The International Nature of Electronic Commerce Any business that engages in electronic commerce instantly becomes an international business. When companies use the Web to create a corporate image, or build a community, they are automatically operating in a global environment.
The International Nature of Electronic Commerce Businesses engaging in electronic commerce must be aware of the differences in language and customs that make up the culture of any region in which they do business. The barriers to international electronic commerce include language, culture, and infrastructure issues.
Language Issues Researchers have found that Customers are more likely to buy products and services from Web sites in their own language http://www.bol.com Localization Translation that considers multiple elements of local environment About 70% of the content available on the Internet today is in English. More than 50% of current Internet users do not read English. The most-used non-English languages for U.S. companies are Spanish, German, Japanese, French, and Chinese.
Language Issues Global Reach offers Web site globalization services and maintains current information about languages on the Web. One approach is to have a Web server that can detect the default language setting of the browser and automatically redirect the browser to the set of Web pages created in that language. Another approach is to include links to multiple language versions on the home page. Yahoo China from Yahoo Home Firms that provide Web page translation services include Alis Technologies, Berlitz, Rubric, Ltd., ScanSoft, Transparent Language, and Worldpoint Interactive. Idiom Technologies sells software that automates the process of maintaining Web pages in multiple language versions.
Cultural Issues Important element of business trust Anticipate how the other party to a transaction will act in specific circumstances Culture Varies across national boundaries Varies across regions within nations The combination of language and customs is often called culture. Some errors stemming from subtle language and cultural standards are culture issues. Entre
Cultural Issues On the Web, designers must be very careful when choosing icons that represent common actions. Even colors or Web page design elements can be troublesome. A site that strongly reflects a cultural design preference is the Bol.com, which is an online bookstore for several different countries. Softbank has devised a way to introduce electronic commerce to a reluctant Japanese population. Nike realized that it had to create special Web pages for foreign customers. One such site is the Nike Football site. Some parts of the world have cultural environments that are extremely inhospitable to electronic commerce initiatives. The People’s Republic of China and Singapore are wrestling with the issues presented by the growth of the Internet as a vehicle for doing business.
Infrastructure Issues Internet infrastructure includes Computers and software connected to Internet IBM Tools Communications networks over which message packets travel Regulations in some countries have inhibited the development of the telecommunications infrastructure or limited the expansion of that infrastructure. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Statements on Information and Communications Policy Deal with telecommunications infrastructure development issues Flat-rate access system Consumer or business pays one monthly fee for unlimited telephone line usage – no available in many countries. Contributed to rapid rise of U.S. electronic commerce Targets for technological solutions Paperwork and processes that accompany international transactions
Web Resources Globalizing your web site: http://www.onlinewbc.gov/docs/market/InternationalBusiness.html http://www.godfrey.com/idea_base/global.asp http://www-306.ibm.com/software/globalization/rss/index.jsp http://www.zeromillion.com/business/ib/globalize-website.html Avoid culture clashes when going global: http://www.entrecs.com/org23.asp?orgid=23&storyTypeID=&sitelang=1&sid=& Language Issues: http://www.schreibernet.com/sti/basics/globalizing-your-website-part1.htm Infrastructure Issues: http://www-306.ibm.com/software/globalization/lotus/overview.jsp