Electronic Commerce on the World Wide Web

A Case Study

By: Blake Ives and Sirkka Jarvenpaa

Advice for Instructors

Table of Contents


This is a short case study intended to introduce students to the world of electronic commerce as currently conducted on the World Wide Web (WWW) and the Internet. It does not focus on any particular firm, though it will be referenced by other cases. The case provides students who have access to Mosaic, or other Web browsers, with guided assistance in learning about the WWW's applicability to electronic commerce. Those without access to a browser will still gain a solid understanding of the possibilities. The case has three main sections. In the first, we look at an exciting new technological opportunity - the World Wide Web. Here we introduce the Internet, the Internet communications protocols (TCP/IP), the World Wide Web, and Web browsers such as Mosaic. In the second, we see how both small and large organizations are learning to harness this new opportunity to electronic commerce. The final section is intended to provide students with a high level understanding of how Web applications are constructed.

Discussion Questions

  1. What opportunities does the World Wide offer in reaching customers?
  2. What industries seem most likely to benefit first from those opportunities? Why?
  3. How will marketing on the World Wide Web differ from traditional marketing?
  4. Who will be the key players in supplying the technology for this emerging market?
  5. Who is most threatened by the World Wide Web opportunity?

Copyright, 1994 by Blake Ives and Sirkka Jarvenpaa. This document may be printed or downloaded to servers for use only by noncommercial educational institutions (or with the permission of the authors.) This notice must be retained.
Comments or corrections should be addressed to Blake Ives at bives@SUN.CIS.SMU.EDU.