A group of entrepreneurs have united their forces and have founded a website specialized in online selling CDs and DVDs, along with music players. This is a business designed by music and film passionate, for the same type of passionate who are interested and have the possibilities to buy online.
This business report will reveal a lot from the efforts that the team needs to undertake, in order to provide their visitors and potential clients with a reliable and safe interface. Also, there are discussed the key issues, such as advertising, marketing and security measures and solutions are being offered. This paper also presents and discusses technical and financial details, such as safety and security measures or estimated budget.
The aim of this business report is to present all of the issues, find answers to tricky questions and speak about alternatives that might have a positive impact if implemented.
iMax consists of a group of young entrepreneurs who had the idea of creating and developing a web company specialized in selling music and movie products. Beside this, they will have a large diversity of types of players on sale. Basically, the web company will be able to offer its clients with a wide range of products destined to a specific niche, where there are a lot of business competitors.
This business quality report is destined to provide the entrepreneurs with professional advice on how to get their E-Commerce business started, and also how to develop their E-Commerce strategy. It will also analyze the potential of the website itself, and also the mistakes (Reynolds, 2004).Critical discussion of the research (identification problems with rationale, outlining the key issues and findings of the report, compare similar websites.
Nowadays, selling Music and Film products can represent a big opportunity. Due to commodity, people prefer to buy their favorite music or movies directly from the Internet. The way the customer wants to have his or her CDs or DVDs delivered, has become a key issue in the last years. New technologies were developed in the past ten years. This is a great achievement for humanity, but like every change, it has modified the strategies and the way marketing is done. Online marketing imposes high greater challenges to marketers, and as it said if you are not on the Web, you may not be considered at all. The role of this section of the business quality report is to identify the problems, and also outlining the key issues, comparing the eSolution for iMax with similar websites, which occupy the same niche.
E-Commerce has the ability to sell (Rosen, 2002). In our case, music and movies are usually posted on the Internet, and sold to people who definitely have access to the Internet. In some of the most developed countries in the world, such as United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Western Europe and Australia, everyone has access to at least a computer. Mobile Internet is also developed in these countries, which represents an asset for those nations. This is why the segment of people who try to get CDs and DVDs on the Internet, is broader than anywhere else. Both young and old people, and we must not forget the adult segment, know how to use computers and Internet. On other markets, things are not so simple (Laudon & Traver, 2001).
Mostly young and adult persons know how to use computers and the Internet. This is not an impediment. In our case, music and movies are mostly appreciated by young and adult people, so any business that sells online, CDs and DVDs, might have a chance to be successful. It can target potential customers from all around the world. English is understood all over the world. It is an internationally spoken language.
Although today DVDs and CD's are not so much appreciated, like they were some eight or five days, the business strategy has its essential points. This is why, music and movies will be also available in digital formats (MP3, MPEG). The website will not only supply its clients with high quality music and films, but also with diverse types of players (MP3 players, PDA's).
In order for this website to be competitive, it is important to note right from the start, the key issues of E-Commerce web selling, and especially in a sensitive niche such as selling entertainment, music and film products. The hazards of Web Selling are the following:
- Competition It is essential not to supply the same products or services like your competitors, especially when the market or niche is supra-saturated. In order to get the order, the client must be impressed by one or both of: 1. Better Prices 2. Different and/or Better Products.
- Advertising Expenses - The advertising costs will eventually rise higher than expected. Online businesses have nothing related to traditional marketing or their assigned prices. Online marketing may be less expensive, but it is also important the volume of advertising.
- Shipping Costs for "Offline Products", such as CDs and DVDs, and also the Possibility of Returns, like in the case of a catalog house. It is important to be prepared for abandoned shopping carts due to shipping and handling charges, and also for a pretty high percentage of returns.
iMax can be a web company selling entertainment, music and film products just like any other competitor. The truth is that there are numerous competitors and rivals on this segment. Some are bigger and have an international way of doing business, such as iTunes from Apple, and others such as the ones really similar with iMAX are just trying to get a decent profit from their business activities. It is not easy to compare a mammoth with a mouse. Any kind of appreciation with other Internet services from the same niche provided by other rivals is not relevant. It is correct and important to know the market or niche, which are the competitors are what new products or services will need to be developed.An in depth discussion of the technologies & solution including:
Possible design approaches to developing the e-commerce website (developing the user interface and front end interactivities)
It is essential to remind that web design resembles a lot to traditional print publishing. However, web design uses display technology and it is based on digital code. All these efforts are made in order to build and maintain a friendly and efficient environment to distribute information in a large variety of formats. The team of entrepreneurs must take into consideration that if it is taken to its fully potential, web design represents a sophisticated and complex method to provide quality products and services to a large number a people from different environments, communities or nations, who are sharing the same interests or passions.
One of the possible design approaches will need to be based on some principles and taken into consideration the following aspects:
- Content The substance, information on the website;
- Usability The website will need to be user friendly, having simple and quite reliable interface providing the visitors with smooth navigation;
- Visibility The website must be easy to find using most of the major search engines, such as Google, Yahoo or MSN;
- Appearance The graphic and style must show a little bit of consistency, being professional and appealing.
The E-Commerce website must be based on a simple oriented approach, in order to efficiently build this system (Mahadevan, 2000). The fact that the website is based upon OO PHP and the design pattern of the web application is MVC, there is a clear separation in the system.
