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Ebusiness is a term used to describe businesses run on the Internet, or utilizing Internet technologies to improve the productivity or profitability of a business. In a more general sense, the term may be used to describe any form of electronic business —- that is to say, any business which utilizes a computer. This usage is somewhat archaic, however, and in most contexts this term refers exclusively to Internet businesses.
The most common implementation of ebusiness is as an additional, or in some cases primary, storefront. By selling products and services online, such a business is able to reach a much wider consumer base than any traditional brick-and-mortar store could ever hope for. This function is referred to as ecommerce, and the terms are occasionally used interchangeably.
An online business may also use the Internet to acquire wholesale products or supplies for in-house production. This facet is sometimes referred to as eprocurement, and may offer businesses the opportunity to cut their costs dramatically. Even many ebusinesses which operate without an electronic storefront now use eprocurement as a way to better track and manage their purchasing.
In addition to buying and selling products, ebusiness may also handle other traditional business aspects. The use of electronic chat as a form of technical and customer support is an excellent example of this. An online business which uses chat to supplement its traditional phone support finds a system which saves incredible amounts of time while providing opportunities unavailable through traditional support. By using virtual computer systems, for example, technical support operators can remotely access a customer's computer and assist them in correcting a problem. And with the download of a small program, all pertinent information about the hardware and software specifications for a user's computer may be relayed to the support operator directly, without having to walk a customer through personally collecting the data.
Using email and private websites as a method for dispensing internal memos and white sheets is another use of the Internet by ebusiness. Rather than producing time-intensive and costly physical copies for each employee, a central server or email list can serve as an efficient method for distributing necessary information.