The Business of E-Commerce

The Business of E-Commerce

From Corporate Strategy to Technology (Breakthroughs in Application Development)

Cambridge UP, 2000 more...

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Editorial Rating



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This book is an e-commerce primer. Although its material can seem dated (which happens quickly in this environment), the book is valuable for those who want a historical overview of Internet commerce and technology. Yes, e-commerce has changed so much so quickly that any analysis of Peapod, Streamline, and other e-tailers may seem naïve. But Paul May’s discussion of the movement from fat to thin client architecture is interesting and relevant. (One only wishes that the WAP discussion went further!) While this book may not be for every executive or change leader, getAbstract recommends it to marketing directors as a valuable bridge between business and technology. It also can benefit those who want a strong, but not dauntingly deep, technical overview.


E-Commerce Prehistory

E-Commerce is a popular term that lacks a precise definition. The broadest definition is "selling items over the Web." Alternate definitions include specific references to sales objectives and marketing plans. Still others refer to business-to-consumer and business-to-business transactions of any form. While the definition jury is still out, it is clear that technology advancements have formed the basis for what is called e-commerce. To understand this, review the prehistory of e-commerce.

Four main types of change steer business towards e-commerce: individualization, virtualization, globalization, and intellectualization.

  1. Individualization: When businesses operate according to high-volume consumer production, they expect their customers to modify their expectations and behavior, and to accept the design of the mass-produced product or service. But when a modern business produces its product based upon individual customer needs, they see their customers as individuals with differing expectations that the marketplace is obligated to meet. To use "marketing speak," this shift is the movement from "mass marketing" to "relationship...

About the Author

Paul May is a graduate of Oxford University and City University, and the founder of Versita, a U.K. e-business consulting company. He also founded Avenida Technologies, a U.K. Java product and services company. He has nine years of experience as a business technology consultant with top international companies.