The ups and downs to e-commerce

Shannon Scott Williams
March 31nd, 2011
Unit 2: Discussion Board

            In the market world there are two different types, we have the traditional walk-in stores and the e-commerce stores; e-commerce being an online store.  Walk-in stores in the past were much smaller compared today due to the simple fact that if you buy more in bulk, your inventory will be cheaper, thus these stores today are very large in size (e.g. Wal-Mart).  Being in the information age today, e-commerce stores are becoming more popular compared to traditional walk-in stores.  Consumers shopping at e-commerce stores do not have to worry about the travel for walk-in stores.  In fact, what they desire can be just a few clicks away.  Also, in some cases e-commerce does not enforce sales taxes.  Particularly for the store owners, and possibly the most important reason why e-commerce is becoming more common is because developers have access to open-source applications, in other words meaning the applications are absolutely free and are able to be customizable however the owner choices.
            Open source e-commerce applications probably hurt the market world more than it helps it because of the simple fact of being free.  In this case, specifically subjecting towards the current economic recession around the world is taxes.  E-commerce businesses in the USA, for example, are by law, required to have a sales tax as long as the business is located somewhere within the USA and if “the value of goods and services sold online” (IRS.GOV, 2009).  There is a catch, due to anyone throughout the world may own their own online business, and consumers from one country purchasing a product from another country  are not obliged to pay taxes limited to the location of the seller.  For example, if I live in the USA, and want to buy some special socks from an online store located in Kenya, then “those transactions are left out of a VAT (Value Added Tax) bracket for both USA and Kenya” (Juma, 2010).  Now for consumers, that is a great thing because of lower prices; however for governments needing to meet their budgets, that is a bad thing.
            Another reason is that the competition level between each online business is way too high.  For example, is a major walk-in store as well as a well known e-commerce store.  Being that anyone may have access to open-source e-commerce application, they may duplicate a store quite similar to  Not limited to a business such as, given that open-source applications are fully customizable and FREE, the keyword there is important, the possibilities for any e-commerce business are near limitless.  For example, say I enjoy buying products from, but one day I come across a website called (not affiliated with the actual offering the same products as but cheaper.  Then the next day, I discover (not affiliated with actual which offers an even better deal than  Logically any consumer will favor the cheapest deal of the same product.  The scenario could continue on and on, and for that matter the competition level continually increases given that anyone can start an e-commerce business using open-source application.
            Ironically, I’ve come across some websites using open-source based applications, such as e107, WordPress, Blogger selling custom open-sourced e-commerce applications.  Moreover, open-source e-commerce applications can be found even in mobile technology today such as the Android Market or Apple Apps Store. 
            To consider what may happen in the future for open-source e-commerce to be open-sourced, I do not know.  But my best guess is that these applications will become the standard.  Technically, it already is due to the fact of how easy they are to obtain.  Unless you heavily funded and want a custom design e-commerce store, open-sourced is the way to go!  Though it may not be best for e-commerce businesses in general, but you can’t force the developers to not give away their work when they choose to do so.


            Electronic Business & Electronic Commerce. (2009). Retrieved from                        ,,id=209249,00.html

            Juma, V. (2010) Kenya: Online shopping keeps consumers out of revenue authority's reach. Retrieved from  

2 comments to "The ups and downs to e-commerce"

Post a Comment

More Economy information


About This Blog

This blog is my effort to try and share my knowledge and understanding of economics. If you stick around, you are guaranteed to learn something about analyzing the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

Popular Posts

Web hosting for webmasters