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.”