The Complete E-Commerce Book
Chapter 1: The E-Commerce Phenomenon
Despite the spectacular dot-com bust of a few years ago, the Internet has markedly changed the way we do business, whether it’s finding new streams of revenue, acquiring new customers, or managing a business’s supply chain. E-commerce is mainstream — enabling businesses to sell products and services to consumers on a global basis. As such, e-commerce is the platform upon which new methods to sell and to distribute innovative products and services electronically are tested.
The Web’s influence on the world’s economy is truly astonishing. The business world knows that the Web is one of the best ways for business such as manufacturers to sell their products directly to the public, brick-and-mortar retailers to expand their stores into unlimited geographical locations, and for entrepreneurs to establish a new business inexpensively.
Thus, it is important that the executive in the 21st Century know 1) where technology stands in the business processes of his or her company, 2) how technology relates to the company’s strategies, 3) how rapidly technology changes and evolves, and 4) how the company and its business partners will respond to the changing technology.
In the high flying 1990s, many people jumped on the e-commerce bandwagon after reading the many highly publicized dot-com “success” stories. Admittedly, most were written to raise the entrepreneurial blood pressure. What many forgot, though, was the old adage: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. They didn’t use their innate intelligence and failed to proceed with caution.
Nonetheless, the ascendancy of e-commerce has expanded the business environment so that even a small start-up can compete with well-established business names and product brands. Yet, when you consider joining the e-commerce commerce community, keep in mind that selling products and services on the Web presents a unique set of challenges. This book will help you take on those challenges.
U.S. Department of Commerce reports show that U.S. online retail sales totaled $14.33 billion during the fourth quarter of 2002. The reports further show that this amount represents an increase of 28.2% over the same period in 2001.