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Electronic commerce, commonly written as e-commerce or eCommerce, is the trading or facilitation of trading in products or services using computer networks, such as the Internet or online social 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. Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web for at least one part of the transaction’s life cycle although it may also use other technologies such as e-mail.

E-commerce businesses may employ some or all of the following:

  • Online shopping web sites for retail sales direct to consumers
  • Providing or participating in online marketplaces, which process third-party business-to-consumer or consumer-to-consumer sales
  • Business-to-business buying and selling
  • Gathering and using demographic data through web contacts and social media
  • Business-to-business electronic data interchange
  • Marketing to prospective and established customers by e-mail or fax (for example, with newsletters)
  • Engaging in pretail for launching new products and services
  • Online financial exchanges for currency exchanges or trading purposes
  • Economists have theorized that e-commerce ought to lead to intensified price competition, as it increases consumers’ ability to gather information about products and prices. Generally, larger firms are able to use economies of scale and offer lower prices. The lone exception to this pattern has been the very smallest category of bookseller, shops with between one and four employees, which appear to have withstood the trend. Depending on the category, e-commerce may shift the switching costs—procedural, relational, and financial—experienced by customers.
  • Individual or business involved in e-commerce whether buyers or sellers rely on Internet-based technology in order to accomplish their transactions. E-commerce is recognized for its ability to allow business to communicate and to form transaction anytime and anyplace. Whether an individual is in the US or overseas, business can be conducted through the internet. The power of e-commerce allows geophysical barriers to disappear, making all consumers and businesses on earth potential customers and suppliers. Thus, switching barriers and switching costs may shift. eBay is a good example of e-commerce business individuals and businesses are able to post their items and sell them around the Globe.
  • In e-commerce activities, supply chain and logistics are two most crucial factors need to be considered. Typically, cross-border logistics need about few weeks time round. Based on this low efficiency of the supply chain service, customer satisfaction will be greatly reduced. Some researcher stated that combining e-commerce competence and IT setup could well enhance company’s overall business worth. Other researcher stated that e-commerce need to consider the establishment of warehouse centers in foreign countries, to create high efficiency of the logistics system, not only improve customers’ satisfaction, but also can improve customers’ loyalty.

Along with the e-commerce and its unique charm that has appeared gradually, virtual enterprise, virtual bank, network marketing, online shopping, payment and advertising, such this new vocabulary which is unheard-of and now has become as familiar to people. This reflects that the e-commerce has huge impact on the economy and society from the other side.  For instance, B2B is a rapidly growing business in the world that leads to lower cost and then improves the economic efficiency and also bring along the growth of employment.

To understand how the e-commerce has affected the society and economy, this article will mention three issues below:

  1. The e-commerce has changed the relative importance of time, but as the pillars of indicator of the country’s economic state that the importance of time should not be ignored.
  2. The e-commerce offers the consumer or enterprise various information they need, making information into total transparency, will force enterprise no longer is able to use the mode of space or advertisement to raise their competitive edge.  Moreover, in theory, perfect competition between the consumer sovereignty and industry will maximize social welfare.
  3. In fact, during the economic activity in the past, large enterprise frequently has advantage of information resource, and thus at the expense of consumers. Nowadays, the transparent and real-time information protects the rights of consumers, because the consumers can use internet to pick out the portfolio to the benefit of themselves. The competitiveness of enterprises will be much more obvious than before, consequently, social welfare would be improved by the development of the e-commerce.
  4. The new economy led by the e-commerce change humanistic spirit as well, but above all, is the employee loyalty. Due to the market with competition, the employee’s level of professionalism becomes the crucial for enterprise in the niche market. The enterprises must pay attention to how to build up the enterprises inner culture and a set of interactive mechanisms and it is the prime problem for them. Furthermore, though the mode of e-commerce decrease the information cost and transaction cost, however, its development also makes human being are overly computer literate. In hence, emphasized more humanistic attitude to work is another project for enterprise to development. Life is the root of all and high technology are merely an assistive tool to support our quality of life.
  5. Online merchants gather purchase activity and interests of their customers. This information is being used by the online marketers to promote relevant products and services. This creates an extra convenience for the online shoppers.
  6. Online merchandise is searchable, which makes it more accessible to the shoppers. Many online retailers offer a review mechanism, which helps shoppers decide on the product to purchase. This is another convenience and a satisfaction improvement factor.

The e-commerce is not a kind of new industry, but it is creating a new economic model. Most of people agree that the e-commerce indeed to be important and significant for economic society in the future, but actually that is a bit of clueless feeling at the beginning, this problem is exactly prove the e-commerce is a sort of incorporeal revolution. This is due to the fact that the cost of running an e-commerce business is very low when compared with running a physical store. There is no rent to pay on expensive premises, business processes are simplified and less man-hours are required to run it smoothly. Generally speaking, as a type of business active procedure, the e-commerce is going to leading an unprecedented revolution in the world, the influence of this model far exceeded the commercial affair itself. Except the mentioned above, in the area of law, education, culture and also policy, the e-commerce will continue that rise in impact. The e-commerce is truly to take human beings into the information society.