We will dive into the world of Electronic Commerce, or E-commerce as we will later refer in succeeding topics. This topic starts off in laying the context on what is e-commerce, how e-commerce began and how it evolved into what we know now. You will discover a deeper understanding of what e-commerce is and how it is different with the traditional physical business.
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E-Commerce Expanded Definition
What is electronic commerce or simply e-commerce? Most people narrowly define it as the selling of physical goods via the internet or retailing via the internet. The definition of e-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services via electronic technology without physical contact between the seller and the buyer. Before the advent of the internet, the technology used to be landline telephones and mobile phones.
Anything electronic transaction that is for selling or buying can be said to be e-commerce. We won’t know what technology will happen in the future that could supplant the internet which drives electronic commerce. But for this era, we’ll just settle at the internet as the main enabler of electronic in the Philippines through there is still e-commerce made through telephone calls and Short Message Services (SMS).
It is easy to understand that e-commerce is the transaction that uses electronic means while the traditional commerce is the face-to-face exchange of goods and services. That delineation used to be the norm but in today’s time that is now blurred by the fact that sophisticated businesses use the internet to power their physical stores. If you look into it transaction is technically done via electronic means but there is a face-to-face interaction between the seller and the buyer and even the concerned goods or services. Our definition of e-commerce is strictly for buying and selling transactions done electronically without physical interaction between seller and buyers.
It is common practice for a business to have an online store coinciding with their physical store. Any customer can either purchase depending on their preferences. Take into consideration Cebu Pacific Airlines. They have online booking website where you can buy flights and even make check-ins. Cebu Pacific also have mobile applications in Android Playstore and Apple iTunes where you can also book and check-in flights. Complementary to those mentioned, they also have physical stores where you can buy flight tickets depending on the availability. They also have satellite offices and resellers where they utilize the system used by the website for ticket reservations.
In our definition, we should consider not only the online booking website but also the android and the iTunes mobile application as e-commerce since both facilitated transactions via electronic technology (internet) without physical interaction between seller and buyer. It is noticeable in entrepreneurs consider only the online booking website as e-commerce but not the mobile applications. In reality, it is still e-commerce though more sophisticated in the electronic medium used.
The transactions in the Cebu Pacific physical store should be considered the traditional brick-and-mortar setup while the satellite offices and resellers that utilize the same technology used by websites and apps as a hybrid between the two. The difference of the hybrid isn’t really noticeable in Cebu Pacific. It can be, however, can be obviously noticeable in a more technologically advanced example in the form of Amazon Go where customers can enter a store, get all the things they need and just leave the store without checking out in the queue. The hybrid store was made possible by electronic technology that is connected to the store full of cameras, to their amazon account and their bank accounts. Well, it’s too much of an example for e-commerce here in the Philippines but I hope you get the point.