Electronic Commerce: Once an option, its now a necessity
Dr. George Kostopoulos
Electronic Commerce, or e-commerce
as it is known, is the concept of utilizing the
telecommunications infrastructure to transact
business. For all practical purposes, e-commerce is Internet-based, where a
business entity establishes a website,
through which the public accesses the
offered products, goods or services.
The growing computer and Internet
literacy of the general public, on one hand,
and the increase in business websites, on
the other, make e-commerce a true
alternative to traditional commerce, offering
unprecedented access, speed and
Regardless of the nature of the
commercial activity, a business entity is in, e-commerce is an excellent vehicle for
developing visibility, regional, national or
global. As for the extent of Internet presence
a business may have, this can range from an
informational website to a fully transactional
In the minimal version, the website
serves as an electronic brochure or a
products and services catalog, with an
integrated option enabling the visitor to send
the merchant an e-mail message or inquiry.
In an enhanced version, a business
may have a fully transactional website with a
shopping cart and payment acceptance
process, as well as live communication with
the merchant's side using text, sound or
Thanks to e-commerce the consumers, now, can conduct comparative shopping and transact actual commerce (browse, buy, sell or bid) via the Internet.
The eventual integration of the
television and the computer will bring the
Internet into every home, thus broadening
the e-commerce consumer base, moving the
consumer masses from the real world into
the virtual one.
According to statistics, last year's
volume of e-commerce reached the three
billion mark. This activity was not necessarily
new trade, but mostly existing one that
moved from the physical to the Internet
This clearly implies that, with time,
there will be less and less face to face
business transactions, to the detriment of
the business establishments that will not
effectively harness the power of the Internet.
Worth noting is that, according to projections,
this year's volume of e-commerce will exceed
the six billion dollar level.
The world smoothly transitioned from
the agricultural era to the industrial era, and
from the industrial one to the information
one. But the transition from the so called
brick&mortar world into the click&web one is
being revolutionary. Every single day, the
traditional trade is being challenged by
numerous innovative advances in e-commerce. However, new e-commerce tools
are being offered to business, making that
The most important impact of e-commerce, though, will be the development of totally new products and services that will offer unprecedented conveniences in the home and at work.
In closing, for any business entity, e-commerce is not an option, but a necessity. And similarly, for any business person, e-commerce literacy is not an option, but an absolute necessity.
Laredo Morning Times July 24, 2000