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E-commerce opportunities for SMEs / 中小企业的电子商务机遇


Author: Josh Whittingham
Date: January 13, 2014

E-commerce opportunities for SMEs

Looking back on his career during his retirement speech, Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma remarked on just how far China and Alibaba had come since he began the company with a few friends in the late 90s. Alibaba group is China’s largest e-commerce service and owns popular websites and services such as Taobao, Alipay and Tmall. The group’s flagship company, Alibaba connects small and medium size enterprises (SME) both within China and around the world. Wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers buy and sell goods, services and information to each other through the service. In his speech Jack Ma emphasized that the thing he is most proud of is the way that that Alibaba has helped millions of SMEs around the world to succeed. Alibaba has done this by providing SME’s a platform through which they are able to find customers and suppliers that they would otherwise never have been able to reach. The Alibaba group has had a major impact on the Chinese economy by facilitating over a trillion yuan in transactions in 2012. E-commerce platforms like Alibaba are incredibly valuable for SMEs because they offer an affordable way to reach a huge range of customers and suppliers. The influence of e-commerce is limited only by the expansion of internet infrastructure, and as internet penetration increases both within China and the developing world, e-commerce will grow along with it. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2020, China’s e-commerce market will be between $420 -600 million US dollars, the largest in the world. E-commerce is also playing a big role in the global economy, with total sales in 2012 totalling over $13.75 trillion US dollars.
The forms of E-commerce that are most relevant to SMEs can be broken down in two key types of business transactions: Business to Business (B2B), and Business to Customer (B2C) transactions. Other types of e-commerce such as Business to Government (B2G) transactions offer much smaller opportunities for SMEs. B2B transactions make up the largest share of global e-commerce, occupying approximately 90% of total sales. B2B e-commerce includes the exchange of goods, services or information between two businesses, for example between a manufacturer and a wholesaler. Popular existing examples of B2B e-commerce platforms are the aforementioned Alibaba group, as well as Quill and Grainger. B2C transactions involve the selling of products to customers through the use of websites with the use of shopping cart software. Websites such as Amazon or Tmall are among the most popular, but B2C e-commerce also includes any retailer website where products or services can be purchased directly by the public.
SMEs that can tap into these types of e-commerce transactions will be able to affordably expand both their customer base through B2C transactions and their supply network through B2B transactions. Due to its large size and developed online channels, B2B e-commerce offers many benefits for any SME. B2B e-commerce can aid SMEs when they are looking for new suppliers or customers. E-commerce services are an excellent resource for researching potential business partners. E-commerce services are now providing reliable information on the backgrounds, credibility and financial solvency of potential partners through partner review mechanisms and other feedback metrics. For many SMEs independently gathering much of this information can be both costly and time consuming. B2B e-commerce services are a streamlined way of locating new business partners as well as gaining information on potential relationships.
For retailers B2C e-commerce offers great way to expand customer base. Depending on the industry of the SME, B2C e-commerce can offer significant sales boosts for low costs. E-commerce programs are inexpensive for SMEs to implement because they do not require the SME to make major capital investments and are easy to maintain. The low cost of e-commerce also allows for high profit margins. The speed with which e-commerce transaction take place can allow for better customer service. The internet gives customers 24/7 access to the firm’s website making it easier and faster for the customer to make purchases. By providing more effective and efficient service, customer satisfaction can be improved at a minimal cost to the SMEs bottom line.
There are several issues that any SME needs to consider in developing its e-commerce presence. The first being security concerns for customers and the firm itself. Malware and malicious online attacks are a threat that can create losses for the firm in addition to hurting customer satisfaction. Inadequate infrastructure is another obstacle for many firms in developing countries. A firm needs to have employees with the skill set necessary to develop an E-commerce initiative, in certain developing marketplaces finding individuals with the requisite skills can be difficult and costly. By taking these concerns into account, many benefits of e-commerce can be harnessed. Smart SMEs that take advantage of the growth potential of e-commerce will be among the most successful firms in the coming years, as e-commerce becomes a place where more and more business is done.

