"The primary technological goal of e-commerce is to integrate businesses, government agencies, and contractors into a single community with the ability to communicate with one another across any computer platform" (Edwards, 1998).With the astonishing growth of the Internet, many companies are finding new and exciting ways to expand upon their business opportunities. There are very few successful companies that do not use computers in their everyday business activities, which also means there are few companies that do not use e-commerce.
To emphasize the point that the effect of the Internet is so widespread in today's business communities, one online article stated that more than 100,000 companies have Internet addresses, and 20,000 companies have home pages on the Internet as of February 1999 (DataQuest, 1999). These numbers have more than tripled since 1995, and the trend shows no signs of slowing. But what exactly is e-commerce? To the most casual Internet surfer, e-commerce means online shopping. Internet surfers cruise the web purchasing anything from books to hockey tickets. As we will soon find out, there is much more to e-commerce than a simply internet surfer buying personal consumables.
Simply put, e-commerce is the exchange of business information between two or more organizations. An example of this would be buying and selling products or services over the Internet. E-commerce became very popular soon after it proved to be an efficient means to conduct long distance transactions. The purpose of this report is to discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of e-commerce, as well as examining its potential for the future of business. The worldwide market for commercial electronic commerce is expected to exceed growth of 69 per cent over the next five years. In 1998, approximately $77 billion was spent through commercial trading over the Internet (France, 1999).
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