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History of e-Commerce

e-commerce evolved even before personal computers were prevalent and has full-fledged into a multi-billion dollar industry, but one can think of the question as to where it evolved from? By looking at the inception and development of e-commerce, it would be easier to judge its trends for the future.

e-commerce makes Flexible Manufacturing and Mass Customisation Possible
Customised products are traditionally ordered by craftsmen and are therefore, been expensive and delivery timelines are long. With the development of e-commerce, organisations could offer customised products/ services at lower costs that formerly were only related to mass produced commodity goods.

Intra-B Commerce: Here, parties involved in the electronic transactions are from within a given business organisation and hence the name intra-B commerce. As noted earlier too, one significant difference between e-commerce and e-business is that, e-commerce is comprised of a business firm's interaction with its suppliers, and distributors/other business firms and customers (B2C) through the internet. While e-business is a broader term and also uses intranet for managing interactions and dealings among other departments and persons within an organization. It is basically due to the use of intra-B commerce that now, it has become possible for the organisations to give preference for flexible manufacturing. Use of computer networks enhances possibility for the marketing department to interact consistently with the production department and procure the customized products made as per the requirements of the individual customer. Similarly, closer computer-based interactions among the other departments makes it possible for the organistion to reap the fruits of efficient inventory, cash management, better utilisation of plant and machinery, effective handling of customers' orders, and also effective human resource management. Just as Intercom facilities enhanced voice communication within the office, intranet facilitates multimedia and also 3-D graphic communication among organisational departments for well-informed decisions that leads to better coordination, quicker decisions and an increase in workflows. For instance, companies can float electronic catalogues that can be used by the employees for ordering forms and access inventory information. Similarly, interviews of the other branches take place in the registered office through online video conference interviews that saves time of travel.

C2C Commerce: In C2C, the origin of business is the consumer and the destination is also the consumer. Hence it is named as C2C commerce. This kind of commerce is suitable for dealing goods that does not have an established market mechanism, for instance, we can take quote the example of the website of ebay where the person can search for all his requirements and simultaneously can advertise his products as well like selling used books or clothes either on cash or barter basis. The vast space of the internet helps people to globally search for potential buyers. In addition, e-commerce technology provides market system security to these type of transactions which would have been missing if the buyers and sellers had to interact in anonymity of one-to-one transactions. The vital C2C area of interactive commerce is the formation of consumers' forum and multiple pressure groups. We can quote examples like Yahoo groups and other community groups where any information or even a problem can be shared which might sometimes, even result in solving the problem.

e-Business Versus Traditional Business
By now, it is easy to form an idea as to how e-enabling has drastically transformed the mode of doing business. A comparative evaluation of the features of traditional and e-business as listed in the Table above, points out the distinct benefits and limitations of e-business.

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