In order to contemplate
e-commerce, a business must first have a basic level of connectivity and experience of ICT
usage. The general purpose progress path described here may help you plan the way you
introduce and develop ICT in your business. InfoShop's design services and equipment
supplies will help you build that infrastructure on which your future e-commerce will
The DTI in the UK has created a six step model termed the
'adoption ladder' in order to measure1 the progress towards
e-commerce of UK companies against companies world-wide. The sixth step is that of
integrating the previous five steps and is not shown in the figure below.
Step 1: Messaging
By messaging we mean email. This is used to send text messages and very often files
such as documents, pictures or audio clips internally within a business and between the
business and its customers and suppliers. E-commerce focuses on the use of email between
the company, its customers and suppliers.
Step 2: Online Marketing
The establishment of a publicly accessible website or email list by a business for
the purpose of publishing information about its products and services. The website can be
used to publish all sorts of marketing information such as data sheets, flyers, prices,
stock levels etc.
Step 3: Online Ordering
The order transaction process being done electronically, either between a company
and it's customers, its suppliers or both.
Step 4: Online Payment
A payment transaction can be split into two online processes, issuing and receiving
an invoice and issuing payment through the use of credit/debit cards, electronic cash /
funds transfer, or an EDI service.
Step 5: Order Progress /
Online sales support
The use of e-commerce to support the relationship between a customer and supplier,
for example online order tracking, post sales support etc.
Step 6: e-Business
The integration of steps 1-5, which by definition means that the business has
integrated ICT into its fundamental operations.