Indeed, we are now in the information age. However, only few people know what wonders information and communication technology can do in our lives. This encompasses computer hardware and software, infrastructure, telephone, cellular phone, communication satellites, broadcast and other media.
With all of these, information has been made promptly accessible by just flicking a switch, tapping a key and pushing a button. It compresses the world, improved people’s lifestyles, rectified the workplace, and made many industries more efficient, competitive and customer-oriented.
Internet as the new marketplace with its fast growing medium has made buying and selling of goods and services through the Web, or electronic commerce not just possible, but also more and more necessary. Truly, communication technology and information has transformed our lives in a way we could hardly imagine, as recently as two decades ago. Much more so, it is reaching and transforming even the most backward places and areas. Based on a study from United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, developing countries continue to grow faster than developed countries in their use of Internet.
Difficulties in e-commerce
Furthermore, e-commerce is growing vividly each year, but only two problems impede its full growth. The first one is the payment gateways. E-commerce is not growing as fast as it should be for the reason of lack of access to affordable payment processing services. There are companies which do online business recourses to service providers abroad with the purpose of payment. Nevertheless these payment gateways take 5 to 10 percent of the value of the transaction coursed through them while some require a sign-up fee of 50 and up to a few hundred dollars. There are still others that require monthly fees and some demand a fixed rate as per transaction on top of a percentage of the cost of the deal.
Whatever their charges, these foreign gateways are making bundle out of the services they provide for entrepreneurs. And though it’s true that a few local payment gateways are there to serve the small entrepreneur, the minimum cash balances they require and the monthly fees they charge can take the business out of the businessman.
Aside from the payment schemes, another problem in e-commerce is inertia or being indolent. Primarily, ensuring the security of payments and the privacy of online transactions is the key to the wide-ranging acceptance of e-commerce, but though appropriate laws and policies are in place to facilitate transactions through the Web, still it will be a barrier to more online transactions if there is lack of trust in the system.
What your business should start to grow using e-commerce?
Most companies use the Internet mostly for communication and research but work the least for e-commerce. What they think is that, e-commerce is only for big players because of the huge investment in technology that it requires reliable website development. Little did they know that any small firms desiring Internet access will find that a broadband connection is beyond its reach. This concerns more on skills. Many of our small and medium enterprises do not have people with enough knowledge to use the Internet—let alone the training required to use its full potential. And that they need help. Any effort to strengthen small business must start with knowing exactly what they need in order to flourish.
E-commerce has made market access less of a handicap to the small businessman who has access to a computer, modem, and telephone line, but he’ll need to arm himself with more knowledge and technology to navigate the Web and understand its complexities.