THE PROS AND CONS OF E-COMMERCE TODAY
Electronic Commerce or e-commerce refers to a wide range of online business activities for products and services(Rosen, 2000). E-commerce (or electronic commerce) is defined as the buying and selling of goods and services conducted over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. Electronic commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), inventory management systems and automated data collection systems. (Anon, n.d.). It also refers to any type of business transaction where the parties interact electronically rather than by physical exchanges or physical contact. (Anon, n.d.)
Examples of e-commerce systems include Amazon, Alibaba, eBay, Zappos, Business.com, DHgate.com and so on.
Pros of E-Commerce
1. Convenience for the customer:
a. One of the main advantages of e-commerce is the fact that one doesn't have to stand in queues waiting to be served, or be placed on hold for instance in a telephone ordering system. E-commerce leaves it to the buyer as to when and where to purchase what they want. They can do it at the office, in the comfort of their homes, and with the advent of mobile technology, one can shop practically anywhere they are able to connect to their vendor of choice. This gives the customer the feeling of being in control of their time. Thus for customers, this is one of the most popular convenience of e-commerce.
b. Secondly, in relation to the first advantage, stores are open at all times. This adds to the convenience of shopping at any time, and even across borders and time-zones. By removing the limitation of having to go to a shop within certain hours when it is open, it allows for people to shop even after hours without having to think about rushing to a shop or store before it closes. This opens possibilities for people located in remote areas or even areas with no store that stocks the particular product they require to shop without having to travel the distance to the store, saving them time and money.
c. Another advantage is the instantaneous purchase of digital products such as music, movies and software. Through e-commerce, one no longer has to wait for the physical delivery of a CD or DVD to start enjoying their purchases. Various services have made it possible for the customer to download their product immediately after purchase to begin using it.
d. Customers can locate the product they wish to purchase much quicker using search boxes or search engines. This means that customers do not have to walk through a store or many stores to find the exact product they want. In some cases, e-commerce business also allow their customers to customize the products they want with additional features and specifications to suit their preferences. This overall adds to the convenience for the customer.