What is E-Commerce?
E-commerce is business over the internet and using the internet technologies which facilitates them to accomplish an organizations focus and objectives (Chaffey, 2004, p.46 – 53). As internet technologies are exploited to its entirety by the businesses providing products and services to consumers and customers, auctioneering turns out to be an everyday issue. Hundreds to thousands of people are taking part in the auctions which are arranged by the businesses over the internet for goods ranging from furniture to DVD’s.
An internet strategy is urbanized to envelope all of their present problems and enhance good customer and supplier relations. Creating an internet website would make the company stand accessible anytime-anywhere. In doing so the security factors regarding data and transactions must be taken care.
Benefits of Internet:
The e-commerce system would be smart enough to market its presence and business over the internet to cater a large domain of buyers. It will be able to spread the business over a large domain of customers which may range from home users to bulk purchasers.
The awareness of the company stands very important so that people get a chance to compare it with the competitors. It gives the customer a lot of importance relating to the multiple services it caters. The customer information can be stored and managed well so that they are focused when catering repeat orders and services. The data will also serve as rich information to the degree of importance which a customer must receive.
Diversifications into other businesses are very important for business continuity and should be taken care really well to fetch more customers and provide them better and allied services for retention and indirect marketing.
Most importantly the services can be rendered to a large variety of customers across a geographical region with B2B and B2C models.
The total sales and profit can be easily captured and produced to management with ease reducing a lot of manual operations.
The comparison of various products can be made so that the customer gets an insight of the difference in the product features to make a better decision. The visibility is improved which means more people get to know about it and often want to try it out for a change. The supply chain management is better rendered through e-business. People can access the online store at their convenience and make payment through the various online methods of payment.
Technologies for doing business online:
On the web technology side, Active Server pages (ASP) can be used for the web pages to exchange information and get the job done. At the server end there is more than one web servers to cater to the business functions namely display of products, promotions on them and their prices, managing the shopping cart, payment system, registration and delivery system, shipment, tracking back of order and many more. It may use RSS to announce their offers and promotions to web based blogs and news.
On the e-commerce side, it can use VeriSign services for protecting data and information exchanged between the sites. It uses a 128-bit SSL certificate to get the job done. The e-commerce transactions can be well protected using the SSL technology (Rayport, 2002). It is very secure for all business deals and offers greater protection for business financial information.
Legal and ethical issues are vital to online success. Building trust and user confidence is essential to our client, respecting consumer privacy and adhering to data protection legislation. “Consumers are extremely concerned about security and privacy on the Internet” (Trepper, 2000, p.138-140, p. 153)
The online store is designed to give options concerning the privacy of ones credit card information, name, address, e-mail, and any other information provided. The business is committed to keeping the information collected over the site secure. It offers the industry standard security measures available through the browser called SSL encryption. If at any time a customer would like to make a purchase, but do not want to provide credit card information online, an order can be placed without credit card information and a representative will contact them.
“It must take customer fears about security seriously” (Chaffey, 2004, p.46 – 53) we strongly recommend the competitor to emulate security policies to provide customer reassurance.
Website for review:
The website for review would be Optus, which is an e-commerce website in Australia. The following are the various features of the website:
Visibility of system status: The various statuses of the system like user location in the website using breadcrumbs (see appendix 1).
Matching between system and real world: It uses words like “want to change this plan” and “Your cart is currently empty” which depicts real life scenario. It has been proven this technology will tap into users pre-existing habits, which are to purchase more in a location they are comfortable.
User control and freedom: The YesOptus logo offers users an option to return to the homepage. Breadcrumbs or the back button will provide an option to return in their path.
Consistency and standards: Hyperlinks are consistently displayed to the left of the screen and layout complies with standard HTML conventions. Hyperlinks follow standard HTML conventions; they are blue and underlined providing clarity to the user. Links are self-describing and adhere to the heuristic guideline speak the users language.
Recognition rather than recall: The search facility is designed for making searches within the website (see appendix 2)
Flexibility and efficiency of use: The site’s loading speed is good and graphics used are favorable.
Aesthetic and minimalist design: Information is kept relevant to users needs. Optus further avoids chunking information which will prevent good usability.
Help users recognize, diagnose and recover from errors: Tesco use plain language “Suggestions?” to simplify an error made by the user and offer a suggested solution to them (see appendix 3).
Help and documentation: As mentioned Optus provides a help section and an animated demo which is available to all users as frequently as they require it. The site map feature makes sure that all the various features of the sites are locatable. The name “help pages” make sure that all the FAQs are found there.
The site is usable and user friendly, it adheres to the standard specimens with strong engineering principals.
Optus has dared to dream big at the age where technology is evolving newer dimensions to efficiently capture business functions and manage the flow of information to enhance customer base in creating a virtual market place to cater to a large section of customers.
Technologies can envelope almost all but efficient management of such systems needs to be done on periodic basis taking into consideration the feedbacks from the customers. Security factors must be taken care so that appropriate action can be taken and its working ability would be more secure and feasible in the face of online threats.
Chaffey, D. (2004) E-Business and E-Commerce Management, 2nd Edition, Prentice Hall, Pearson Education Limited, p.46 – 53.
Ghosh, AK (2001). Software security and privacy risks.
Optus.com.au (2008). Available from: <http://www.optus.com.au/home/index.html> [Accessed 9 April 2008].
Rayport (2003). E Commerce, TMH.
Trepper, C. (2000) E-Commerce Strategies, Mapping your organizations success in today’s competitive marketplace, Microsoft Press, p.138-140, 153.
Figure 1: Use of Breadcrumbs
Figure 2: Search results
Figure 3: Search