The technology of E-commerce is a system which dominates the contemporary business models of the modern world. E-commerce, or electronic commerce, is the online deals business: the buying and selling different goods and services to and from different parts of the world, which is done over electronics systems understood as the World Wide Web and other such networks. Needless to say, E-commerce has changed the way that consumerism functions in the past few decades. As the means to its operation develops along with technology, the rapid growth of businesses that utilise websites and web-profiles for their advertising and sales is similarly imminent. E-commerce is an effective means for them to achieve their sales goals and objectives. In the climate of competition and economic control - which organisations have survived in the past by means such as downsizing - the forward-thinking businesses have taken to E-commerce to satisfy the needs and wants of their customer. The two main modes of operation through which E-commerce can function are business to business sales (or B2B) and business to consumer sales (also known as B2C). Because most people today are so familiar with the business to consumer model, customers today have already done a significant amount of transactions through the internet, such as purchasing a product, booking a hotel and making a reservation for a restaurant - all from the comfort of home. Care is taken to build an attractive web site which provides all the detail relating to their products, including, most essentially, their price and quality, as price and quality are the main considerations that every consumer is concerned with making a payment. This report will illustrate one of the most comment electronic commerce websites and its features, as well as other large retail store websites such as eBay.com, Amazon.com, Tesco.com, Sainsbury.co.uk and Iceland.co.uk.
Features of good and bad website design
People are overjoyed of the cost effectiveness that electronic commerce websites provide them if they do not have time to buy the product in the retail store, thanks to fast moving technology. For example, ebay.com is an American internet company and one of the electronic commerce site known as the worldwide leader in shopping and payment on the web since it conception in 1995. There are millions of buyers and sellers connected to this web site, where they can sell and buy almost everything from their home. The most common usage of this website to buyers and sellers is the bid or buy now action which enables buyers to bid before they purchase and allow sellers a higher sale if a lot buyers are interested. The highest bidder will have the opportunity to purchase it, while sometime finding a cheaper price compared to the retail price. In addition to this, both buyer and seller can feel safe before making a transaction because every transaction on eBay has to run through PayPal; a secure online account that stores all the buyer and seller details such as bank, credit or debit card, which allows the buyer and seller to get paid or pay safely and easily without sharing any of their financial information with each other. It enables easier transactions for both the buyer and seller as there is no need to give the full payment detail every single time they shop or sell online. PayPal will make sure that all buyer and seller information have been kept confidential. Once they sign up to PayPal they will have full protection when buying online either with eBay or thousands of other web sites. (ebay, 2009) Nevertheless, purchasing items from eBay sometime might not be to safe because there are millions of fakes sold. For example, according to BBC News, published on 08 December 2009 entitled "ebay trader sold fake timberlands", Ashley Turner an ebay seller, which sold the fake timerlands boots was prosecuted when a bayer who paid £67.98 found it to be fake. Moreover, this seller was also prosecuted by ebay for the scam of the non delivery of mobile phones. Further more, Amazon.com, another famous shoping and payment electronic commercer website which was founded in 1994, where we can find millions of books, movies, game, computer or software and other items are sell from this website. Millions of buyers and sellers utilise this site because they can resell and buy second hand products as well as new and branded products which is available at a bargain price. All transactions run through the Amazon marketplace platform which allows sellers to accept buyers' credit or debit card payments for their sales through Amazon.com. The safety policy on this website is one where the payment is processed through Amazon marketplace rather than through individual checking accountz. Buyers are able to feel safe shopping on this site because they offer a return policy if there any problem with the product which can either be refunded or exchanged. (Amazon.com, 1996-2009)
What is more, some retail stores are also making sales on their own website such as Tesco, Sainsbury and Iceland which are big supermarket in the United Kingdom. Because of technology improving at a fast pace these retail stores have more opportunity of making the sale online to make it more convenient for the customers. For example, Tesco where nowadays consumers can go online to buy from this store with so many kinds of product are available such as foods, soft drink or wine, book, phone and others. From this website consumer can have more choices, and can see more offers that are available. There is also a refund policy where customers can return their purchases to the store within 28 days (Tesco, 2009). Sainsburys another big supermarket in the United Kingdom that sells foods, soft drink or wine, electronic device and so on. They attract consumers to visit their website and shop by offering them more options such as discounts, free delivery when spend more than £50 along with return policy within the 28 day customer can return their product to the store. (sainsburys) Besides this, Iceland is one retail store that also makes profit by both retail shop and online, where people can buys so many kinds of foods along with free delivery (Iceland, 2009). All these retail stores that has been listed analyse their customers who will return to their store or website by using a customer relationship management system to keep all their customer record through the strategic introduction of a loyalty club card, where they collect points during every shopping trip. Through this company, it is known who their loyalty customer is and how often they shop in the store, to attract them to come to the store. (Kristin Anderson, 2002, p. 5) For example Tesco using Tesco club card, sainsburys nectar card, Iceland call bonus card.
