What is E-Business?
The Difference between E-Commerce and E-Business
Electronic commerce, B2C, or e-commerce refers to online sales. Electronic business or e-business, on the other hand, refers to more than just selling online.
E-business is about utilizing Internet technologies – such as simple email, online banking solutions, websites, and more sophisticated applications such as web-based customer relationship management solutions – to provide superior customer service, streamline business processes, increase sales and reduce costs.
Therefore, any business owner who uses the Internet to develop or enhance their business is using e-business. This means that you may already be using e-business in your own business.
Understanding Internet Technology and Its Relation to E-Business
The Internet and the World Wide Web
The Internet is an electronic communications network that allows computers around the world to “talk” to each other. Any computer that is connected to the Internet can exchange information with other connected computers.
The World Wide Web, or simply the Web, is a subset of the Internet. It functions as the Internet’s navigation system and allows users to view the Internet network through the use of websites.
How Websites WorkWebsites are a collection of web pages, which are electronic pages of information linked together much like a spider’s web. This spider’s web-like navigational system (inherent in both websites and the Web itself) allows users to move around the system in a non-linear fashion. This means that, unlike a book – where information is laid out for the reader chronologically, in a set order – a Web user has the power to access information online however they choose.
Websites are accessed via a web browser such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla. Web browsers are the graphical interface that enables users to view, find and interact with websites.
Websites each have their own unique address, called an IP address, through which users can find them. For example, the iTeam's website has an address www.iteamtech.ca. By typing this address into the web browser address bar, a user would be connected to our website.
But, since the Web indexes literally billions of websites, another method to facilitate finding relevant websites was necessary. Therefore, search engines that utilize “keyword searching” were created.
It is estimated that more than 98% of Internet users use search engines to find websites online. A search engine is a website whose primary purpose is to provide a search function for gathering and reporting information available on the Internet.
Search engines allow Internet users to quickly find websites related to a certain topic through the use of “keywords” and “keyword phrases,” that is, words and phrases that describe the topic of interest.
For example, let’s say an Internet user in the UK is looking for businesses online that sell hand carved indigenous masks and figurines from Canada. She doesn’t know of any specific businesses selling these items, nor does she know any website addresses, so she uses a search engine such as Google or Yahoo to find websites whose content contains relevant keywords.
On the search engine’s main page, she types into the search-box: “Canadian Native Art.” The search engine returns 3,370 listings containing this keyword phrase, organized by relevancy. The user can then either start browsing the websites listed, or she can narrow the results further by searching within those results for another keyword – like “mask,” for example.
Search engines allow Internet users to effectively find relevant websites, making the Web’s vast amount of information much easier to navigate.
Why the Internet is of Value to BusinessAs an instantaneous information and communication medium with global reach, the Internet is a practical and vital business tool. And, your small business can benefit from the equal footing it offers you, regardless of your size or location.
Below, we’ll explore some of the efficiencies that can be achieved by small businesses using Internet technologies to further their business goals.