Although the terms e-commerce and e-business are often used interchangeably, there are differences. E-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services on the Internet or other computer network. Any brick and mortar store can become an e-commerce business by adding a virtual storefront with an online catalog. In most cases, e-business refers exclusively to Internet businesses, but it may also refer to any business that uses Internet technology to improve productivity and profitability.
Business transactions that involve the exchange of money are covered by the term e-commerce. E-business includes all aspects of running a business that sells goods and services, including marketing, earning and retaining customers, procurement, developing business partners and customer education. In order to be successful, e-commerce and e-businesses must have quality storefronts that are simple to navigate and peruse, with accurate and thorough catalog information. E-business became an extension of e-commerce to encompass all aspects of businesses that function online. E-business involves e-commerce, but e-commerce does not cover all aspects of e-business.
E-commerce, in its initial form of commercial transactions, came about in the late 1970s. At this point, businesses began to send commercial documentation electronically to other businesses. The general public was introduced to the Internet in 1994, but it took an additional four years to create the security protocols necessary for a ready Internet connection. By 2000, businesses in America and western Europe were presenting their goods and services online. This is when e-commerce became online buying and selling, and e-business was born. Amazon and eBay were two of the first e-businesses to allow electronic transactions.
Advantages to Vendors
E-businesses have distinct advantages over brick and mortar stores. First, they can be found with search engines without the use of pricey advertising campaigns. Beyond this, e-business allows vendors to track purchases and preferences of customers, leading to marketing catered to each individual. Advantages for e-commerce, which also extend to e-business, are great monetary savings (because of fewer employees and low overhead) and the ability to reach consumers across the globe.
Advantages to Consumers
Consumers can access e-commerce and e-businesses at any time of the day or night, from their workplace or in their pajamas. Consumers can search through countless products and services using online databases. Prices are quickly compared online to find the business that offers the best products at the best prices. Consumers are quickly exposed to e-business because it uses more targeted marketing and offers more in-depth education compared to traditional businesses.
E-commerce and e-businesses offer online storefronts, complete with virtual shopping carts and wish lists that can be emailed to friends and family. Along with this, e-businesses often have an electronic chat function that is used for technical and customer support. Virtual computer systems allow businesses to remotely access their customers’ computers to correct problems or navigate software and hardware specifications. E-business extends from these features to work with internal processes like product development, risk management, production and inventory management, among other things.
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