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Ecommerce: Tool

Electronic commerce is changing the way companies around the world business by making easier and cheaper for them to buy and sell to each other. Before the internet tracking down a product to import or finding foreign customer to export to were daunting challenges for the typical small and medium-sized enterprise (SME). Often these companies had to rely on the occasional trade shows, followed by expensive and time consuming travels to foreign lands to identify possible products.

Consequently, international trade was largely limited to those companies who cold afford to attend expensive trade shows, publish costly brochures, travel internationally, and hire agents and export trading companies.

Now the internet provides a cost-effective way for SMEs, even those on a shoestring budget, to jump these hurdles. Indeed, the internet has opened up a new era of business opportunities.

The US small business administration estimates that the number of small businesses exporting goods or services tripled from 1994 through 2004. Many companies are taking advantage of online technologies and starting or expanding their international trade. They rely on the internet as their primary channel for getting information, sourcing products or services, finding suppliers and marketing their products, and tapping into new markets.

Increasingly, as more firms throughout the world access the internet, many entrepreneurs and trading companies use this technology as their primary means to develop their import and export business.

Recently, the emergence of country – specific portals and web exchanges has accelerated this process, as eBay has done for consumer-to-consumer e-commerce, several sites have created online bazaars for international traders. Where exporters can lay out their wares and haggle with potential buyers from the far corners of the world. For instance potential importers looking for products from Korea can access...