Generally businesses use the internet for four purposes: presenting information, selling products, distributing digital products, and acquiring goods and services. These activities will be explored in greater detail in the Chapter 10 e-business.
By posting a website, a company can tell people about itself, its products, and its activities. Customers can check the status of orders or account balances. Information should always be current, complete, and accurate. Customers should be able to find and navigate the site, and have no difficulty accessing during high-use periods.
Selling over the Internet—whether to individuals or to other businesses—enables a business to enlarge its customer base by reaching buyers outside its geographical area. A company selling over the Internet must attract customers to its site, make the buying process simple, assure customers that the site is secure, and provide helpful information.
Distributing Digital Products
Some companies use the Internet to sell and deliver digital products such as subscriptions to online news services, software products and upgrades, and music and video products. In these businesses, the timely delivery of products is crucial.
Acquiring Goods and Services
E-purchasing saves time, speeds up delivery, reduces administrative costs, and fosters better communications between a firm and its suppliers. Most importantly, it cuts the costs of purchased products because it’s now feasible for buyers to request competitive bids and do comparative shopping. Many companies now use a technology called electronic data interchange to process transactions and transmit purchasing documents directly from one IS to another.