Writer: Josh Wittingham, Hopkins Nanjing Center Certificate ’13

作者:Josh Wittingham
2014年01月13号

中小企业的电子商务机遇

阿里巴巴创始人兼董事会主席马云在他退休后的讲话中表示:回首他的职业生涯,他与几个朋友于90年代末创建的公司(阿里巴巴)已经和中国一道取得了巨大成就。阿里巴巴集团是中国最大的电子商务集团,拥有广受欢迎的网站和服务,如淘宝,支付宝和天猫商城。集团的旗舰公司阿里巴巴在中国和世界各地将中小规模企业连接起来。批发商,制造商和零售商通过该服务互相买卖商品、服务和信息。马云在讲话中强调,他最为自豪的是阿里巴巴已经帮助数百万世界各地的中小企业取得成功。阿里巴巴为中小企业提供一个平台,让他们能够找到通过其他途径无法找到的客户和供应商。2012年,阿里巴巴集团为超过1万亿人民币的交易提供便利,它对中国经济产生重大影响。对中小企业而言,阿里巴巴这样的电子商务平台价值非凡,通过它中小企业以低廉的成本接触到大范围的客户和供应商。电子商务的影响仅仅受到网络基础设施的限制,随着互联网在中国和其他发展中国家的普及,电子商务将与互联网一起成长。麦肯锡全球研究所预计:到2020年,中国的电子商务市场将会达到4-6.6亿美元,成为世界上最大电子商务市场。电子商务在全球经济中也发挥着巨大作用, 2012年电子商务销售总额超过13.75万亿美元。

与中小企业密切相关的电子商务形式有两种交易形式:企业对企业(B2B)和企业对客户(B2C),其他形式如电子商务企业对政府(B2G)为中小企业提供的机会要少得多。 B2B交易的份额最大,大约占全球电子商务交易总额的90%。B2B电子商务包括两个企业之间的产品、服务和信息交换,例如制造商和批发商之间的交换。现有的热门B2B电子商务平台包括上述的阿里巴巴集团,导盲犬小Q和格兰杰。B2C交易使用网站购物车软件售卖产品,时下最流行的网站包括亚马逊和天猫商城等。B2C电子商务还包括可以由公众直接购买产品和服务的任何零售商网站。

可以打入这些电子商务交易的中小企业将能够通过B2C以低成本扩展客户群,通过B2B扩大供应网络。由于其庞大规模和网上渠道,B2B电子商务为中小型企业提供多种便利。B2B电子商务可以帮助中小企业,寻找新的供应商和客户。电子商务是一项优质资源,它可被用来研究潜在的业务合作伙伴。通过合作伙伴审查机制和其他反馈指标提供的可靠信息,电子商务现在能够提供潜在合作伙伴的背景,信誉和财政偿付能力。对于许多独立收集大量信息的中小企业而言,这些工作昂贵而又费时。B2B电子商务是寻找新合作伙伴和收集潜在合作伙伴信息的最新方法。

对于零售商而言,B2C电子商务为扩大客户基础提供了极好的路径。根据中小企业的行业特点,B2C电子商务可以以低成本显著提高销量。中小企业实施电子商务成本较低,因为电子商务不要求中小企业做出重大资本投资且易于维护。同时,低成本的电子商务也拥有高额利润。电子商务交易的速度确保了更好的客户服务。互联网让客户可以全天候访问该公司网站,交易变得更加快速和便捷。通过提供更加有效和高效的服务,电子商务可以以最低的成本提高客户满意度。

在发展电子商务的过程中有几个问题中小企业需要考虑。第一个是客户和企业自身的安全问题,恶意软件和网络攻击是一种威胁,它们损害客户满意度并且使公司陷入亏损的境地。对许多发展中国家的公司而言,基础设施建设不足是另一个障碍。公司需要有技能的员工参与发展电子商务计划,而在某些发展中国家,寻找具备必要的技能的员工不仅困难,成本也很高。考虑到这些问题,电子商务会的诸多益处将被驾驭。随着电子商务与企业经营结合愈来愈紧密,在未来几年内,能够利用电子商务的发展潜力的中小企业将成为最成功的企业。

