The Advantages Of Electronic Commerce

When well respected consultancies start to talk about Electronic commerce making up almost fifty percent of total retail sales within a few short years then it has to be more than just a trend. Electronic commerce is set to have an impact on our daily lives such as mankind has not experienced since the invention of the wheel.

But just what are its major advantages and why are they so important?

Overcoming geographical limitations has to be one of the greatest advantages of this type of trading. When a customer can not only buy online at the click of a mouse, but review what he or she is going to buy before they make a choice, and then have it delivered once their choice is made it is a very compelling argument for what some are predicting will be the death of the high street. Shopping online not only saves the high cost of fuel and parking charges when people sally forth to their local mall or shopping centre, it gives people a huge bonus in all the extra “free” or leisure time they then have at their disposal. And in today’s world is a very prized possession indeed!

The second major advantage for any business is that anyone selling practically any type of goods or services can attract customers they would never previously have dreamed of having. These customers again will be attracted to look on the internet for what they want and they can be anywhere in the world. Someone can set up an online store and compete alongside the retail giants whose size brings them little or no advantage in the marketplace. To those who say that an established brand is important, we would argue that the small independent online retailer actually has a distinct advantage if they set up their business to appear more “personal” as many people prefer to deal with individuals rather than large “faceless” corporations. And that translates into the third advantage in that whether you are a multi million pound or dollar corporation or an online retailer with just a few thousand a month turnover, because there are so many ways to use free methods to find customers on the internet, the big corporations cannot use their size to trade at a lower cost. In fact just the opposite may well apply.

The cost of acquiring customers by using so many of the methods on the internet, such as pay per click, social media, organic search are almost exactly the same whatever size of organisation you are. Time then to think seriously about starting your own online business and joining the retail revolution. One not of caution however. Find a good company who will support you whilst you are doing it as there is a lot to learn!

Parameters For Regulating Electronic Commerce

Regular contractual principles, especially those pertaining to distance sales, may also be applicable to electronic commerce, albeit with some modifications. However, in this regard it immediately becomes relevant to draw some distinctions between whether the product or service is to be delivered via traditional means or whether it may in fact be delivered electronically, and whether the goods or services in question are intended for commercial or private consumption.

It is our basic understanding that the emergence and rapid development of many products that may be consumed or delivered on line are going to blur the distinction between products and services. Furthermore, it is our assumption that due to the often anonymous circumstances associated with electronic commerce, where the seller and buyer often do not know one another, and where the seller has little opportunity to inquire as to the buyer’s intended use of the products or services purchased, that electronic commerce is bound to blur the traditional distinction between commercial and noncommercial sales.

Accordingly, it seems logic to commence a survey of regulation of electronic commerce with a brief examination of relevant statutes and other provisions that may be of direct or indirect relevance to electronic commerce. Secondly, it is natural to examine the legal provisions that have been specifically tailored to regulate electronic commerce. Finally, it is logical to examine and attempt to evaluate to what extent electronic commerce may exercise influence upon the contractual laws that have been developed to regulate commercial transactions conducted via traditional, i.e. non-electronic, means.

In order to examine the applicability of traditional commercial laws to electronic commerce, we identified a number of contractual elements that typically will be the major concern of the parties. Such elements include: identification of the purchaser and the seller in regard to their legal status, place or places of business, affiliation within corporate structures, solvency etc.; whether or not the seller is in fact legally entitled to sell, and the purchaser legally entitled to buy, the products or services in question – this issue is particularly relevant with respect to intellectual property rights, where trademark or copyright infringements may interfere with the purchaser’s intended usage, and with respect to products or services that are subject to content control or similar restrictions; the formality requirements pertaining to presentation of offers, counteroffers, acceptances, declination of offers etc. in order to determine whether and when a contract has in fact been entered into; the stipulated terms for the contract as pertaining to the amount and quality of products or services, the time and place of delivery, the purchase sum and time and method of payment etc.; conditions for remedying defective or insufficient products including warranties and the right for the purchaser to return any damage goods; handling of sensitive data generated in connection with the transaction.

Other issues such as marketing practices and the use of information gathered via other means than as part of a specific transaction raise separate problems concerning privacy and security; issues which we have dealt with separately in subsequent sections of our survey.

Furthermore, the ability to conduct transactions electronically are contingent upon availability of certain types of infrastructure, terminal equipment and the like plus a regulatory environment which is permissive to the conduct of such activities, i.e. issues of a broader regulatory nature, which we have examined in the previous sections of our survey as well as in other surveys concerning development of the Global Information Society and the Global Information Infrastructure and development of the international telecommunications industry at large.

Finally, it should be noted that electronic commerce constitutes but one of several types of activities that may be conducted electronically and that are considered to be important elements of the emerging Global Information Society/Global Information Infrastructure. Many of the problems and opportunities associated with such activities are the same, more or less, regardless of whether a given activity is transactional in nature, i.e. whether it involves the exchange of goods or services in return for payments or other types of remuneration. Accordingly, we have every reason to believe that the regulatory environment being developed in an attempt to create an orderly environment for electronic commerce may significantly influence the overall environment for other types of online activities as well.

Special opportunities and problems are associated with the so-called “virtual middlemen,” who provide value-added services to businesses and consumers. Services may include brokering, search, referrals, and one-stop catalog shopping; all services that put such providers in a key position in the electronic marketplace.

Electronic commerce plays a role even in sectors where delivery needs to be carried out via traditional means, because order fulfillment and distribution as well as product design and other activities may be outsourced or coordinated electronically, thus leading to greater efficiency and lowered costs.
In addition to the virtual middlemen, a number of different financial services and service providers have arisen who specialize in electronic payments, financial insurance etc.

The EU Commission has pointed out the need to coordinate any initiatives on electronic commerce with WTO commitments, c.f. the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the Annex on Basic Telecommunication Services. Furthermore, the EU has pointed out that electronic commerce represents a number of separate trade issues that must be resolved within the WTO, in the New Trans-Atlantic agenda, the Global Business Dialogue, the Information Society Dialogue, or other appropriate fora.

Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce)

Electronic commerce (or E-commerce) means the buying or selling of products or services over the Internet. The amount of successful E-commerce transactions have grown exponentially since the widespread use of the Internet.

Electronic commerce has changed dramatically over the last 30 years. Originally, the term “electronic commerce” was coined to mean the “facilitation of commercial transactions electronically”. Technology like “Electronic Funds Transfer” (EFT) was introduced in the late 1970s to enable businesses to send commercial documents like purchase orders electronically. Credit cards and ATMs (introduced and accepted in the 1980s) were also forms of e-commerce.

Many economic experts forecasted that E-commerce would become a major economic sector when the Internet became widespread in the early 1990s. During the “Dot com” era, E-commerce came to encompass the purchase of goods and services via the Internet, usually with secure connections and electronic payment services such as credit card payment authorizations.

Almost all purely E-commerce companies collapsed during the “dot-com” bubble-burst in 2000 and 2001. But many “brick-and-mortar” retailers began to add e-commerce capabilities to their Web sites. For example, a traditional supermarket chain, Safeway, started e-commerce subsidiaries through which consumers could order groceries online.

The emergence of E-commerce also significantly increased the opportunities in the selling of many types of goods; many small home-based businesses are able to use the Internet to sell their goods or services. Wish to buy something? Visit eBay.com (an online auction site that provides a platform for selling or buying merchandise). Wish to announce a garage sale? Visit Ablewise.com (a popular online classifieds site that provides services for both free and paid advertising) and place an advertisement with them. With the E-commerce scene as it is today, there is almost nothing that you are not able to find and buy/sell over the Internet.