E-business involves using the power of electronics for all aspects of business while e-commerce is more about enabling transactions online.
Exploiting the power of electronics for doing business is much more than online shops and payments, or search engine optimization or email marketing. It is about using modern communications for doing business better, improving efficiency and saving money in the process, as well as selling more. Every aspect of the business from marketing through procurement and production to distribution, sales, and fulfillment has been transformed by modern communication technologies.
Business to Business and Business to Consumer
When we think of e-business most of us tend to think about business to consumer web businesses with company web sites, search engine marketing, online stores, and online payments. Business to business operations such as CRM and SCM actually had benefited far more from modern communications technology. Businesses have been able to understand customer behavior patterns, follow up prospective customers and deliver customer service much more effectively using modern CRM software. And with modern SCM applications, they have been able to integrate supplier deliveries with their own production schedules thus minimizing inventories and costs.
Another major area that has benefited is content management systems or CMS. A great deal of data is generated by large businesses. Analysis of this data can provide business intelligence and insights that lead to informed business decisions. Modern communications technology has made it possible to centralize data content storage, and the latest data warehousing and mining applications have made it possible to generate timely decision support information from the vast amounts of content stored.
B2C (business-to-consumer) transactions have also benefited in a major way from the application of electronics. Businesses can sell to the entire world without having to set up marketing establishments in all places. And consumers can compare prices from different sellers before making buying decisions. Comparison websites that compare offers from different sellers are among the most popular websites.
Internet Business Models and Functionalities
As mentioned above, e-business improved customer relationship and supply chain management functions beyond recognition, and enabled small businesses to sell to world markets at affordable costs. Comparatively simple operations like search engine optimization of Web pages and PPC campaigns such as Google AdWords replaced creating a worldwide marketing setup. And practices like email marketing, sending out electronic newsletters and using affiliate networks helped them achieve sales volumes.
Completely new business models such as those pioneered by Google, eBay and Amazon appeared on the scene.
Other areas where modern technology helped businesses include:
- Researching competition by surfing the Web
- Researching ideas for new products
- Researching new sources for the supplies they need
- Simplifying dealings with government through e-filing of documents and e-payment of taxes
- Simplifying and improving business processes, say by using the facility to store documents online to make them accessible from anywhere
Web 2.0 and social media are transforming the scenario even further. Few marketers have a clear idea of how to exploit the new media that reaches billions of persons.
E-business is more than e-commerce, i.e. online shops and payments. Business-to-business relationships with customers and suppliers have been completely transformed by modern communication technology. Small businesses have found a new way to grow fast at little cost. And the scenario is still changing fast with few businesses having a clear idea of how to function effectively in the new world of social media that reaches an audience numbered in the billions.