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Social Implications of E-Commerce

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´╗┐Social Implications of E-Commerce The vast majority of products one would ever need to purchase can be found on the internet. A few clicks of the mouse and anything you could ever want can be sent straight to your door, but this wasn't always the case. Online shopping - something a lot of us couldn't do without these days - is a fairly recent development. In 1991 a ban on commercial businesses operating on the internet was lifted, paving the way for e-commerce websites to develop. Amazon was launched in 1995 and set the standard for customer focused e-commerce websites, despite the fact it did not turn a profit for 6 years. eBay was launched in the same year and by 1996 had sold $7.2million worth of goods while having only two full time employees. Before Amazon and eBay opened the gates of e-commerce customers had two choices for their shopping needs - brick and mortar shops or mail order catalogues. Word of mouth was very important for businesses as customers had limited means of price comparison or product reviews; unlike today where a simple web search can show in an instant which stores have the cheapest prices or which products are the most popular. With websites such as Groupon or Wowcher consumers can get huge discounts on products or services that would otherwise not be available. This information is also available to the business; which means they can always know what the competition is up to and undercut them or offer a price match guarantee, making sure they always have a competitive edge. ...read more.


Simply be is one example of this. While the cost and effort involved in starting an online business is very minimal, the competition is fierce. As mentioned above, before the days of online shopping customers had very little choice about where to spend their money; it's a very different story today. The list of places to shop online is almost endless and it can be extremely difficult to stand out and grab the customers? attention. The fact that it's so easy to set up an online business also means that it's just as easy to give up on said business. The internet is forever changing and in turn makes customers fickle and less likely to be loyal to one particular brand. Business owners who have put in a lot of time, effort and money in to setting up a shop are much less likely to give up at the first hurdle. This is why stores that have been around for decades continue to thrive today; such businesses would probably still survive for a very long time even if they chose not to expand their business to the online customer base. ________________ Companies that have tried to bring their services online after being offline for so many years often run in to problems with people who are not familiar with technology. For example power suppliers now send out USB connectors for gas cards and electricity keys which allow you to top up online. When these were first sent out a lot of older customers were intimidated and confused by these new devices being forced upon them and rang up to complain. ...read more.


For this reason many customers still prefer to shop on the high street when it comes to clothing or footwear. There is no way to tell if something you?ve ordered online will fit you or look as good as it did on the model until it actually arrives. Some people also prefer the high street simply for the human interaction and customer service. However since the dawn of e-commerce the way we shop has all become high speed. People want the best deals and they want them now ? leaving no time for idle chit chat with sales assistants. Some businesses have tried to add in the human touch to their websites by adding a ?live chat? option ? where you can talk to an actual human representative in real time. Meaning you can have all the convenience of shopping online with the added bonus of customer service built right in. An online business needs to rely on a third party to deliver the goods, if packages are damaged or lost on the way to the customer the company will have lost inventory and have to pay postage costs. More choice and the ability to purchase whatever we need without ever leaving the house has revolutionised not only the way we shop; but how we manage every aspect of our lives; banking, booking holidays, conducting research, communicating and even how we spend our leisure time has changed completely because of the internet. Who knows what the future holds, will the need for physical stores die out completely? Only time will tell. Nick Strife 470437 ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

This essay deals with many of the facts surrounding the subject of e-commerce and it gives many examples of how it works, what is involved and how businesses are affected positively and negatively. It also mentions a couple of examples of how people have been affected adversely, for example the elderly being excluded from being able to take advantage of a shift to online services.

What this essay needs to have more of is the actual impact on society of e-commerce. How has the change in employment demographics affected people within our society? What has the impact been of the elderly being excluded? What has actually happened? This is the real question that needs addressing. Much of this is implicit but needs development by giving more explicit examples and the impact and some facts and figures specifically related to the changes in society. It is also worth mentioning the way the reduction in social interaction has been borne out.

Overall this is a well written and thorough account of the way e-commerce can impact on society but lacks real depth of analysis which would raise this up to five stars. This is a four star piece of work.

Marked by teacher Ad Son 03/01/2013

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