E-commerce is most often associated with online shopping but it’s much more than just buying products and service using the world wide web. In fact, shopping via the Internet is only a small part of e-commerce which also encompasses business-to-business communication, transfer of funds, data exchange, etc., while maritime industry also uses e-commerce for various aspects of shipping such as chartering, cargo booking, cargo tracking, etc.
Benefits of E-Commerce for Maritime Industry
E-commerce offers a number of benefits for maritime industry and most companies have been taking advantage of e-commerce for quite some time. Some of the main benefits of utilisation of the electronic means (besides the Internet, e-commerce also involves the use of other electronic technology such as the telephone and fax) include:
Easy and fast access to information/products/service. Thanks to the world wide web, information/products/services can be accessed with ease from all over the world in a matter of seconds.
No time barriers. E-commerce solutions allow immediate business-to-business and business-to-customer connections.
No geographic barriers. A business/consumer can complete a transaction/purchase/sale from anywhere in the world where there is connection to the Internet and easily use for a hardcopy of the purchase.
Lower cost of operation. E-commerce requires fewer employees and fewer space which dramatically reduces the cost of operation.
Increased competitiveness. The advent of the Internet and its utilisation for trade and commerce worldwide tremendously increased competition on the global level. However, it also enabled smaller businesses to become more competitive than they were in comparison to large companies due to lower cost of web marketing in comparison to the traditional advertisement methods.
Access to the world market. Electronic technology, most notably the Internet gives businesses instant access to the world market.
Drawbacks of E-Commerce
Just like everything else, e-commerce has its drawbacks as well. The advantages by far outweigh the disadvantages, however, it is highly important to be aware that:
- utilisation of electronic technology for e-commerce reduces the cost of operation in the long term but it requires a relatively high initial investment
- e-commerce increase the responsibility for security of transactions and private information
- technological challenges may occur
In order to benefit from e-commerce, it is crucial to consider both the advantages and disadvantages discussed above. But considering that the whole world is “moving” online, the question isn’t whether or not your company needs an e-commerce solution but rather how to utilise it in order to boost your business.