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In its broadest sense, Electronic Commerce (a.k.a. eCommerce) encompasses any commercial activity that takes place directly between a business, its partners, or its customers through a combination of computing and communications technologies.
Because Electronic Commerce can help organizations to achieve business goals by using the most effective technology to employ the power of the Internet, eCommerce rightfully encompasses all of the activities that heighten a customer's interest before, during, and after a sale. In this way, eCommerce can be used to create brand equity and to improve an organization's public image, as well to develop and strengthen direct relationships between an organization and its customers, distributors, suppliers, and retailers.
Types of Electronic Commerce
The two primary forms of eCommerce are business-to-business and business-to-consumer. Business-to-business eCommerce is used by businesses perhaps most commonly to improve communication within the organization and to cut the cost and increase efficiency of business processes. Business-to-consumer eCommerce is used by consumers for the convenience of purchasing products or services over the Web. Businesses use business-to-consumer eCommerce to reach new markets and promote products and services. Perhaps a third eCommerce type is the intra-organizational eCommerce, which comprises global organizations using electronic technologies to communicate between divisions or operating companies.
Why Is eCommerce a Business Imperative?
To survive, organizations must compete in an environment in which consumers expect more for less. eCommerce enables organizations to operate at lower costs while maintaining or even increasing revenues. eCommerce also can reduce business cycle times by increasing speed and accuracy of transactions processed with fewer people. These results can, in turn, improve business partnership quality.
Where Are Businesses Applying eCommerce Solutions?
Marketing and Promotions
Brand Management and Awareness
Inventory Management for Global Entities
Supply Chain Management
Customer Relationship Management
Customer Billing and Payment
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