Patricia M. Greenwood
Table of Contents
The Importance of E-Commerce in today’s economy 4-5
Latest Trends and major companies 5
E-Commerce defined, benefits and disadvantages 3-4
Glossary of terms 6
E-Commerce defined, benefits and disadvantages
E-commerce has been a part of our economic growth as a nation in one form or another. You can argue that the orders from the Sears catalog were the beginnings of e-commerce. Even though e-commerce has been around for years, consumers are still learly of the whole aspect relying on a computer to purchase their goods.
What exactly is e-commerce? Kenneth Laudon and Jane Laudon authors of Essentials of Management Information Systems define e-commerce as “The process of buying and selling goods and services electronically involving transactions using the Internet, networks, and other digital technologies.”
What are the benefits of e-commerce? There are a number advantages to both the consumer and businesses of E-commerce.
Easier cost comparative shopping
Can shop when you feel like it not just traditional store hours
Instance access to a greater number of stores
Time saver - do not have to run all over town looking for the hard to find item
Access to a larger market place
Reduced overhead costs
Just as there are, a number of benefits there are disadvantages that both consumers and businesses need to be aware of.
Increasing fraud risks
Increased costs for shipping and handling
Cannot see/touch the merchandise before buying
Hard to return unwanted merchandise
Not all consumers are online - missed sales opportunities
Increased market barriers
Truly rely on “word of month” to get business name/site out
So, considering all the publicity with e-commerce why should any business participate? The answer is simply the future. As technology and consumer wants and needs continue to progress businesses will have to do business via the Internet if they want to remain in business. According to the United State Census Bureau, E-commerce sales in the fourth quarter 2000 were $8.7 billion. This is a 67.1% increase from fourth quarter 1999. Even with the economy slowing, the buying and selling of goods will continue to increase in the next years.
The importance of E-Commerce in today’s economy
E-commerce has become an essential part of our nations economic growth in the past years. With the emergence and fall of numerous dot.com companies, the government can no longer consider e-commerce a technological phase. In June 1999, the Center for Research in Electronic Commerce at University of Texas, Austin was the first to study, and recognize e-commerce as a separate entity (the internet economy) in the nation’s economy. The study determined that the Internet economy generated approximately $301 billion in revenues in 1998 and created over 1.2 million jobs. This is particularly note worthy since dot.com’s make up only 9.6 percent of all online businesses. (According to the report “Measuring the Internet Economy”.) Experts continue on to state that with the slowing of the “non-technical” economy, the “internet economy” will slow as well; however, not at the rate the “non-technical” economy will. Now comes the question as to why? Unlike the “non-technical” economy that mainly relies on domestic consumers, the “internet economy” has a larger number of elements involved, such as business-to-business transactions, business to consumer, and the international markets. Needless to say, without the “internet economy” the Untied States would not have enjoyed the economic boom that it has for ten years.
Latest Trends & Consumer reactions
The latest trends of e-commerce include electronic bill pay, digital signatures, online banking just to name a few. Electronic bill pay is essentially paying your household bills over the internet. In most cases, it works like this. The consumer subscribes to an EBP provider, deposits funds (or you allow them access to your bank account) with them and as the consumer receives their bills in the mail, they in turn email them to their EBP provider with the date that they want the invoices paid. What can go wrong? Plenty. Consumers have registered complaints with the Federal Trade Commission stating that the EBP providers were not paying their bills in time. Therefore, consumers were assessed late charges and damaging credit ratings. This service has improved since it was first offered a few years ago. The security has increased and the government now keeps a closer eye on this type of business.
Digital signatures are the latest from the e-commerce world. This allows consumers to sign legal documents across the country without being physically there. This latest trend has really taken off in the housing market. Allowing prospective buyers to sign closing contracts with out taking time off is wonderful. Consumers love this idea. These contracts are legally binding and hold the same weight in court as if you were there in person. The major draw back to this type of service is identity theft. This has become an increasing problem through out the year. Consumers and businesses alike have yet to come up with a viable option to correct this problem. The FTC suggestion was to only do business with the businesses that consumers are familiar. However, this does not help emerging companies trying to enter the marketplace.
Online banking is the banking industry to compete with on another and with the electronic bill pay providers. Online banking allows consumers to check their balances, pay bills, purchase certificate of deposits and apply for loans all from the consumers’ home. This is a wonderful service that the banking industry has offered. The draw back for consumers is with servers crashing and hackers downloading your banking information. Whereas, the banking industry has taken extreme measures to ensure the consumers privacy no system is hacker proof. Consumers can protect themselves by not downloading their banking information at the same time (they need to do it at varying times) according to banking experts.
From the advantages and the disadvantages, the economic weight to the latest trend e-commerce is no longer an emerging force. E-Commerce is a force that has a strong presence not only in the Untied States but internationally as well.