HTML and CSS Reference
In-Depth Information
12.1 What Is E-Commerce?
A formal definition of e-commerce is the integration of communications, data manage-
ment, and security technologies, which allows individuals and organizations to
exchange information related to the sale of goods and services. Major functions of
e-commerce include the buying of goods, the selling of goods, and the performance of
financial transactions on the Internet.
Advantages of E-Commerce
There are a number of advantages to both businesses and consumers when engaging in
e-commerce. For businesses, the many advantages include the following:
Reduced Costs. Online businesses can stay open 24 hours a day without the over-
head of a brick-and-mortar facility. Many businesses establish a Web site before
attempting e-commerce. When they add e-commerce functions to their Web site,
the site becomes a source of revenue and, in many cases, pays for itself in short
Increased Customer Satisfaction. Businesses can use their Web sites to improve
communication with customers and increase customer satisfaction. E-commerce
sites often contain an FAQ page. The availability of customer service representa-
tives by e-mail, discussion forums, or even online chat (see
can improve customer relations.
More Effective Data Management. Depending on the level of automation,
e-commerce sites can perform credit card verification and authorization, update
inventory levels, and interface with order fulfillment systems, thereby managing
the organization's data more efficiently.
Potentially Higher Sales. An e-commerce store that is open 24 hours a day, seven
days a week and is available to everyone on the planet has the potential for
higher sales than a traditional brick-and-mortar storefront.
Businesses aren't the only beneficiaries of e-commerce; consumers see some advantages
as well, including the following:
Convenience. Consumers can shop at any time of the day. There is no travel time
to get to the store. Some consumers prefer Web site shopping over traditional cat-
alog shopping because they can view additional images and join discussion
forums about the products.
Easier Comparison Shopping. There is no driving from store to store to check the
price of an item. Customers can easily surf the Web and compare prices and
Wider Selection of Goods. Since it is convenient to shop and compare, consumers
have a wider selection of goods available for purchase.
As you can see, e-commerce provides a number of advantages for both businesses and
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