Since the turn of the century, technology has changed the manner of doing business across the world. This has led to the emergence of e-business, which entails the process of buying or selling goods over the Internet through online platforms. Some of the notable technologies applied in e-business include electronic money transfer, Internet marketing, mobile commerce, inventory management systems, and electronic data interchange, among others (Mazzanti 17).
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Contemporary e-business uses the World Wide Web in all its transactions, although certain elements of the transaction life cycle can be executed using alternative technologies such as e-mail. In the recent past, a steady increase in the number of e-businesses with operations across the world has been witnessed. Amazon is a good example of an e-business that has experienced tremendous growth in the recent past.
It mainly deals with the purchase of online books, which is one of the major e-commerce transactions made by a big percentage of people that seek online goods and services. Studies have shown that the dynamics of e-business keep changing as technology keeps evolving in a bid to meet the emerging needs (Mazzanti 24). A lot is expected with regard to the unfulfilled potential of e-business and the anticipated challenges owing to the fact that technology is increasingly becoming affordable to everyone in the market that is characterized by a high degree of competition.
One of the biggest challenges that business people and innovators in the contemporary world have to deal with is establishing the future of e-business. This phenomenon is necessitated by the numerous avenues and opportunities it has created over the years. In addition, its potential is expected to grow tremendously as the uptake of technology across the world continues to increase. Experts argue that e-business has broken several competitive barriers that had slowed down the ease of access to products from various parts of the world (Baumann-Pauly and Nolan 123).
This observable fact has also resulted in increased connectivity between businesses, thus making it possible for customers across different market segments to access a variety of products. Experts argue that there is a high possibility that in the next couple of decades, e-business will have overtaken the traditional ways of conducting business due to the huge potential of technology that is yet to be exploited (Shailja and Sinha 211).
In the past, technology has proven to have its own pitfalls that can easily compromise the ability of businesses offering e-commerce services to fulfill their potential. Projections by technology experts indicate that the potential future challenges of e-business will mainly revolve around issues relating to intellectual property, security, and regulatory measures (Mazzanti 64). In addition, it is expected that as time goes by, e-business will develop into a way of living that will require business owners to create a balance between appealing to their customers and meeting their social needs. A number of notable trends over the past few years have helped industry stakeholders to evaluate the future expectations of e-business and the challenges they are likely to face.
Increasing Percentage of Retail Sales
E-business has grown tremendously over the last decade with regard to the percentage of retail sales. While ten years ago, e-business accounted for only 3.5% of all retail sales, reports indicate that by the end of 2017, the market share had risen to 11.9%. This big improvement has been influenced by the high rate of technological growth, heightened business acumen, as well as increased access to and uptake of technology (Mazzanti 82).
Therefore, the growth of e-business that has been witnessed coupled with the relatively low market share is an indication that the future is bright because new industry players have enormous opportunities they can exploit to outpace traditional industry leaders. For example, in 2019, Amazon will mark 25 years since it started its operations. Currently, it has a 37%command of the e-commerce market share.
According to experts, considering the rate at which the retail mega-giant has grown over the last decade, it is estimated that the conglomerate will have gained more than 50% control of the online market within the next two or three years. This is a clear indication that people are gaining more awareness with regard to e-commerce services. In addition, finding products online is more convenient for most people because they have the luxury of comparing prices and cost of shipment, thus allowing one to get the best deal possible (Baumann-Pauly and Nolan 134).
Increased Accessibility of e-Commerce Automation
One of the trends that have confirmed the future of e-business as a concept worthy of any kind of investment in e-commerce automation. Over the last ten years, several businesses have gained reasonable information with regard to the potential of automation for e-commerce services. The success of businesses such as Amazon and Walmart in the provision of e-commerce services is built on the value of marketing automation (Johnson 60). However, experts argue that the effectiveness of automation depends on the willingness and ability of a business to commit a large number of resources that are crucial to conducting extensive research on its viability depending on the dynamics of respective markets.
Purchase Complexities amid a Growing Popularity of Mobile Devices
Research has shown that the concept of e-business is set to grow further due to the advancements in mobile devices, which are set to increase the number of people who can access e-commerce services (Mazzanti 91). The number of people that can afford or access a smartphone has increased a lot over the last decade, thus creating more growth opportunities for e-business. With research showing that by 2020 the number of the global population that will be fully connected to reliable Internet will have doubled, the dream of e-business toppling the traditional business model is likely to become a reality (Johnson 78).
However, the challenge with regard to the use of smartphones is that most people browse on their mobile devices but opt to make purchases using a computer. This means that businesses offering e-commerce services have a huge task of turning the high number of people that search for their products on mobile devices to direct purchases (Baumann-Pauly and Nolan 173). This will go a long way in gaining a competitive advantage over traditional businesses because they will have influence over a considerable fraction of the market.
