The internet is a cyberspace comprising of networks within other networks that facilitate communication using data packets. The internet is unquestionably the most important development of technology. Since its invention in the year 1969, it has caused a major revolution in virtually every sector. Currently, there is Internet Service Providers (ISP) across the world providing internet services. There are also many web browsers that enable internet users to surf the internet. The internet has become an instrumental tool for entertainment, business, learning and politics. In fact, practically every activity that goes on around in the world has something to do with the internet. The internet has made possible things that were considered literally impossible before its invention. The business sector indubitably leads the pack that has greatly benefited from the internet. The internet has brought a major transformation in business transactions in the postmodern world.
The inception of the internet a few decades ago has led to the revolutionizing of the business field. The internet is responsible for the increased diversity and large scale operation of most businesses in the current world. The internet is also responsible for the fact that business is the leading contributor to the world economy (Chaffey, 2009). There are various advantages of using the internet in business that have seen great improvements and achievement in the sector. This research paper will look at the positive effects that the use of the internet has had on businesses all around the world.
The method used in the research study was the use of questionnaires. The questions included in the questionnaire touched on issues related to the use of the internet and the benefits of the same on businesses. The questionnaires used were open-ended. Therefore, the respondents that took part in the study had the freedom to add any other relevant information other than the one requested in the questions. This was effective because the writer was able to collect a lot of information that could not have been collected had the questionnaires been closed-up.
The research included three types of people. These were the owners of the businesses that conducted a good number of their transactions via the internet, business owners that did not use the internet in their transactions and lastly, general social network users. The use of these three distinct groups in the research study ensured that the information collected was unbiased and from different perspectives.
First and foremost, the respondents were selected randomly based on the groups mentioned above. Five participants were included in each group. The participants were then put in separate rooms and handed the questionnaires to fill in their responses. This separation ensured that the answers given were genuine and that the respondents did not influence each other.
Out of the fifteen individuals that were used in the research study, all of them acknowledged that the internet has been useful to improve business operations. Each of them had at one time used the internet to conduct a transaction, find the supplier of a certain product or find information about a certain product. The business owners who regularly used the internet admitted that it has been an important means of expanding and facilitating the operations of their businesses. The business owners who did not use the internet admitted that although they do not use it, it has a lot of benefits. The users of social network sites also admitted that the internet has helped them to get information about certain products and services.
A variety of literature materials have been written regarding the positive effects of the internet. This section will discuss some of these resources that highlight the positive effect of the internet on businesses..
Ease Of Access Of Information
According to Chaffey and Ellis (2009), the internet has made it possible for businesses around the world to access any kind of information from where they are via the internet. This could be information about certain products, producers, markets or fashion trends. The businesses can then access the products, producers or markets through the contact information listed on their websites. This ease of access of information has enabled businesses and business people to acquire anything they want without much strain. This access was not possible long ago before the invention of the internet. In fact, it was impossible to access information about other products, producers or markets that are thousands of miles away and in different geographical locations. The invention of the World Wide Web (www) by Sir Tim Berners-Lee has gone a long way in easing access of information from all around the globe.
Reduced Costs Of Transactions
The use of the internet in carrying out business transactions has immensely cut down on the costs of business transactions. For instance, the conduction of business transactions over the internet has reduced transportation costs that would have been met by the parties involved in the transaction. Instead, these transactions can just take place over the internet while the people involved in it are seated in the comfort of their offices or living rooms. The resources that could have been used for the purposes of transportation can be injected in other sectors of the businesses and earn extra revenue.
The use of the internet has also gone a long way in assuring transacting parties on the safety of transactions. The people taking part in the transactions no longer have to worry about their safety because there is no physical contact between the buyers and the sellers. The use of the internet has therefore removed the cases of gangsters who used to masquerade as potential customers and then rob or even hijack the unsuspecting business people and demand for overwhelming amounts as the ransom.
