Concepts and Definitions of E-Commerce
Electronic commerce simply means the ability to buy or sell goods and services online. E-commerce involves the use of information and communication technology to market goods and services, and conducts other business transactions. Internet has facilitated market access 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. E-commerce involves both financial and informational transactions between an organization and a third party. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), e-mail, fax, Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) and most importantly Internet are the primary methods of business use.
The Four Perspectives of E-Commerce
Kalakota and Whinston referred to a range of four perspectives for e-commerce, which is summarized as below:
(i) A Communication Perspective:
Exchange and delivery of information, products, services and payment by electronic means.
(ii) A Business Process Perspective:
Automation of business transactions.
(iii) A Service Perspective:
Increased speed enhanced quality and reduced cost of service.
(iv) An Online Perspective:
Buying or selling products and service, and exchange of information online.
PC hardware and software, Mobile Phones, travels tickets, hotel rooms, entertainments, camera, books, lens, clothing are the most frequently purchased items.
International Data Corp (IDC) estimates the value of global e-commerce in 2000 at US $350.38 billion which was projected to climb much higher in the next 10 years. The year 2012-2013 is yet another successful year for the E-Commerce Industry.
Definition of E-Commerce by Authorities
European Commission defined E-commerce as :
“Electronic commerce is about doing business electronically. It is based on the electronic processing and transmission of data, including text, sound and video. It encompasses many diverse activities including electronic trading of goods and services, online delivery of digital content, electronic fund transfer, electronic share trading, electronic bills of lading, commercial auctions, collaborative design and engineering, online sourcing, public procurement, direct consumer marketing and after-sales services. It involves products and services, traditional activities and new activities.”
Transatlantic Business Dialogue Electronic Commerce White Paper, 1997 opines E-Commerce or Electronic Commerce as:
“Electronic commerce, defined simply, is the commercial transaction of services in an electronic format.”
European Information Technology Observatory defined E-Commerce as:
“Electronic commerce is carrying of business activities that lead to an exchange of value across telecommunication networks.”
Measuring Electronic Commerce, OECD, 1997 defined E-Commerce as:
“Electronic commerce refers, generally to all forms of transactions relating to commercial activities, including both organizations and individuals that are based upon the processing and transmission of digitized data, including text, sound and visual images.”
All these definitions imply that along with the actual buying or selling of products-Commerce activities also extended to pre and post sale activities across the supply chain.