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About Electronic Commerce (e-Commerce)

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Electronic Commerce refers to the conduct of business via the Internet and World Wide Web.  (The Net and the Web are virtually interchangeable terms describing the dominant digital medium of exchange).  e-Commerce goes beyond simply using computers at work, talking with customers by phone, or even using a company web-site.

e-Commerce may involve simple data transfers or e-mail communications. Increasingly, however, e-Commerce implies a full range of on-line services, operations, and transactions conducted between a business and its vendors, partners, clients, and customers, government agencies, and others, both internal and external to a business.

e-Commerce does not replace your current approach to business.  Nor should you expect it to automatically double your sales.  Instead, it is best to build your technical base carefully and strategically, and to learn as much as you can about e-Commerce.  e-Commerce offers you the chance to rethink your business and the role of technology in creative new ways.  It is growing rapidly and dramatically world-wide, and it will eventually transform fundamental business strategies and operations.

However, the notion of an "e-Commerce strategy" is misleading.  e-Commerce must always be part of a sound, overall business strategy.  Business strategy comes first, then one builds an e-Commerce strategy that supports and extends your overall strategic plan.

Keep in mind, too, that many firms have experienced success on-line, and that an on-line presence often transforms all aspects of a business.  However, even if e-Commerce becomes the dominant mode of business for your company, sound business practice and planning are still the keys to success.

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