Reliable Payment Methods
The introduction of the internet has led to the introduction of modern payment methods that have further ensured the genuineness and transparency of business transactions (Dubicki, 2009). The use of these methods has gotten rid of fraud incidences that were earlier perpetrated using fake cheques. These methods include PayPal, Skrill, Escrow and AlertPay. The use of these methods of payment has further led to the build-up of confidence in both the buyers and sellers. While the sellers are assured of payment for their goods or services, buyers are in turn certain that their money will not be taken without getting the ordered goods or services.
Increased Pace Of Transactions
The use of the internet has also contributed to increased speed of business transactions. The internet enables transacting parties to seal business deals in a matter of minutes. The parties simply need to go online, carry out some necessary negotiations, agree on the terms and conditions of the transactions and seal the deal. These are transactions that could have taken many days or even months to be completed without the use of the internet. The increased pace of transactions is also the main reason why many businesses are going in for the online business transactions as opposed to the traditional transaction methods that require physical contact and consume a lot of time.
Increased Volume Of Transactions
The use of the internet in carrying out business transactions has led to an increase in the range and number of business transactions that businesses can conduct in a given duration of time (Gay and Charlesworth, 2009). This is because the use of the internet makes the transactions to be carried out within the shortest time possible. The business is therefore in a position to carry out many more transactions compared to what it would have done without the use of the internet in the same duration of time. Furthermore, the use of the internet enables a business to engage in multiple transactions simultaneously. This further contributes to the volume of transactions that can be handled by the trading company in a certain period of time.
Reduced Labour Costs
The use of the internet has led to a significant drop in the labour costs encountered by the business. The internet has reduced the necessity of employing a lot of personnel to facilitate business transactions. For instance, the internet has removed the need for middlemen who used to act as mediators between trading companies and the buyers. Instead, a few people employed by one company can get in touch with prospective customers via the internet and carry out the transactions without the use of middlemen or another party. The business therefore ends up employing a few people compared to those it would employ without using the internet. Consequently, the business spends lesser revenue in paying the employees.
Development Of The Business
The use of the internet enables a business to develop itself by keeping in pace with the trends and fashions in the market (McKay and Marshall, 2004). The business can access the latest information from the internet about modern and more effective management strategies and other techniques that are crucial for the development of the business. The business can then make use of these techniques and improve its status. In addition to that, the business can learn about the methods employed by its competitors. By learning these methods, the business will be better placed to launch an effective competition against their competitors and have a large share of the available market.
The use of the internet has opened up wider markets for the goods and services of businesses. A business is no longer limited to the local or national market around it. Instead, such a business can access other bigger and better markets by merely conducting a search on the internet. The internet searches can then show various potential markets for the product of the business. After completing this easy process, it is up to the trading company to find ways of getting its products or services to the particular market and gaining the confidence of the customers in the market.
Increased Sharing Of Ideas
The use of the internet has enabled businesses to stay in touch with other business experts from various parts of the world. The business can thus easily seek consultation services from these experts in time of need. The business can also join the social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Through such social networks, the business can get ideas on the ways of improving from veteran businessmen and businesswomen from around the globe. Furthermore, the business can also contribute to business internet forums via the internet (Egan, 2007). By doing this, the business will be in a position to learn from others as well as give others a chance to learn from them. This process is likely to lead to the growth of the business.
Economisation Of Office Space
The use of the internet by a business saves on the space that such a business can set aside as its office premises. This is because the use of the internet enables employees to work from home. By using the internet, the employees do not necessarily need to be at the office in order to perform their duties. In cases where the employees are mobile, they make use of the Satellite Internet instead of the Dial-up Internet which is fixed (Jelassi and Enders, 2005). They can work from whichever place they are. The business therefore does not need to have a large office to accommodate all the employees. In fact, it can have a very tiny office but employ hundreds of employees who work from home. This practice saves the business the costs that it would have been obliged to meet in terms of creating office space for its employees.
The use of the internet has also contributed to much ease with which businesses can advertise their products. Through the use of the internet, a business is able to reach millions of potential customers with one advertisement. This is because there are millions of daily internet users across the globe. The advertisements are most effective on social networking sites and blogs. Facebook has been the leading social networking site that has been on the forefront in online advertisements. The business can also place advertisements on the home page of its website.
