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E-business versus e-commerce

Interchangeable terms?

The terms ‘e-commerce’ and ‘e-business’ are often used interchangeably but what do these words really mean?

e-commerce refers to online transactions - buying and selling of goods and/or services over the Internet. 

e-business covers online transactions, but also extends to all Internet based interactions with business partners, suppliers and customers such as: selling direct to consumers, manufacturers and suppliers; monitoring and exchanging information; auctioning surplus inventory; and collaborative product design. These online interactions are aimed at improving or transforming business processes and efficiency.

Potential e-business benefits include:

  • Improved accuracy, quality and time required for updating and delivering information on products and/or services.
  • Access for customers to catalogues and prices - 24 hours x 7 days.
  • Improved ease, speed and immediacy of customer ordering.
  • Enhanced market, industry or competitor intelligence acquired through information gathering and research activities.
  • New distribution channels via the electronic delivery of some products and services, for example, product design collaboration, publications, software, translation services, banking, etc.
  • Expansion of customer base and growth in export opportunities.
  • Reduces routine administrative tasks (invoices and order records) freeing staff to focus on more strategic activities.

If you are interested in exploring global e-business information further including the latest news, country-assessments, business models then visit these websites:

  • Ebusiness forum - - The Economists website providing information, analysis, research and latest news on the impacts of the Internet for business strategy.
  • - a portal for information on e-business, information, technology and knowledge management issues

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