作者:Josh Wittingham,中美中心国证书班2013

Author: Josh Wittingham
Date: January 13, 2014

E-commerce opportunities for SMEs

Looking back on his career during his retirement speech, Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma remarked on just how far China and Alibaba had come since he began the company with a few friends in the late 90s. Alibaba group is China’s largest e-commerce service and owns popular websites and services such as Taobao, Alipay and Tmall. The group’s flagship company, Alibaba connects small and medium size enterprises (SME) both within China and around the world. Wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers buy and sell goods, services and information to each other through the service. In his speech Jack Ma emphasized that the thing he is most proud of is the way that that Alibaba has helped millions of SMEs around the world to succeed. Alibaba has done this by providing SME’s a platform through which they are able to find customers and suppliers that they would otherwise never have been able to reach. The Alibaba group has had a major impact on the Chinese economy by facilitating over a trillion yuan in transactions in 2012. E-commerce platforms like Alibaba are incredibly valuable for SMEs because they offer an affordable way to reach a huge range of customers and suppliers. The influence of e-commerce is limited only by the expansion of internet infrastructure, and as internet penetration increases both within China and the developing world, e-commerce will grow along with it. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2020, China’s e-commerce market will be between $420 -600 million US dollars, the largest in the world. E-commerce is also playing a big role in the global economy, with total sales in 2012 totalling over $13.75 trillion US dollars.
The forms of E-commerce that are most relevant to SMEs can be broken down in two key types of business transactions: Business to Business (B2B), and Business to Customer (B2C) transactions. Other types of e-commerce such as Business to Government (B2G) transactions offer much smaller opportunities for SMEs. B2B transactions make up the largest share of global e-commerce, occupying approximately 90% of total sales. B2B e-commerce includes the exchange of goods, services or information between two businesses, for example between a manufacturer and a wholesaler. Popular existing examples of B2B e-commerce platforms are the aforementioned Alibaba group, as well as Quill and Grainger. B2C transactions involve the selling of products to customers through the use of websites with the use of shopping cart software. Websites such as Amazon or Tmall are among the most popular, but B2C e-commerce also includes any retailer website where products or services can be purchased directly by the public.
SMEs that can tap into these types of e-commerce transactions will be able to affordably expand both their customer base through B2C transactions and their supply network through B2B transactions. Due to its large size and developed online channels, B2B e-commerce offers many benefits for any SME. B2B e-commerce can aid SMEs when they are looking for new suppliers or customers. E-commerce services are an excellent resource for researching potential business partners. E-commerce services are now providing reliable information on the backgrounds, credibility and financial solvency of potential partners through partner review mechanisms and other feedback metrics. For many SMEs independently gathering much of this information can be both costly and time consuming. B2B e-commerce services are a streamlined way of locating new business partners as well as gaining information on potential relationships.
For retailers B2C e-commerce offers great way to expand customer base. Depending on the industry of the SME, B2C e-commerce can offer significant sales boosts for low costs. E-commerce programs are inexpensive for SMEs to implement because they do not require the SME to make major capital investments and are easy to maintain. The low cost of e-commerce also allows for high profit margins. The speed with which e-commerce transaction take place can allow for better customer service. The internet gives customers 24/7 access to the firm’s website making it easier and faster for the customer to make purchases. By providing more effective and efficient service, customer satisfaction can be improved at a minimal cost to the SMEs bottom line.
There are several issues that any SME needs to consider in developing its e-commerce presence. The first being security concerns for customers and the firm itself. Malware and malicious online attacks are a threat that can create losses for the firm in addition to hurting customer satisfaction. Inadequate infrastructure is another obstacle for many firms in developing countries. A firm needs to have employees with the skill set necessary to develop an E-commerce initiative, in certain developing marketplaces finding individuals with the requisite skills can be difficult and costly. By taking these concerns into account, many benefits of e-commerce can be harnessed. Smart SMEs that take advantage of the growth potential of e-commerce will be among the most successful firms in the coming years, as e-commerce becomes a place where more and more business is done.