Cost Effective Advertisements
The advertisements offered by most sites on the internet are highly affordable. Couple with their effectiveness, online advertisements are cheaper when compared to other methods of advertisements such as the radio and television media. The cost of the online advertisements per web page is relatively lower because of the large number of businesses that use the same means of advertisement. The online advertisements are also likely to last longer compared to the other methods of advertisements.
Access Of Information By Buyers
The internet enables buyers to access information about goods and services that they are looking for by simply typing their queries in search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. The information provided by the internet is also wide and detailed. Furthermore, search engine optimization and caches ensures that the customers get the most relevant information. The buyers can access expert reviews about products from many websites.
Furthermore, there are sites that offer customer care services to the customers who may be having any questions. All this enable the customers to be highly informed about the products they are looking for. Therefore, they are no longer vulnerable to exploitation by salespersons that used to take advantage of their ignorance and charge them exorbitant prices. The buyers can also use the domain names of various producers to compare the prices of their products on their web sites and choose the most affordable one. In order to do this, the buyers need to know the URL of the businesses’ websites. In addition to that, buyers can use social bookmarking to store the information of the web pages that they have visited.
Ease Of Communication
The internet has made communication between businesses and customers or employees to be much easier. This has been made possible by the use of email addresses. Email addresses are supported by mail servers. The mail servers in turn use the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) to send and receive mails over a network. The business owners are in a position to simply type a single message and then forward the same to hundreds or even thousands of email recipients.
The business owners can also write a single message on their Facebook wall and let all the customers, employees or colleagues see it in a few seconds’ time. Furthermore, the business owners can write a tweet on Twitter and reach many Twitter users in a matter of seconds. The business owners can decide to insert hyperlinks in their messages that direct readers to their websites. Furthermore, they can use the internet chat to communicate urgent messages to online recipients. Lastly, the businesses can use their intranets, extranets or a Virtual Private Network to share information with buyers or suppliers.
Promotion Of International Business
The internet has been instrumental in promoting international trade. Thousands or perhaps tens of thousands of international transactions take place daily on the internet via e-business. The transactions involve business companies that may be located in different geographical locations with thousands of kilometres between them in distance. The internet has further facilitated these transactions though enabling videoconferencing. A transaction that involves more than two parties in different places can be discussed using the videoconferencing facility. This is where the parties involved discuss the transactions at the same time using equipment that enable them to visually see each other.
The use of the internet for trading has also reduced chances of robbery on business and even customers. Although there are a few cases of robbery on the internet, the perpetrators of the crime can be brought to book by tracing the IP addresses of their computers. This activity has reduced the possibility of email spamming, phishing, email scamming, email virus and hacking.
Current Stock Exchange Rates
Another positive effect of the use of the internet is that the business is in a position to get the most current stock exchange rates at any particular time. This feature enables businesses which trade in stocks or those that are engaged in foreign trade to be at par with the rate of stock exchanges. Furthermore, it is possible to program the computer in such a manner that it buys shares for the business via the internet when the course is down.
Discussion And Conclusion
It is evident from the research carried out that the internet has had a positive effect on businesses all over the world. It has reduced the pace and cost of transactions and improved the efficiency of businesses. The internet has also led to the growth of businesses through effective advertisements. On the other hand, the internet has also been helpful to buyers by providing them with the information they need about products and their producers. The significance of the internet in the business sector can therefore not be trivialized.
Chaffey, D. (2009). E-Business and e-commerce management: Strategy, implementation and practice. Harlow: Pearson Education. Web.
Chaffey, D., and Ellis, F. (2009). Internet marketing: Strategy, implementation and practice. Harlow: FT/Prentice Hall. Web.
Dubicki, E. (2009). Marketing and promoting electronic resources: Creating the e- Buzz. New York: Routledge. Web.
Egan, J. (2007). Marketing communications. London: Thomson. Web.
Gay, R., and Charlesworth., A. (2007). Online marketing a customer-led approach. New York: Oxford University Press. Web.
Jelassi, T., and Enders, A. (2005). Strategies for e-business. Harlow: Pearson Education. Web.
McKay, J., and Marshall, P. (2004). Strategic management of e-Business. Milton: National Library of Australia. Web.