Difference between traditional store and online store
Although online shopping is quite convenient to most shoppers which are so busy with their lives and do not have time to go to a traditional department store, online shopping does not replicate the shopping experience in a traditional department store. While online shopping is usually cheaper and much easier to locate products from home, consumes cannot touch or test the product before making a purchase. Moreover, online shopping is quite dangerous for example the case of ebay, where millions of fake products are being sold in this website which consumers can not identify which is real or fake. In addition, if consumers urgently require a product. they cannot simply go online and purchase the product because they unable to receive delivery within a few hours of purchase, and delivery is halted at night or weekends. Electronic retailer can use the Internet as a distribution medium and can become more favourable selling certain types of products and less conducive to selling because they can reduce costs for the store and staff, they can provide consumers with a competitive price as well as a wide range of product to choose from. For example, eBay, Amazon are electronic sellers that serve millions of users which sell millions of products, including those not found on the high street. Moreover they use some system to reduce the risk for their customers. For example eBay uses PayPal to secure information of their buyers and sellers is safe and not being shared by the public, Amazon uses their own marketplace payment system to secure buyer and seller bank information.
How internet can be use to boost the level of customer service
As discussed in the earlier, the internet is the part of the world economy. It is known in the Business world that the internet is one of the best ways for business such as manufacturers to sell their product directly to the public. Because the internet is the filled with information and recommendations about goods and services both sellers and buyers can use this advantage. Online retailers are able to fulfil their customers' needs and wants by targeting a particular age group. Consumers can review the product, for instance the software programme that is lacking full description or detailed information in the store, the internet can allow consumers to download previews, read detailed descriptions or ask a online discussion group. For example, on eBay where buyers can ask sellers more detail or description on their product before they make a purchase. (Inga D. Schmidt, 2002, p. 45)
The impact of the internet on an organisation
Through the multifarious opportunities of the digital world, organisations can set up and own their own websites and online profiles. Because the internet is not limited to the working hours of a physical office or a man-powered telephone line, the information and services offered on an organisation's created website can be accessed twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days of a year, which essentially means it can operate at the whim and fancy of the customer. The ease at which this can be done almost ensures that a customer is likely to visit a website merely to browse or to consider his or her options, and this is a great opportunity for organisations to execute advertising campaigns as well as the promotion of a new product lines. Additionally, the global reach of the internet means that consumers of more remote areas need not wait for the branches of the organisation in their particular region or country to receive information regarding the newest available products, in order to access this information themselves. Reducing costs accumulated by physical stores, as well as cutting down labour costs, are other advantages that a business can choose to utilise, substituting the services rendered there by making them available online. Taking the opposite stance, websites are useful not only for promoting innovative products and services, they are also invaluable in keeping archives of past products, services, promotions, prices, frequently asked questions, contact details and addresses. Electronic commerce is, in every sense of the word, truly economic. It enables an organisation to represent itself to the public in the most direct way (Reynolds, 2004, p. 5) If, on the other hand, the internet did not exist, the way organisation manage their business transactions would be dramatically different: people's communication would be significantly hindered; the global reach necessary for businesses to cohere with each other would not be present; and the world's economy would have a much slower means of developing and improving. In effect, the internet is an extremely useful tool for every environment and organisation to do business: for example, eBay, one of the largest institutions dealing with selling and buying products online, has millions of varieties of products from all corners of the world put together in its website, allowing consumers can to easily access, review, and most importantly, buy. Moreover, the Internet is helping companies to lower costs dramatically across their supply and demand chains, take their customer service into a different league, enter new markets, create additional revenue streams and redefine their business relationships.
In conclusion, creating a virtual business on the World Wide Web can be a great way to expand the market. However, it does not mean that every E-commerce venture will be a huge success. As with all businesses, online or not, to be successful entails having adequate planning and foresight in the operation of one's website - clearly understanding what processes are required to achieve certain defined targets. It is an ongoing process of monitoring and surveying the best and most effective methods to bring the website to its full potential, as well as creating awareness in the public of a website and the ease it can offer to a consumer's life. The lack of success of certain businesses in their online ventures is due to exactly that: the creation of a website or group of websites without a full understanding of the process of electronic commerce. An organisation must be equipped with a certain amount of business patience and long-term planning if it wants a successful website, because setting up a successful website is not as easy as it becomes once the website is established and reputable: it a complicated project which requires the sophistication of thought which any other business model would require (Reynolds, 2004, p. 6). On a final note, it is a tribute to the momentous potential of E-commerce to recognise that E-commerce can easily come to replace the 'traditional' means of business. That is to say, it is worth taking a minute to ponder the enormity of the fact that if consumer does not have the time or means to go to a store, they will purchase a product online.