The Internet has without doubt transformed the shape and form of business enterprise. A current example of this is the liquidation of Borders Bookstores. In a matter of months, or weeks in some places, Borders will be no more--it will become a name of legend only, a relic of the mega-bookstore Golden Era. One of the factors driving Borders to extinction is the burgeoning growth of Internet-based book sellers of both new and used books. Price is one of the competing points that drives the competition between stores and e-stores but convenience is another: some shoppers find it so much simpler and more convenient to have books delivered at their doorstep. This is but one example of how the Internet has changed the shape and form of business but there are others, for example, Internet businesses like eNotes that offer important goods and services exclusively online have come into being expanding opportunities and adding to the changing shapes and forms of business.
Oh, I simply MUST mention a company that has contributed to the differences mentioned here: Ebay! Specifically, there are specialty items put on Ebay that one could NEVER find in YEARS of searching the stores. Most recently, I was looking for a "kitty cat towel" for my oldest and a "bunny towel" for my youngest. Found it on Ebay. I could have searched stores for MONTHS not finding that! I am a BIG fan of the site for the simple reason of the specialty gifts that I can find for discounted prices on Ebay.
I also have to mention a similar love for the Craigslist website. Large, "unshipable" items that I would unable to buy or sell on Ebay, ... I can buy and sell via Craigslist. True, often real specialty items can't be found here, ... but if you are looking for a Step 2 Up-And-Down Roller Coaster for your two-year-old or want to sell your used banisters from your old house, this is the site for you (and me)!
Thank God for the internet transformation of business that you speak of!
Absolutely! As an editor on this site, I now supplement my regular income on a daily basis during my free hours. How could eNotes have existed (at least in its present form) before the Internet? I also sell items on eBay regularly--another form of business that could not function without the 'Net. A previous post mentioned book sales; the sale of books via online sources now far outperforms the old fashioned book stores of just a decade or two before. Many businesses supplement their base operations with Internet sales and advertising, and I'm sure the Internet sales market will only continue to grow in the future.
Even businesses that do not sell to consumers via the internet (unlike the book stores mentioned above) have been affected by the internet. I would argue that the internet has contributed to the rise of offshoring. Businesses now, more than ever, have to be extremely cost-conscious, even to the point of finding new ways to outsource parts of their operations. '
Is this a transformation? Businesses have always had to be somewhat cost-conscious in all free market economies. But the internet has increased these need to such an extent that we might call it a transformation.
I will answer this from a literary perspective. I am sure others will have more ways the internet has transformed business.
For the last five or so years, bookstores have undergone what will probably be a permanent change. So many books are bought online now, primarily due to the overwhelming presence of Amazon.com online that many brick-and-mortar stores have permanently shut their doors. It affected the neighborhood bookstores first, (who were already mightly suffering under the shadow of huge mega-chain stores like Barnes and Noble) but online sales have also impacted big name traditional stores. Borders, the second-largest retail chain, filed for bankruptcy in 2011 due, in part, to the bite Amazon.com has taken out of their sales. They will be closing some 275 stores. Read more from Bloomberg news here.
While Borders may have been hit hardest, all booksales have been affected. For the first time, ebooks have outsold print books. eBook sales, of course, would not be possible without the Internet. Read more about this development here, from the New York Times.