The website's Home page must contain vivid colors. It also must provide access to the entire website's functions. People tend to get really angry when they are not able to access functions that they know or are sure that exist. Accessibility is a key aspect, and in the case of many E-Commerce websites it can present a lot of issues. The E-Commerce website must be developed following a simple, yet complex concept. It is just like in the case of a business plan. The design will need to be thought for a longer period of time. Improvements will need to be made in time intervals from 3 to 6 months.
Another good thing will be to update the website from time to time, after surveying a serious amount of visitors. It is important, as webmaster, to know the pulse of the people who can become potential clients. Each and every visitor can be a potential customer and buy a CD, DVD, or even an MP3 Player. In order to become a customer, the visitor must be somehow attracted by the number or/and quality of services, the uniqueness or originality of the website, or other similar factors. There are just a few critical seconds when the potential client decides to make a step further or not.Secure staff interface which allows the clients to login to the database (The back-end infrastructure)
A strong back-end infrastructure is vital for an E-Commerce website that needs to provide quick response time. The system needs to handle numerous transactions simultaneous. The group of entrepreneurs must combine ideas and promote new technologies and approaches.
Security is and must be maintained across the application using PHP sessions. The website's administrators must be able to monitor the user's activities. The main security features of the web application are the following:
- Login Feature for Customers and Administrators
- MD5 Format Encryption Schema
- Paypal Payment Gateway
- Capatcha based Image Verifications
All these security measures have their effects and are efficient in stopping Internet Fraud. People are still reticent to pay online, due to the high percentage of Internet Fraud, which usually comes from under-developed countries' users. All these cyber attacks have affected the volume of Internet Payments. This is why it is recommended to implement a stable and secure form of Internet Payment, such as Paypal (Paypal Payment Gateway). The Capatcha based Image Verifications are also important, being part of the entire security structure. Web development means a lot of things, mostly related to databases and security.
Users must be confident that their personal information, along with bank information, is kept safe. This is why an E-Commerce website must follow some lines and properly achieve some goals (Kalakota & Robinson, 2001)."Blog" and "Exchange Room"
These two functionalities are the ones that have the potential to make this website unique and be ready to face its competitors on an open Internet market.
The Blog is another type of website. It is organized by date and category. The most recent posts are displayed first. In our case, the blog has a practical functionality: to inform the visitors about the newest or upcoming changes, along with other information regarding the available products and services. It is a perfect way to do PR (Public Relations) for a business website.
The Exchange Room represents a new way of bringing together clients. This is an additional functionality of the system. It was created by extending the current OpenCart systems. It is a solution for some of the problems. One of the benefits is that more and more visitors will come on the website and the number of potential sales increases.
Marketing and CRM Plan
Marketing the website may seem a little bit difficult or unnecessary, but it needs to be part of an integrated strategy or vision. Marketing has the capability of improving a website's profits, simply by attracting and retaining customers to the website. Marketing is strongly related to Customer Relationship Management (CRM), which manages customer relationships in an organized way (Hiebling & Cooper, 2003). CRM even helps companies to develop and implement marketing plans, in order to dramatically increase sales. This is why, in most of the cases, businesses use CRM and Marketing to create and implement plans, which have impacts on the companies' future.
The first aspect that will need to be taken into consideration is providing the visitors with high quality products, after some studies in the domain have been made. Also, the website must be SE (Search Engine) optimized, in order to be easy found by the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN). It will be a good idea to invest in online advertising, in order to attract interested users. This technique has the potential of increasing the number of customers and sales.
In terms of CRM, the group of entrepreneurs will need to invest a lot in research and in the development of studies regarding their niche of activity and targeted audience. This will result in a better self knowledge, and also more information regarding their clients.
Most of the security issues encountered in E-Commerce and Web Selling have something to do with web hacking or the fear of it. As most of the website owners, this group of entrepreneurs will need to protect their databases, along with the clients' private data. This can be achieved by implementing a secure online payment method, such as Paypal. Also, there are even marketing solutions that might be handy (Liu & Ye, 2001). However, the client must have more payment options, so this is why it is recommended to offer the potential customers with the possibility of credit card or cheque payment.
The approximate costs will add up to be something about 3500 British Pounds. Actually, this means paying 55 British Pounds per hour for professional work. This is not a huge price. There is also the possibility of reducing the costs. However, this online business has an immense potential as it is currently designed, not to mention that the number of clients is expected to spectacularly rise in the first 6 months or so, due to intense marketing and advertising. The concept is pretty good, so there is no need to put pressure on the budget.
Developing and maintaining a website, and especially an E-Commerce website, can present a lot of difficulties and it has the potential to be a harsh road. The advantage of the team of entrepreneurs and their new online business, are that the owners do not need to invest a lot and waste a lot of resources, like in the case of large companies with extremely big websites. This can be a reliable website, due to the fact that the online business itself is based on a secure and effective web interface, offering the visitors the opportunity to view and buy different products and to become clients.
REFERENCE & BIBLIOGRAPHY:
- Reynolds, J (2004). The complete e-commerce book, 374 pages;
- Rosen, A (2002). The e-commerce question and answer book: a survival guide for business managers, 226 pages;
- Hiebling, R & Cooper, S (2003) The successful marketing plan: a disciplined and comprehensive approach, 544 pages, page 342;
- Liu, J & Ye, Y (2001) E-commerce agents: marketplace solutions, security issues, and supply and demand, 346 pages;
- Laudon, K & Traver, C (2001) E-Commerce: Business. Technology. Society.;
- Mahadevan, B (2000) Business models for Internet-based e-commerce: An anatomy. California managment review;
- Kalakota, R & Robinson, M (2001) E-business 2.0: Roadmap for success.