The Internet is a worldwide network of computers that can send data over long distances in short periods of time. The goal of business is to make profits, which requires efficiency and productivity. Companies can use the Internet to boost efficiency in many ways. Some companies have business models that are completely reliant upon the Internet.
Communication is one of the primary uses of the Internet in business. Email allows workers to communicate quickly with one another, business partners and clients. Unlike phone conversations, emails can contain hundreds of pages of documents and figures relevant to business communication. Using email to communicate data can save on the costs of printing and sending physical papers. Businesses can also conduct meetings over the Internet using video conferencing software, which can potentially save on the cost of business travel.
Advertising is another way businesses use the Internet. Web pages are essentially like billboards that are transmitted right into the homes of consumers. Companies pay websites for ad space where they can attempt to entice consumers to buy their products or visit their website. An advantage of web advertising over advertising in media like newspapers, magazines and television is that advertisements can contain web links that allow consumers to purchase goods within a minute or two of seeing the advertisement.
Many companies use the Internet to generate sales. Companies often have online sales systems that customers can use to browse products and place orders by entering credit card information. Online shopping is convenient for customers, since they can shop at any time from anywhere, without having to visit a specific retail location. Online shopping also allows customers to compare prices between different vendors quickly and easily.
Companies may also use the Internet to interact with customers. For instance, some companies have social media pages on sites like Facebook and Twitter, where they can post news and information to keep loyal customers informed about the company's activities. The Internet also allows companies to get feedback from customers via email submissions or web-based surveys. Companies can even use the Internet to recruit employees, either through an official website or by posting job openings on aggregate job sites such as Monster and CareerBuilder.