APPLICATIONS OF E-COMMERCE
Following are some of the widely used E-Commerce applications.
1. Internet Bookshops
It is one of the first applications of e-commerce on Internet. Books as an item of merchandise have the following significant advantages for the online retailers:
- Books can be described well on the Internet. Moreover, it is not an item, which is required to be checked physically.
- Normally, the books have nominal prices and not too much risk is involved in the online payments.
- Books are small items and can be delivered in the customer’s letterbox. The customer does not need to be at home.
- A large database of books. The details available for display include a picture of the cover, description of the book including page numbers, price of the book and reviews of other customers also if possible.
- The book can be searched with the help of search engines. The search can be made on the author’s name, title of the book or the subject etc.
- There may be software on the site, that may record the interest of the particular customer and can inform the customer on the new arrivals on that subject.
Some large online bookshop sites are:
2. Grocery Supplies
One who goes to purchase items from the supermarket must be aware of some of the similar problems as described below.
- The customer has to plan to go to the supermarket at the scheduled time of opening of the supermarket.
- The car park may be overcrowded.
- The supermarket may also have a big crowd.
- You have to pick the items and wait for your turn for billing.
- You have to unload the items on the checkout, reload into bags, load again into the car, take to the home and unload again from the car.
All these problems may be resolved with the help of online supermarket. The online supermarket is set up to meet the needs of those who cannot get to the supermarket or those who do not want to go. The online supermarket is similar to any other online shop. The customer has to log-on on the site and select the groceries that are required. The staff pick the goods, pack and dispatch them.
Some of the noteworthy sites for grocery supplies are as follows:
3. Electronic Newspapers
One of the hot areas on the Internet is the electronic newspaper. Electronic newspaper has advantages over both, the printed newspapers and the broadcast news on radio and televisions. In comparison to printed newspaper, the e-newspaper can give up-to-date news similar to broadcast news. Further, the browser could be set to select the news of interest of the reader and to leave out the rest. This is not possible with the broadcast news.
Despite the said advantages, the electronic newspapers are not being very popular due to the following reasons:
- Radio and television news are often consumed while people are doing other things like eating their foods or driving a car.
- Printed newspapers may be read on the train or in the park and then may be shared with someone else.
- The printed newspapers give the reader the chance to be selective (the selection depends on the moods and time of the reader).
There are a number of online newspapers and most of them are web versions of existing newspapers. For example:
4. Internet Banking
Sometimes the bank, customers want to make an urgent payment but to visit the bank is not convenient. Similarly, to go to the bank to just know the balance is also not justified. Internet banking (or telephone banking) can solve these problems. To solve the problems on phone or Internet is also profitable for banks as it reduces their overheads. With the help of online banking a customer can check his or her balance at any time of the day or night. The customer can also pay various bills like telephone, electricity etc. without going to the bank or billing centers. The typical services offered by the online banking are as follows:
- The customers can check their account balances at any time.
- The customer can obtain statements regarding any specific debit or credit that has gone through.
- Credit transfers so that bill can be paid online.
- Maintenance of standing orders and direct debits.
- The major service that is not provided is cash in and cash out. To get the money, the customer has to go to the bank or ATMs.
Some sites related to Internet banking are as follows:
You cannot use the services provided by the online banks till you are not the customer.
5. Electronic Auctions
Auctions have been a well-established market mechanism for trading items at a market negotiated price, based upon demand and supply. The Internet has added a new dimension by creating an online mechanism for implementing the auction process. Traditional auctions had limited participation of people who turned up at the place of auction. Today, the same auction mechanisms can be implemented using e-commerce technologies, allowing people connected through the Internet to bid. Electronic auctions potentially encourage greater participation as Internet users can connect to a web hosting an auction and bid for an item. www.ebid.net and www.ubid.com are the examples of such sites.
Data collection about customer behaviour, preferences, needs and buying patterns is possible through Web and E-commerce. This helps marketing activities such as price fixation, negotiation, product feature enhancement and relationship with the customer.