Module 13: E-commerce & Entertainment
In this module we will briefly look at how digital technology, especially the growth of the Internet
and World Wide Web, have affected how some business is conducted and how it has affected
the world of entertainment.
What is e-commerce? In short, e-commerce is the online expansion of commerce, that is,
buying, selling, and trading of goods and services that are considered of monetary value.
Commerce is nothing new; what is of interest is how the relatively recent development of the
Internet, and especially the World Wide Web, is facilitating commerce.
The most common form of e-commerce is e-tail, or retail buying and selling online. E-tailing
requires (1) a seller, (2) a product or service, (3) a method for buyers to locate and contact the
seller, and (4) most importantly, a method for sellers to collect payment.
There are any number of online sites where prospective e-tailers can set up their stores, offering
various services in the form of space, image servers, and secure email, or sellers may choose
to set up their own sites. No matter where a seller chooses to situate their site, there are some
fundamental elements in successful e-tailing.
First and foremost, a successful seller will know, or hire an expert in, efficient information
architecture and interface design so that their site design facilitates easy buyer location of
desired goods and services. If a user cannot find what they are looking for quickly and easily,
they will usually choose to take their business elsewhere.
Secondly, e-tailers must have a clear, secure method for customers to contact them. This often
means paying extra for a secure connection, but as online fraud becomes more widespread,
consumer confidence in site security is nearly as important. (Users can tell at a glance if they
are on a secure site-look for https in the URL rather than http, and most browsers display a
small image of a padlock in one corner that is either locked for a secure site, or unlocked for a
non-secure one.) Secure transactions help prevent identity theft and credit card fraud.
Finally, sites must offer clear and unambiguous opportunities for users to contact site owners or
administrators. As with all customer service, consumers need the opportunity to make contact
when they need help.