E-Commerce (реферат)

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1. What is E-Commerce?

There exists no exact definition of e-commerce. Generally it is
described as any kind of business transaction where information is
exchanged electronically.

To some people it means shopping at a website and buying products
online, to other people it means just designing a web page in a way to
increase the customers’ interest. It does not necessarily describe a
process of ordering and paying online.

Electronic trading, in which a supplier provides goods or services to a
customer in return for payment is just one special case of electronic

Other equally valid examples include internal transactions within a
single company

or provision of information to an external organisation without any

E-commerce is concerned with attracting new customers and therefore it
involves advertising, public relations and collecting information for
and about customers.

It’s not enough to get an online order for a product, it’s also
necessary to have this product and to deliver it to the customer. So
e-commerce includes, besides of interacting with customers
electronically, all the things a “normal” business would also need.

Categories of E-Commerce

There are 3 categories of e-commerce:

business-to-business (B2B)

business-to-consumer (B2C)



An example in the business-to-business category would be a company that

uses an electronic way for ordering from its suppliers, receiving
invoices and

making payments.

The business-to-consumer category means selling things to consumers via
Internet. It is the most well-known form of e-commerce.

The business-to-administration category covers all transactions between
companies and government organisations.

The same category exists for consumers and administration, though it is
rather seldom.

As the B2C category is the most popular one, we will talk about it.

Advantages of E-Commerce

The following list describes of what may be the main advantages of

lower transaction costs (if an e-commerce site is organised well, you
won’t even need any office equipment – however, it is rather seldom)

availability (people from everywhere and at any time of the day can
visit your site, get information and put orders)

large quantity of information (a company can build a very large
catalogue with a lot of information on the web – just think of Amazon
with it’s 3 Mio. articles)

providing “up-to-date” information (you can update your site quickly and
make important information available in time)

comparing prices and products

quickness (the customers’ orders and enquiries can be handled

Disadvantages of E-Commerce

There are a lot of hard aspects about e-commerce as the recent failures
in this branche show:

making people to visit your site (getting traffic to come to your web

how do you make yourself different from a (large) competition

getting people to buy something at your site (people usually feel VERY
uneasy about buying via Internet)

you still need money (capital) to maintain your system and provide an
effective customer support

So e-commerce does not mean that you can make profits easier than in a
“normal” business. You have to manage all the activities concerned with
marketing, finance, distribution, purchase and public relations.

These problems are the most relevat ones as competition grows all the
time and people still try to avoid buying online. Stories about hackers
using your credit card number or even large companies making losses in
trying themselves in e-commerce – all this makes people even more
sceptical about buying anything online.

However, this problems are also common in the old economy. So there are
a few other hard aspects about e-commerce:

legality (concerning international e-commerce companies; business
contracts are defined differently by law in every country)

ownership (the copyright problem is a very big one)

privacy and security

What is Popular With E-Commerce?

Here you can see a list of products most popular with B2C e-commerce in

There were about 700.000 people who bought something via Internet in
Austria in the year 2000.

Regardless of the rather bad development of the technology stock markets
during the past few months, the number of people using internet to
purchase products is likely to rise even more this year.

If we turn to the practical side of the whole thing, what are the most
relevant details about

Building an E-Commerce Site

First of all, you need what your:

suppliers (this is not different from a normal company – without good
suppliers and efficient ways of purchasing goods you cannot offer

prices (as price comparisons are very easy on the internet, you must
have more competitive prices than the competition)

customer relations (it means communicating with your (potential)
customers efficiently – via e-mail, forums, chat-rooms, FAQ-pages, … –
try to provide as much information as possible)

fulfillment and service (as for every other company in the “real” world
you must provide quick and correct handling of the customers orders as
well as an effective online-service)

will be.

Implementing an E-Commerce Site

Now you can step on to creating your site.

Generally there are 3 possibilities how you can do this:

enterprise computing (E C means that you have to purchase your own
software and hardware and hire your own team of developers and
supporters just to create and maintain your site – big firms which are
very frequently visited by customers would usually do this).

virtual hosting services (VHS means that all the facilieties required
(such as the necessary hard- and software, security, …) is provided
and maintaned by another firm, for payment, of course. Usually it is a
company specialised in providing VHS).

simplified e-commerce (Here you just pay a company specialised in
developing e-commerce systems to create a simple site for you. You must
already have the necessary hard- and software. The basic functions of a
simplified e-commerce system include displaying a product catalogue,
allowing users to browse through it and allowing them to buy items from

Most of the B2C e-commerce companies use one of these systems. And there
are too many who just implement the simplified solution and forget about
offering online customer support and help and even keeping the site

A lack of customer support is only one of the reasons why e-commerce is
in a crisis now.

Trends for the future

As you can see on the graph the purchase rates are rising steadily. A
recent study found out that most e-commerce website owners are generally
optimistic. Three-quarters say their online market is expanding, while
two-thirds say their ability to attract new customers is improving. Half
of those polled say they are also seeing increased loyalty from past
customers. So, as the customers get used to e-commerce, it becomes more
popular. It may not replace the common way to buy and sell products but
for most companies it offers new ways to reach their customers.


Categories of E-Commerce

Benefits of E-Commerce

lower transaction costs


large quantity of information

providing “up-to-date” information

comparison of prices and products


Disadvantages of E-Commerce

hard to make yourself “visible”

hard to differ from competition

hard to make people buy something




privacy and security

Products People Buy via Internet Consumer Spending at European Sites








fax, EDI










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