a way of conducting e-commerce in the second half of decade between 1990 – 2000.
This initial e-commerce led to the coinage of the term “dot-com”, which was used in reference to a company that conducted its business on the Internet. The initial dot-com wave marked a new dawn that was previously unknown, when an alternative to the age-old brick-and-mortar commerce establishments first faced their serious threat: the e-commerce platform. Unlike the traditional brick-and-mortar establishments, the e-commerce only required someone to register a World Wide Web domain and then develop a website on which e-commerce could be undertaken.
The first wave of electronic commerce which started in the 1990s ended in the year 2000. The second wave of e- commerce, which emerged thereafter heralded the entry of new approaches to the integration of Internet technologies into business processes. As a result, the use of the Internet to conduct business continued to increase in both volume and scope, as new use cases of the Internet and e-commerce continued to emerge. Ultimately, e-business (electronic business) emerged.
E-Business is all about enabling organizations to seamlessly bring together their operational processes and Internet technologies, in order to achieve more cost effectiveness, efficiency and better relationships in their business partnerships. E-Business is the electronic connection of business processes to customers, suppliers, employees and other business partners. It includes, but is not limited to, product marketing, order entry, inventory tracking, order fulfillment and after-sales support..
One characteristic of the initial dot-coms of the 1990s was the over-reliance on advertising as a revenue source. Many of the web technologies that we enjoy today were also either not yet available, or were very rudimentary, hence making e-commerce still a challenge to implement fully.
E-Commerce contrasts from e-business in that e-commerce has a narrower definition and only involves the buying and selling of goods and services over the Internet. E-commerce is normally limited to catalogs, order entry, authorization, payment and delivery confirmation.
E-commerce takes place at different levels, which may be looked at as the different categories of e-commerce. These categories or levels of e-commerce are:
An important point to note is that, in order to conduct electronic commerce across international borders, you must understand such societal issues as trust, cultural, language, and legal attributes of your target communities or territories.
It is noteworthy that any organization that does not have a presence on the Internet today is basically operating in the shadows, where it is not clearly visible. One aspect that all organizations, however, need to be keen on is to ensure that their publicly available content on the Internet is updated and relevant if they are to leap the most out of their presence on the Internet.
We are implementors of e-commerce and e-business. We would be happy to support your organization in its journey to, or on, its e-commerce or e-business platform.