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Priscilla Sayles, from Peninsula College, on Eccomerce

This is one of the entries to our scholarship competition this year.

 Access To The World From Your Fingertips

The world has been taken by storm through ecommerce. By definition, ecommerce is the

process of buying products online. Many don’t know that this phenomenon can be traced back to

about forty years ago. Back in the 1970’s, technologies like the Electronic Data Interchange and

Electric Funds Transfer made it possible for businesses to swap information through invoices

and electronic orders. The next ten years brought more changes as ATM machines, credit cards,

and telephone banking became popular. In the 1990’s, high speed internet was introduced, easing

the way even more for ecommerce. The year 2000 would prove to be a blockbuster of a year in

According to Bill Hazelton (Spirecast), “The definition of e-commerce began to change

in 2000 though, the year of the dot-com collapse when thousands of internet businesses folded.

Despite the epic collapse, many of the worlds’ most established traditional brick-and-mortar

businesses were emboldened with the promise of e-commerce and the prospect of serving a

global customer base electronically.  The very next year, business to business transactions online

became one of the largest forms of e-commerce with over $700 billion dollars in sales.” In

September of 1995, French-born Iranian American Pierre Omidyar founded the website Auction

Web that would expand to become known as eBay two years later in 1997. In 1994, New Mexico

native, Jeff Bezos founded Amazon. On February 4, 2004, Facebook was founded by Mark

Zuckerberg and four other classmates at Harvard University. These three websites would go on

to become pivotal in the ecommerce movement.

 

Amazon, eBay, and Facebook have different emphasis, yet all partake in the ecommerce

industry. Amazon is by far the most well-known. “In 1999, Jeff Bezos was honored with Time

Magazine’s “Person of the Year” award, immortalizing him forever as probably the single most

recognizable figure in the entire e-commerce community.” (Spirecast). Perhaps the biggest

advantage Amazon has over other companies is its vast array of goods available. It started out

humbly selling books, and currently offers virtually limitless selections in anything related to

electronics, beauty, entertainment, and household items just to name a few. It’s easy to navigate

system has become progressively popular and has made it possible to accommodate stand-alone

companies in six other countries. It’s head-quarters are in Seattle, Washington.

 

eBay is based on an auction system that specializes in more unusual items and is initiated

through third parties. There are no head-quarters for this company, being completely internet

based. Its mission statement is “to provide a global trading platform where practically anyone

can trade practically anything.” Rare and specialty items are the focus in this industry where

comparing products is the name of the game. The unique inventory of eBay is what sets it apart

and there are literally no limits on what can be sold world-wide. eBay also makes it possible to

globally keep the society more conscious of recycling through the means of making old and

seemingly useless material available for sale.

 

Facebook is home to over a billion users worldwide and has been connecting users over

the age of 13 in what is considered the world’s largest social networking system. Facebook

enables users to share personal pictures and posts, play games, invite friends to events, chat with

friends, use apps, connect with businesses and celebrities, and use social plug-ins. This platform

is a tremendous advantage for becoming an equally powerful ecommerce setting. Facebook has

unfathomable potential to become another mega ecommerce site but it hasn’t taken off yet,

leaving experts to only hypothesize how much of a boom will explode. Shopify is the current app

that enables users to advertise and sell their products. Predictions are highly favorable.

Ecommerce has drawbacks that frustrate consumers. Consumers are completely

dependent on what they see on the screen. If a web site is laid out poorly, it will likely be passed

over for a more attractive and more credible-looking site. Customer service can be difficult to

access and it can be a challenge to communicate with those located halfway around the globe.

Disorganization of merchandise is another drawback that discourages the consumer. Who wants

to scroll through thousands of items to find the one that they want? Some sites require logins that

may make people reluctant to sign up for if they are not sure where their personal information is

Perhaps the most serious consequence of ecommerce is the safety factor. Fraud and

scamming are two activities that take place more often then we think. Liron Damri has

researched the effects of fraud and has a startling revelation. “It’s no good fighting fraud with the

methods that worked five or ten years ago. Fraudsters are fast and creative, and know all those

techniques probably better than you do, and how to get around them.” Fortunately although

fraudsters are intelligent, there are ways to prevent being taken advantage of. Fraudsters are more

likely to rip off a company rather than the buyer getting ripped off. Some tools that are used are

using address verification services, getting the card CVV2 verification numbers, carefully

approaching orders outside of the United States and remaining skeptical of buyers that have free

(and thus untraceable) e-mail addresses.

 

Of course there are many benefits associated with ecommerce. The vast population has

access to any product imaginable any time of the day or night, all they need is a credit card. It is

easy to choose popular items that are selling rapidly by reading reviews posted by other buyers.

Filters also make it possible for companies to organize their inventory to suit your preferences

which is a very handy tool. As a ecommerce retailer, your budget can be drastically improved by

not having to pay rent for office space. Personnel can be cut way back and it’s easy to advertise

your products and make your merchandise accessible to the entire world. Organization and

education is easily made accessible to all potential buyers too.

 

I think ecommerce it the greatest thing to ever hit the market and I think we’ve only

touched the tip of the iceberg. Consumers of all ages are becoming more and more familiar with

technology and what’s more convenient than sitting in an armchair and purchasing all your

needs? There is no need to stand in long lines any more waiting to talk to a customer service

representative. In essence all the “work” has been taken out purchasing and it has become a

purely enjoyable past-time. Brett Relander (Entrepreneur) puts it in a nutshell. “No longer is

ecommerce considered an additional feature. Today, it is viewed as a necessity for growing and

remaining relevant in an ever-evolving and increasingly mobile-driven world.”

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