Electronic commerce, also expressed as e-commerce, employs various information and communication technologies to carry out activities like information exchange and trade (Gefen, 2000). Kalacota and Whinston (1997) defined e-commerce as the business exchange between two or more users over an electronic medium. They explained e-commerce from four different perspectives:
Communication Perspective: E-commerce is the process of providing information, products, or services and payment via electronic means (Telephones, Computer networks, etc.)
Business Process Perspective: E-commerce is the process of applying information technology to different business processes in order to smoothen business transactions and improve workflow through automation.
Service Perspective: E-commerce is the process of improving the quality of goods and speeding up the delivery of service. It also helps in bringing down the cost of the service.
Online Perspective: E-commerce also empowers individuals to buy and sell products/services online and even provides relevant information about products and other online services.
The online market provides the buyers, retailers, independent third parties, and others with the opportunity to exchange product information and other services (Bennett, 2007). The E-market is essentially an inter-organizational network platform which provide the buyers and sellers open exchange of information regarding the products and services (Bakos, 1991). The e-marketplace is considered advantageous to both the buyers and the sellers (Al-Shaikh et al., 2010). The e-commerce process involves all features of traditional trading process such as the formation of a feasible marketplace, ordering of products and services, organizing the supply chain and regulating the monetary transaction (Garrett and Skevington, 1999). E-commerce has taken the marketing world by a storm and has made the marketers implement initiatives like smart cards (Debit and Credit Card), e-trading, e-banking and e-retailing (Gunasekaran, et al, 2002; Asokan et al., 1997).
Meuter et al. (2000) have defined e-retailing or e-tailing as the computer-induced domain where the marketers offer their products and services and deliver them using the information based channels. Jones et al. (2000) observed that in e-retailing, the marketers use information technology to carry out retailing activities with their consumers leading to the exchange of values. It is also referred as Internet-based trade where the products and services are sold and bought, with just a click (Ahn et al., 2007). Alternatively, e-commerce may also be called the process of buying or selling of products or services over computer mediated environment; where the transaction can be business to businesses (B2B), business to households, business to individuals (B2C), and business to other public and private organizations (OECD, 2001).
Goods and services are ordered over the Internet in e-commerce, but the payment and delivery can be either online or offline. Online activities like promotions, communications, and support services rendered to customers are all covered under the concept of e-commerce. The impact of social and cultural factors of conventional business transactions over the Internet decides the acceptance or failure of e-commerce (Lafond and Sinha, 2005).
The developments in the domain of e-commerce have helped marketers in overcoming the geographical limitations of selling their products and services (Tseng et al., 2015). Researchers have termed e-commerce as the second revolution in the IT realm after the Internet revolution (Gunasekaran et al., 2002). The population of consumers engaging in online retailing has steadily increased with time (Chiu et al., 2012). The last decade saw huge advancements in e-commerce services, which grabbed the attention of retailers, and they started to focus on online services to create a competitive advantage and turn customers into loyal ones (Li and Suomi, 2007).
Internet commerce has fuelled the economic growth of the nations, which has further enhanced the online commerce (Kauffman and Kumar, 2008; Zhao et al., 2008; Tan and Ludwig, 2016). The electronic information exchange increases the efficacy of online transactions and is also efficient in financial terms (Tan and Ludwig, 2016; Huang et al., 2008). Marketers, in the ever-growing competitive environment, need to provide several e-services to satisfy the customers (Carter, 2010; Guo et al., 2010). E-commerce is also affected by cultural and social factors (Lafond and Sinha, 2005); thus, the formulation of models of e-commerce is a tough task.
E-commerce is an intricate process which has more to it than simply products, services, payment etc. (Lafond and Sinha, 2005). The firms using e-commerce take some time to break even and gain returns on their investment as it involves sophisticated technology and is supposedly a long-term process (Huang et al., 2010; Al-Qirim, 2007; Aral et al., 2006). The returns reflect in terms of growth in business learning, innovation, revenue, profit (Lee et al., 2009), and customer satisfaction (Mithas et al., 2012; Mithas and Jones, 2007; Fornell et al., 2006; Grover and Ramanlal, 1999).
For citing this article use:
- Rahman, O. (2019). Service quality in internet based electronic commerce an empirical study.