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E-commerce means conducting business online. Selling goods, in the traditional sense, is possible to do electronically because of certain software programs that run the main functions of an e-commerce Web site, including product display, online ordering, and inventory management. The software resides on a commerce server and works in conjunction with online payment systems to process payments. Since these servers and data lines make up the backbone of the Internet, in a broad sense, e-commerce means doing business over interconnected networks.
Here are a few examples of e-commerce:
accepting credit cards for commercial online sales
generating online advertising revenue
trading stock in an online brokerage account
driving information through a company via its intranet
driving manufacturing and distribution through a value chain with partners on an extranet selling to consumers on a pay-per-download basis, through a Web site Globalization of production and increasing competition spurs greater business use of innovative information systems. As globalization extends its reach over cities and regions, the positions of those places within the emerging global paradigms of regional economies is changing. Only those regions and cities that can mobilize assets for local advantage would succeed.
E-commerce is a burning issue of today because the global business is moving towards a virtual business world. Everything is done here virtually. The transaction is done within seconds not being present physically. People now want hassle-free shopping. They are indifferent to go to the market for purchasing the goods or taking the services. All they want one stop service. All these things can be done only with the help of e-commerce. So, the scope for the implementation of e-commerce is ever on the increase in Bangladesh.
The main objective of preparing this paper is to identify the feasibility of the implementation of e-commerce in Bangladesh and the challenges behind it.
The feasibility analysis of the implementation of e-commerce in Bangladesh is a matter of detailed anatomy. If we want the actual scenario regarding the issue, at first, we will have to go for the analysis of both of the sides- arguments for and arguments against in detail. Here, we would like to make a comparative explanation of the feasibility to implement e-commerce in Bangladesh.
There are several arguments for the feasibility of the implementation of e-commerce in Bangladesh. These are mentioned below:
E-commerce is the process of buying and selling of goods or services over the internet. If any organization can once portrait the e-commerce based website then it has to spend the maintenance cost only. So, it can be feasible to implement e-commerce in Bangladesh.
Today some institutions are promoting e-commerce in Bangladesh. There are some private or public institutions providing the website development courses and some of these institutions are promoting the e-commerce based website with special importance. So, it can be possible to implement e-commerce in Bangladesh.
E-commerce needs a special infra-structure to be implemented or practiced. As we are moving towards the global market sharing it can be possible to implement e-commerce if we restructure or modify our existing organizational structure.
There is enough potentiality for our m-commerce sector to be developed. Especially, 3rd Generation network is coming within this November. So, if we can ensure the handsets with specification of GSM 2000+ Bandwidth then we can definitely think of the feasibility of e-commerce in Bangladesh as well.
Reducing digital divide gap:
The mass people are currently experiencing an acute digital divide gap. If we can ensure the digital Bangladesh through reducing this gap we can definitely plan for the implementation of e-commerce in our country.
As the e-commerce involves internet marketing, the physical marketing cost is reduced considerably. So, the seller can provide the goods and services at a minimum price. So, the feasibility of implementing the e-commerce practice in Bangladesh is quite feasible.
Comprehensive education system:
The education system in our country is on a changing trend now the time being. Both the public and private universities are now enlisting the course related to the e-commerce sector. So, after some days we can implement e-commerce in Bangladesh as well.
Though we have crisis in the transport sector, the sector is highly a potential one. The present govt. of Bangladesh is planning for some projects for the development of transport sector. If it happens, the physical delivery of the goods and services will become easier according to the prior order via internet. So, in that sense, the implementation of e-commerce can be considered feasible in Bangladesh.
Increasing market place:
The participation of the mass people in the modern amenities is gradually increasing. As a result, the market place for the e-commerce based organization is ever on the increase. In the circumstances, the implementation of e-commerce is quite feasible.
Easier transaction process:
The people always want simplified lifestyle. E-commerce can make it happen. So, the implementation of e-commerce will be encouraged by most of the
people. In that sense, the implication of e-commerce in Bangladesh will be encouraged.
Modern payment systems:
In day to day life we come across some modern payment systems like different types of cards. It is a positive sign for the implementation of e-commerce in Bangladesh. So, this is high time we planned for e-commerce implementation.
Less complexity of cyber law:
The cyber law involves comparatively less complexity in Bangladesh. So, there is respectively less implications regarding law provisions to implement e-commerce in Bangladesh.
In present times, it is observed that the percentage of the new initiators is ever on the increase. As the e-commerce implementation needs high initiatives, it is feasible to implement the e-commerce in Bangladesh.
Increasing number of users:
The number of internet user is increasing day by day. So, there is enough scope for the implementation of e-commerce in Bangladesh.
There are several arguments against the feasibility of the implementation of e-commerce in Bangladesh. These are mentioned below:
The implementation of e-commerce is cost oriented to some extent. The e-commerce demands for the high involvement of technological infra-structure. If an organization wants to implement e-commerce in the operational fields, it has to develop or modify the overall infra-structure having an alignment with technological use. In the context of Bangladesh the implementation of e-commerce is almost next to impossible as the organizations are not financially that much solvent.