Writer: Josh Wittingham, Hopkins Nanjing Center Certificate ’13


作者:Josh Wittingham
2014年01月13号

中小企业的电子商务机遇

阿里巴巴创始人兼董事会主席马云在他退休后的讲话中表示:回首他的职业生涯,他与几个朋友于90年代末创建的公司(阿里巴巴)已经和中国一道取得了巨大成就。阿里巴巴集团是中国最大的电子商务集团,拥有广受欢迎的网站和服务,如淘宝,支付宝和天猫商城。集团的旗舰公司阿里巴巴在中国和世界各地将中小规模企业连接起来。批发商,制造商和零售商通过该服务互相买卖商品、服务和信息。马云在讲话中强调,他最为自豪的是阿里巴巴已经帮助数百万世界各地的中小企业取得成功。阿里巴巴为中小企业提供一个平台,让他们能够找到通过其他途径无法找到的客户和供应商。2012年,阿里巴巴集团为超过1万亿人民币的交易提供便利,它对中国经济产生重大影响。对中小企业而言,阿里巴巴这样的电子商务平台价值非凡,通过它中小企业以低廉的成本接触到大范围的客户和供应商。电子商务的影响仅仅受到网络基础设施的限制,随着互联网在中国和其他发展中国家的普及,电子商务将与互联网一起成长。麦肯锡全球研究所预计:到2020年,中国的电子商务市场将会达到4-6.6亿美元,成为世界上最大电子商务市场。电子商务在全球经济中也发挥着巨大作用, 2012年电子商务销售总额超过13.75万亿美元。

与中小企业密切相关的电子商务形式有两种交易形式:企业对企业(B2B)和企业对客户(B2C),其他形式如电子商务企业对政府(B2G)为中小企业提供的机会要少得多。 B2B交易的份额最大,大约占全球电子商务交易总额的90%。B2B电子商务包括两个企业之间的产品、服务和信息交换,例如制造商和批发商之间的交换。现有的热门B2B电子商务平台包括上述的阿里巴巴集团,导盲犬小Q和格兰杰。B2C交易使用网站购物车软件售卖产品,时下最流行的网站包括亚马逊和天猫商城等。B2C电子商务还包括可以由公众直接购买产品和服务的任何零售商网站。

可以打入这些电子商务交易的中小企业将能够通过B2C以低成本扩展客户群,通过B2B扩大供应网络。由于其庞大规模和网上渠道,B2B电子商务为中小型企业提供多种便利。B2B电子商务可以帮助中小企业,寻找新的供应商和客户。电子商务是一项优质资源,它可被用来研究潜在的业务合作伙伴。通过合作伙伴审查机制和其他反馈指标提供的可靠信息,电子商务现在能够提供潜在合作伙伴的背景,信誉和财政偿付能力。对于许多独立收集大量信息的中小企业而言,这些工作昂贵而又费时。B2B电子商务是寻找新合作伙伴和收集潜在合作伙伴信息的最新方法。

对于零售商而言,B2C电子商务为扩大客户基础提供了极好的路径。根据中小企业的行业特点,B2C电子商务可以以低成本显著提高销量。中小企业实施电子商务成本较低,因为电子商务不要求中小企业做出重大资本投资且易于维护。同时,低成本的电子商务也拥有高额利润。电子商务交易的速度确保了更好的客户服务。互联网让客户可以全天候访问该公司网站,交易变得更加快速和便捷。通过提供更加有效和高效的服务,电子商务可以以最低的成本提高客户满意度。

在发展电子商务的过程中有几个问题中小企业需要考虑。第一个是客户和企业自身的安全问题,恶意软件和网络攻击是一种威胁,它们损害客户满意度并且使公司陷入亏损的境地。对许多发展中国家的公司而言,基础设施建设不足是另一个障碍。公司需要有技能的员工参与发展电子商务计划,而在某些发展中国家,寻找具备必要的技能的员工不仅困难,成本也很高。考虑到这些问题,电子商务会的诸多益处将被驾驭。随着电子商务与企业经营结合愈来愈紧密,在未来几年内,能够利用电子商务的发展潜力的中小企业将成为最成功的企业。

作者:Josh Wittingham,中美中心国证书班2013

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