The Role of SMEs in Promoting Electronic Commerce in Communities

The Role of SMEs in Promoting Electronic Commerce in Communities

Celia Romm (Central Queensland University, Australia) and Wal Taylor (Central Queensland University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-930708-35-8.ch012


The primary emphasis of much of the literature on electronic commerce (EC) is on its global nature. The literature is replete with examples of companies that, over a relatively short period of time, made a successful transition from a local, small business, to a global enterprise, with customers and suppliers based all over the world. The literature in EC, both in the popular media and the learned journals, attributes this phenomenon to the fact that with access to the Internet, many businesses can sell globally without having to make an investment in “bricks and mortar.” The rhetoric that EC is free from constraints of geography is, however, contradicted by a growing evidence that, particularly for small and medium enterprises (defined in this chapter as “organizations with less than 500 employees”), business on the Internet is not necessarily as profitable and risk free as it is supposed to be. Establishing an EC “shop-front” may be a relatively painless exercise, but having prospective customers notice that shop-front, having them actually transact with the virtual business, and setting the business so that it successfully copes with the demands of a virtual customer base are all challenges that most small and medium enterprises (SMEs) find difficult to meet.

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