In simple terms, electronic commerce or e-commerce is the practice of conducting business electronically.
If you have used an automatic teller machine (ATM), a credit card or fax, then you have completed an e-commerce
transaction. In recent years, with the increased use of the internet by business, many new e-commerce opportunities
and options for small business have emerged.
The fundamental types of e-commerce are:
• Business to business (B2B)
For example a company that uses the internet for ordering
from its suppliers, receiving invoices and making
payments (the paperwork side of things is often referred
to as Electronic Data Interchange or EDI).
• Business to consumer (B2C)
Electronic retailing (or E-tailing) has expanded rapidly and
is now used by business around the world to sell all sorts
of products and services to consumers.
• Business to government (B2G)
Any electronic exchange between government and
business. For example, the Government Electronic
Marketplace (GEM) is a system which has been set up to
enable business to sell to government electronically. Here,
suppliers of goods and services can register online to have
access to an enormous market of government buyers.
Registered suppliers can also access tender information
and lodge tenders online.
• Consumer to government (C2G)
For example, submission of electronic tax returns or
on-line payment of parking fines by credit card.
• Business to employee (B2E)
A business which communicates with staff by email, or
through staff intranet or uses electronic payroll is using
• Creator to consumer (C2C)
The C2C system creates an online environment in which
publishers work with authors to create digitally printed
books (d-books) and internet accessible electronic books
Why embrace electronic commerce?
E-commerce can offer many benefits for your business. It can enable transactions to occur more efficiently and effectively,
lead to general business improvement, increase responsiveness to clients and suppliers, reduced paperwork, and save you money.
How can I use e-commerce?
The range of e-commerce activities adopted by an organisation can vary and can cover the full spectrum from
simple emails to production planning, purchasing, manufacturing, inventory managing, invoicing, delivering,
collecting, supporting and servicing, marketing and selling, promoting and informing.
Specifically, e-commerce allows you to undertake the following directly from your website:
Let your customers find you online. Even better allow them to purchase from you without entering your store. Creating a virtual store with simple phone and email support can double you revenue.
- Ecommerce is ideal for niche products. Customers for such products are usually few. But in the vast market place i.e. the Internet, even niche products could generate viable volumes.
- Another important benefit of Ecommerce is that it is the cheapest means of doing business.
- The day-to-day pressures of the marketplace have played their part in reducing the opportunities for companies to invest in improving their competitive position. A mature market, increased competitions have all reduced the amount of money available to invest. If the selling price cannot be increased and the manufactured cost cannot be decreased then the difference can be in the way the business is carried out. Ecommerce has provided the solution by decimating the costs, which are incurred.
- From the buyer’s perspective also ecommerce offers a lot of tangible advantages.
- Reduction in buyer’s sorting out time.
- Better buyer descisions
- Less time is spent in resolving invoice and order discrepancies.
- Increased opportunities for buying alternative products.
- The strategic benefit of making a business ‘ecommerce enabled’, is that it helps reduce the delivery time, labour cost and the cost incurred in the following areas:Document preparation
- Error detection and correction
- Mail preparation
- Telephone calling
- Credit card machines
- Data entry
- Supervision expenses
- Operational benefits of e commerce include reducing both the time and personnel required to complete business processes, and reducing strain on other resources. It’s because of all these advantages that one can harness the power of ecommerce and convert a business to ebusiness by using powerful turnkey ecommerce solutions made available by ebusiness solution providers. Fill out the below form if you would like an obligation free quote on an ecommerce website for your business.