Electronic Commerce over the Internet is a new concept. In recent years, it has become so
broadly used that it is often left undifferentiated from other current trends which rely on
automation, such as concurrent engineering and just in time manufacturing. Many companies,
including CyberCash, Dig Cash,First Virtual, and Open Market had provided a variety of
electronic commerce services.
 If you have access to a personal computer (PC) and can connect to the Internet with a
browser, you can do business online. No more worries about programming. No more searching
for outdated catalogs as a customer or printing catalogs as a merchant. No more looking for
phone numbers, paying long-distance to connect, or keeping the store open late into the evening.
Just get on the Web, open an online store, and watch your business grow.
The wired world of business, developed technology, human talent, and a new way of doing
business make up today's growing worldwide economy. The backbone of this electronic
commerce is the Internet. The wired world is not about technology, it is about information,
decision making and communication. The wired world is changing life for everyone, from the
single household to the largest corporation. No business can afford to ignore the potential of a
Electronic commerce is anemergingconcept that describes the process of buying and
selling or exchanging of products, services, and information via computer networks including the
Internet. Kalakota and Whinston (1997) define EC from these perspectives:
From a communications perspective, EC is the delivery of information, products/services, or
payments over telephone lines, computer networks, or any other electronic means.
From a business process perspective, EC is the application of technology toward the
automation of business transactions and work flow.
From a service perspective, EC is a tool that addresses the desire of firms, consumers, and
management to cut service costs while improving the quality of goods and increasing the speed
of service delivery.
From an on-line perspective, EC provides the capability of buying and selling products and
information on the Internet and other on-line services.
The term commerce is viewed by some as transactions conducted between business partners.
Therefore, the term electronic commerce seems to be fairly narrow to some people. Thus, many
use the term e-business. It refers to a broader definition of EC, not just buying and selling but
also servicing customers and collaborating with business partners, and conducting electronic
transactions within an organization. According to Lou Gerstner, IBM's CEO: "E-business is all
about cycle time, speed, globalization, enhanced productivity, reaching new customers and
sharing knowledge across institutions for competitive advantage."
Just like any other type of commerce, electronic commerce involves two parties: businesses
and consumers. There are three basic types of electronic commerce.
Business-to-Consumer (B2C): These areretailingtransactions with individual shoppers. The
typical shopper at Amazon.com is a consumer, or a customer. Oftentimes, this arrangement
eliminates the middleman by providing manufacturers direct sales to customers. Other times,
retail stores create a presence on the Web as another way to reach customers.
Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C): This category involves individuals selling to individuals.
This often takes the form of an electronic version of the classified ads or anauction. Goods are
described and interested buyers contact sellers tonegotiateprices. Unlike traditional sales via
classified ads and auctions, buyers and sellers typically never meet face-to-face. Examples are
individuals selling in classified ads and selling residential property, cars, and so on. Advertising
personal services on the Internet and selling knowledge and expertise is another example of C2C.
Several auction sites allow individuals to put items up for auctions. Finally , many individuals are
using internal networks to advertise items for sale or service.
Business-to-Business (B2B): This category involves the sale of a product or service from
one business to another. This is typically a manufacturer-supplier relationship. For example, a
furniture manufacturer requires raw materials such as wood, paint, andvarnish. In B2B electronic
commerce, manufacturers electronically place orders with suppliers and many times payment is
Many people think EC is just having a Web site, but EC is much more than that. There are
dozens of applications of EC such as home banking, shopping in on-line stores and malls, buying
stocks, finding a job, conducting an auction, and collaborating electronically on research and
development projects. To execute these applications, it is necessary to have supporting information
and organizational infrastructure and systems. EC applications are supported by infrastructures, and
their implementation is dependent on four major areas: people, public policy, technical standards
and protocols, and other organizations. The EC management coordinates the applications,
1, merchant ['mə:tʃənt]
2, emerge [i'mə:dʒ]
3, retailing ['ri:teiliŋ]
4, auction ['ɔ:kʃən]
5, negotiate [ni'gəuʃieit]
6, varnish ['vɑ:niʃ]