A buzzword for conducting transactions remotely over the InterNet.
ECommerce was to be the saviour of business in the late 1990s. The advantages of ECommerce are:
- Sales can be made to international customers as easily as local customers.
- The totol number of people able to access to shop is very high, this is particularly important for specialist shops with a very narrow target audiance.
- Physical bricks-and-mortor shop fronts are no-longer necessary, which saves on renting, stocking and staffing costs
- "Shrinkage" due to customer shoplifting ceases to be a problem
The disadvantages are:
- Because customers aren't local, the costs of shipping goods to them in the timeframe they expect can be very high
- Local knowledge is lost, because there is no local
- Credit card scams are more of a problem
- Many types of sales (cars and fruit, for example) have a heavy emphasis on personal inspection, which is very hard to do in an ecommerce situation.
The businesses which seem to have succeeded in ECommerce appear to be those that cater to a need not filled by traditional shops:
- Supermarkets selling groceries to house-bound customers
- Booksellers selling from an (perhaps virtual) inventory which would be unmanagably large for a traditional bookshop
- Specialist craftspeople reaching out to a narrow, widely distributed target market