Let’s rename e-commerce

Written by on May 16, 2012 in BillingViews, Opinion with 0 Comments

Here is a quick question: what does the ‘e’ stand for? If you immediately said ‘electronic’ a) well done, and b) how old are you? If you took a couple seconds and your mind went, ‘er, – electric, no, – election, no, stupid, um, – electronic, a) not so well done and b) how old are you? If you said easy commerce, stop reading.

Ecommerce, or e-commerce, is part of our lives. It has been for many years now.

It occurs to me that the ‘electronic’ is now too engrained – and implied – and should be forgotten or replaced.

It also occurs to me that that we are now seeing a convergence of the real and the virtual. You pay online for something that you are standing in front of in a bricks and mortar store, having searched nearby and online stores whilst there. People are beginning to seriously talk about machines that will sense and make sense of their surroundings – cars spring to mind – as well as drones and droids (the robot kind).

Imagine QR codes that have flags.

As you walk, cycle, run, drive past a QR code that says ‘doughnut anyone?’ your device waves at it and says ‘my guy is not into doughnuts,’ – even if you are but your machine has hijacked your diet. You then walk, cycle, run, drive past another QR code that says ‘bicycle spare parts anyone, coupon available’ and your device says, ‘oh, cool, a new front tyre has been on his mind,’ and the QR code replies ‘want to drop in, or shall I send you a link?’ And your device says ‘link, please, in a hurry, we are late for a meeting, thanks and have a wonderful day,’ taking a nano-second to receive the link, store it, index it, forward it to the in-tray, make coffee, have a conversation with the QR code, wash its hands…

And later back at base camp, your guy, sorry you, are sitting on the sofa and a widgetty app thing pops up with the tyre problem answered and you say, ‘Ah,’ and then ‘thanks,’ and with a click it is done and the next day a tyre arrives (OK, I wandered into the realms of science fiction with the ‘next day’ thing, but you get the point). And as you relax in front of some screen or other your device whispers ‘you’re welcome’ and sighs a smug sigh. A little later (just to show where this is going) you pick up the remote to do a little shopping.

My point is this: commerce has been electronic since before the days of the internet. If we are going to keep the ‘e’ let us at least give it a real (cool and customer facing) significance – and a point.

May I propose a new term, ‘Easy Commerce’ – e-commerce for short.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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