Lack of technical know-how:
The e-commerce involves a high volume of technological use in the operational fields. The maintenance of the e-commerce systems is also the matter of high technological know-how oriented personnel involvement. But there is an unavailability of such personnel supply in Bangladesh. As it is not still a part of our traditional educational system, it will take a long time to fetch such intellectual personnel.
If we try to implement the e-commerce in the every sphere of our day to day life, at first, we will have to develop the overall infra-structure of the country, ensure the education in the fullest sense. Other than the implementation of the e-commerce is not possible in Bangladesh.
Lack of trust:
In case of e-commerce, the payment of the goods is paid through credit card number or bank account number at first. Then the seller ensures the delivery of the goods or services to the buyer. But as per the context of Bangladesh, the buyer can hardly have the full faith on such types of advance payment system. So, this is also a constraint for e-commerce implementation in Bangladesh.
The e-commerce depends on the communication process to some extent. But the communication system of Bangladesh is not that much advanced as the infrastructure of the communication system is poorly furnished. If a buyer purchases the products and waits for the physical delivery of that product it is influenced by the communication system. So, before implementing the e-commerce in Bangladesh, at first, we will have to concentrate on the development of the communication system.
Digital divide gap:
Bangladesh is a developing country. In this country the mass people have little access to the technological instruments rather than the poverty
stricken problems. Some people here are using the modern amenities. But the majority can not have the minimum requirements. As a result, the physical divide is ever on the rise.
Traditional education system:
Our education system is still traditional. Here the aspects of e-commerce are hardly encouraged. The students of our country can barely research on it. So, the expansion or implementation of e-commerce seems to be impractical.
Insufficient transport facilities:
E-commerce commerce involves the physical transport while ensuring the physical delivery of the product. The transport facility in our country is still traditional and underdeveloped to some extent. So, we can not think of the implementation of e-commerce in our country to the date.
Digital goods vs. Physical goods:
E-commerce is feasible for the buying and selling of digital goods only. The features of the digital goods can be displayed in the e-commerce based websites. There is less option to test the physical goods before purchasing but in case of physical goods and the perishable goods, there is lots of scope for mismatch of the real goods and the goods displayed in the websites. So, the implementation of the e-commerce in our country totally depends on the trust of our people.
The implementation of e-commerce is encouraged in the aspect of Bangladesh but the govt. will be the ultimate repentant of the issue because the process of buying and selling of goods via internet involves lots of scope for tax escape. If e-commerce is implemented in Bangladesh the law regarding the issue is to be introduced first which is not possible over night. The govt. sector needs also to involve those personnel who have that much technical know-how to minimize the escapes.
Limited market place:
There is a very few people who have the access to the modern technologies and amenities. They can hardly use internet frequently. Most of the people, here, can rarely use internet and e-commerce based websites. So, the e-commerce sector has limited market place. If e-commerce is implemented in Bangladesh, the limitations will be much more than the competitive advantages.
Delivery after confirmation of payment:
E-commerce emphasizes on the paid delivery. But in Bangladesh we people are not accustomed to this system. We want the products or goods to be delivered before the payment and the settlement. As a result, the psychology of our people does not support e-commerce system to some extent. We know the tradition of a nation cannot easily be transformed overnight. So, it is not feasible to implement e-commerce in a third world country like Bangladesh.
Traditional payment systems:
The payment system in our country is still traditional. The use of debit card or credit card or visa card is still relatively low. In fact, most of the people do not even understand the functionality of these payment methods. In this situation, the implementation of e-commerce is not only impractical but also making a castle in the air.
E-commerce is dependent on m-commerce to some extent. We cannot think of e-commerce without efficient m-commerce. But m-commerce is still not that much developed in our country. If we try to implement e-commerce in Bangladesh, at first, we will have to go for large screen mobile based m-commerce. Large screen based m-commerce can support e-commerce as the e-commerce based websites are of high resolution. But most of us cannot afford such type of large screen mobile like I-phone of Apple or HTC costing approximately 40000 taka. So, it is not feasible to think of implementing e-commerce in Bangladeshi perspective.
Limited implementation of cyber law:
In Bangladesh, there are law regarding the cyber crime but it is not sufficient to protect the cyber crime. Even, the provisions present, are not thoroughly enforced. But the e-commerce system involves virtual transactions in various phases. These transactions involve high hacking risks as well. If we think about the implementation of e-commerce before introducing the proper provisions and without enforcing those provisions, it will not be that much fruitful. The parties associated with it will be in monetary risks and most of them will not get encouraged to go for e-commerce.
Lack of entrepreneurship:
As the e-commerce practices is of very recent times, the sector demands for new entrepreneurship. But there is no such encouraging institution in Bangladesh that can lead the new generation or new entrepreneurship to take initiative to march on this sector.
Limited number of users:
The e-commerce depends mostly on the proactive interaction of the buyer and the seller of the goods or services over the internet. But the number of internet user is still relatively low in our country. So, there is a question mark to the feasibility of implementing e-commerce in Bangladesh.
The government can initiate pilot projects and programs for capability-building, training and e-commerce support services, such as Web design. In general, government initiatives should be in line with current efforts in the foregoing areas of concern. Coordination with development cooperation agencies is important to avoid any duplication of initiatives and efforts. But there are several reasons that can challenge the feasibility of the e-commerce implementation in Bangladesh. The challenges would really be hard nut to crack.