In addition, innovators should also improve the efficiency and effectiveness of mobile devices with regard to the ease of making purchases from e-markets. There is an urgent need to maximize the high number of people that have access to reliable Internet connections across the world. E-business has necessitated the interconnection between businesses and consumers across various continents; thus, exploiting the potential of doing business on mobile devices should be a priority (Mazzanti 100).
Introduction of New Technologies
One of the realities about technology is the high rate at which it is evolving. It is evident that technology has changed the lifestyle of all people across the world. Since the turn of the century, the concept of e-business has been heightened by the introduction of monetary services such as the use of debit and credit cards, as well as the emergence of online money transfer services (Baumann-Pauly and Nolan 200).
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All these technologies have made it possible for people to buy and sell goods over the Internet. The introduction of new technologies has improved the speed of communication and Internet downloads. This has created a leeway for entrepreneurs to set up more online businesses dealing with movie and book releases because people will be able to download them directly from their websites with great ease. In the recent past, people have enjoyed the swift upgrade of Internet speeds from 3G to 4G, with developed countries currently on 5G. In addition, smartphones and computer developers have improved the speed of their processors in a bid to enhance the business experiences of people that seek e-commerce services.
According to experts, e-business has profited a lot since the introduction of cloud computing. Coupled with high internet speeds, it has played a pivotal role in reorienting the old paradigm associated with e-business (Johnson 108). Such technologies have helped businesses to develop better ways of managing information systems. In addition, it is expected that as new technologies keep being introduced into the market, the ability to safeguard sensitive information will be enhanced.
The future of e-business is very positive because the next generation of technologies will be more focused on improving essential elements of the concept such as privacy protection, strengthened security, provision of personalized services, as well as improved access control tools (Mazzanti 109). Experts also argue that social networking sites are a good platform that businesses that offer e-commerce services can exploit for new opportunities. It is expected that the number of social networking sites will increase with time, while the existing ones will get improvements that will allow for integration into e-business.
Ethical Issues for Businesses with Limited Infrastructure
Considering the manner in which technology has enhanced the ease of doing business, experts project that the provision of e-commerce services will achieve higher standards with time. The main reason for this is the fact that on-demand services coupled with new technologies allow one to set up a business with limited infrastructure. Technological advancements have made it possible for essential business tools such as power, memory, bandwidth, and storage to be shared (Baumann-Pauly and Nolan 219).
However, experts argue that this kind of convenience is likely to bring ethical challenges relating to intellectual property, as well as security concerns regarding the data and information of a business. Although technological experts say that it is possible for a business to have a privately controlled but shared framework, the need to ensure the security of crucial data is of paramount importance. As the concept of e-business continues to gain momentum, the need to protect intellectual property through safer mechanisms and effective legal infrastructure will continue to be a major challenge. Studies have shown that e-business owners in the contemporary world comprehend that the anticipated evolution of e-commerce services over the next decade will most likely be dominated by this challenge (Mazzanti 109).
Experts argue that if the challenge is not addressed on time, the projected rate of growth for e-businesses across the world is likely to be compromised because too much time and resources will be directed towards addressing it. There is an urgent need for stakeholders in the e-commerce industry to come up with effective and cautious approaches that are used in testing new technologies in a bid to develop a culture of sustainable business practices.
The major conviction among entrepreneurs is that the ability to fulfill the potential of e-commerce is highly dependent on the willingness of businesses to integrate elements of sustainability and ethics into their operations (Johnson 134). All businesses have an ethical responsibility of ensuring that their customer needs and interests are prioritized without compromising the ability to operate within permissible regulations.
One of the major misconceptions with regard to e-business is that it is a technology rather than a paradigm of doing business. The introduction of e-commerce services has created more avenues for buying and selling products. Research has shown that e-business has introduced platforms for increased social networking, infrastructure use, as well as acquisition and transfer of knowledge. With the high rate of technological advancements, e-business will definitely achieve greater standards amid an array of challenges relating to value for the user, transactional dynamics, ethical obligations, as well as the security of information and data shared online.
Baumann-Pauly, Dorothee, and Justine Nolan. Business and Human Rights: From Principles to Practice. Routledge, 2016.
Johnson, Nicholas. The Future of Marketing: Strategies from 15 Leading Brands on how Authenticity, Relevance, and Transparency will help Survive the Age of the Customer. FT Press, 2015.
Mazzanti, Costanzo. Electronic Commerce: Technologies, Challenges, and Future Prospects. Nova Science, 2017.
Shailja, Dixit, and Amit Kumar Sinha, editors. E-Retailing Challenges and Opportunities in the Global Marketplace. IGI Global, 2016.