e-Commerce Options: Part 1

Just like I did with my marketing internship paper about Facebook a month or so ago, I will be posting parts from another paper I wrote last semester for my CIS 485 – Management Info Systems class. This class focused on the use of technology in business. Technology is often used as a tool to help a business gain a competitive advantage in their field, and exciting new opportunities have opened up in recent years with developments in new media (social media, mobile marketing, e-Commerce and m-Commerce, etc.)

A Look at e-Commerce Options for Individuals and Small Businesses focuses on e-Commerce, as one might imagine. I looked at three major options that both businesses and individuals could consider using when selling their products and services online: Etsy, eBay, and creating an e-Commerce website. It doesn’t matter whether you are a business person or not, I wrote the paper so it would be easy to understand and informative for a wide audience. The introduction will be posted today and will be followed by Etsy (background, pros and cons), eBay (background, pros and cons), designing an e-Commerce website (background, pros and cons), and conclusions in later posts. Enjoy.

In the last decade, we have seen a major transition in how and where people are shopping. Rather than going to a store to purchase a hot new electronic, say an Apple iPad tablet, people are using the internet to price shop and identify who has the lowest price before they make a purchase. About 64 percent of people use multiple sources (the internet, displays at retail stores, search engines…) to research a product before purchasing it (Federman). Forrester reported that the internet “influenced $937 billion in U.S. store sales in 2009” and estimated that figure will jump to $1.3 trillion, or about one-third of total retail sales, by 2013 (Schonfeld). With these statistics, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to have and maintain an online presence and to use the internet as a resource for selling their goods and services.

E-commerce can be simply defined as the buying and selling of goods and services over the internet. In the United States, e-commerce rose to $32.1 billion in the third quarter of 2010, up 9 percent from the previous year (Savitz). Many large businesses, like Best Buy and Bed Bath and Beyond, are already players in the realm of e-commerce and use it as a supplement to their existing operations. Small businesses and individuals are also joining the ever-expanding marketplace of sellers offering their goods and services on the internet, and there are several resources and services that can be utilized to do so. A few popular choices when it comes to selling online – Etsy, eBay, and creating an e-commerce website – will be discussed along with the benefits of having an online storefront and future trends related to e-commerce.

Discussion questions: When did you start shopping on the internet? How much of your shopping is now done on the internet through e-Commerce?