Stephen Settles

According to the Census Bureau’s most recent report from 4th Qtr. 2009, total retail sales equaled $942.4billion with total e-commerce sales of $35.9 billion, representing 3.8 percent of total sales (U.S. Census, 2010). While online travel agencies, financial brokers and dealers, and ticket agencies are not included in this survey (2010), the trend since 2001 indicates a steady increase in e-commerce transactions.

Laudon and Laudon (2007) suggested that ‘the world’ accurately describes the marketing share of e-commerce activities, opening an altogether new kind of storefront represented by a new business model consisting of:

•Virtual storefronts•Information brokers•Transaction brokers•Online marketplaces•Content providers•Online service providers•Virtual communities, and•Portals (2007)

A few of the challenges facing e-commerce involve Web supportive system architectures that facilitate virtual store fronts, payment options and processing, secure shopping environments, and JIT shipping and delivery modes. In addition, due to the global nature of customers around the world, business must address not only U.S. domestic local, state, and federal laws and regulations, but may be bound by international laws or country specific legal codes such as tax liabilities. Other considerations may relate to honesty and integrity issues that may vary accordingly (2007), and stakeholder and investor priorities that must be balanced with brick-and-mortar services.

Consequently, preparing future managers for virtual marketplaces should include training and familiarity of information system technology, networking concepts, virtual marketing opportunities, procurement services, shipping and distribution channels, international law and ethics, consumer protection, and online security (2009).

Baltzan, P., & Phillips, A. (2009). Essentials of business driven information systems. Boston: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Haag, S., & Cummings, M. (2008). Management information systems for the information age. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
U.S. Census Bureau. (2010, 16 February). Monthly & Annual Retail Trade. Retrieved 06 May, 2010, from http://www.census.gov/retail/.