1. Background of the study

 The E-commerce is more than just electronics and commerce added together. It represents an entirely new way of doing business over a medium that changes the very rules of doing business. It is therefore, far more about strategy and business management than it is about technology (ILO, 1999). E-commerce and the internet, if correctly utilized for development, can be instruments for ensuring future sustainable economic growth through the promotion of retail businesses in Nigeria. Throughout the world, the profound impact of electronic commerce in the economics and societies of the globe will no doubt improve economic efficiency, competitiveness, and profitability (for those engaging in e-commerce) and, therefore result in the development of the information society. E-commerce and the new emerging digital technologies and services can be tools for development and help improve the livelihood of millions across the globe, by linking up remote regions and bringing together scientist, administrators development professionals, managers, and people into projects and programmes to promote economic and social development (Goldsmith & McGregor, 2000). The general category of e-commerce can be broken down into two parts which are E-merchandize and E-finance.

E-merchandiseis area that concerns the retail business and the focus of this study. E-merchandize involves selling goods and services electronically and moving items through distribution channels, for example through internet shopping for groceries, tickets, music, cloths, hardware, travel, book, flower or gifts.

Ahmed (2001) reported that the enormous flexibility of the internet has made possible what is popularly called e-commerce, which has made inroads in the traditional method of business management. All facets the business tradition with which we are accustomed in physical environment can be now executed over the internet including online advertising, online ordering, publishing, banking, investment, auction and professional services.

E-commerce involves conducting business using modern communication instrument: telephone, fax, e-payment, money transfer systems, e-data inter-change and the internet. E-commerce is not only a new technology and a new frontier for global business and trade, it is also still evolving. It is essential, therefore for Nigerians to understand in detail what is e-commerce, what are their challenges, and opportunities it holds, lastly what can be done to harness the benefits from e-commerce. All these are being focused upon in this study.