Analysis of the Manchester United E-commerce Operations

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E-Business Scope

The Manchester United club has a website that generates high income for the club. The club through its website engages in several commercial activities. The club transacts with its customers who are fans of the team players and other business companies. These are two types of transactions that a company may engage in. Transactions carried out between the club and customers are known as business-to-customer transactions while transactions between the club and the businesses are known as business-to-business transactions. The club sells tickets and branded game outfits to the fans. The Manchester United website has a virtual megastore where customers can shop for these branded items and even team player posters. The club is located at the old Trafford stadium. The club offers services to the public at a fee to hire the premises for conferences, weddings, and other social events. The club has a soccer school where people can apply and learn to play football from the skilled trainers who train the team members. The club also offers gambling and betting services for people to try their luck at winning. The regular guests at the site have the option of becoming members and getting tickets at discounted rates. They offer VIP tickets at a higher price to the public for special benefits. There is an advert for VIP membership with the slogan “Getting closer to greatness”. In terms of business-to-business transactions, the club has sponsorship from different companies for example AON insurance, Epson, Audi, and Turkish airlines. These companies enter into a contract with the club to provide the players with several goods like clothing attire.

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The club will then advertise these companies’ products. On the website, the logos of the sponsors of the club have been shown. This is another way of getting advertising income. Manchester United being a highly successful club with a massive fan base ensures the sponsors get massive exposure. Companies can advertise on the website enabling Manchester to earn more money. Mobile phone companies advertise for mobile ringtones with a Manchester United theme. The club has also teamed up with Britannia, a financial services firm to offer credit card and saving account facilities to Manchester fans.

There are several advantages of having a website. The main business value of the manchester united website is that it creates a platform for them to advertise their matches and sell tickets. On the home page, there are updates of the upcoming matches and past matches held by the club. The club can market its products to many people since the internet is a global marketplace. A website enables a business to also increase brand awareness through social media, content creation, and online marketing. The club invites guests on their website to look for them on Facebook. The other advantage of having the website is that the club can disseminate news on the matches, their players, and future agreements or strategies. This creates good publicity for the team and at the same time, they can neutralize any negative news from other sources. The club sends e-mail updates to its members giving them news on future games and other news in the club. As with any company today in the market place Manchester United is involved in corporate social responsibility.

They have a foundation where young people are given football coaching, personal development, and training skills to change their lives. The website keeps the people updated enhancing the image of the club to the public. The players are also important stakeholders and the website has a role in marketing them and creating good publicity for them. The website of a business also establishes the company’s authority. Through the content pages of the site, one can trust the club to give them all the relevant news (Lunn, 2011). The site also has a frequently asked questions section and provides contacts for the people to contact the site administrators. They are accessible to answer the fan’s questions. There is even an interactive forum for the fans to discuss the games and ask any questions they may have. The scope of the business for the club and a supermarket is different in that the supermarket will only engage in selling products only. The supermarket will not have sponsorship income. The supermarket will not advertise other companies’ products unless it is an associate company.

Internet tools and technologies

Website has used several internet tools and technologies. The website has video streaming on its site. It offers the fans a chance to view the games through Manchester United television. The is an online television facility where fans can watch the games and other news like interviews on their personal computers The images on the website also keep changing showing different scenes of the team. The site has a Manchester United mobile service where the fans use their mobile phones to get ringtones, videos, wallpapers, animations, and text alerts. The HTML which is the language of the web has several capabilities. The club site has used these capabilities. On the web pages, the headings are put in bold. The words are hyper-linked enabling someone to click on the words and they are taken to another web page. The HTML also offers graphics and color on web pages removing monotonous colors. The club site maximizes the use of colors and graphics. The web pages also have drop lists on the text boxes enabling one to choose one option. The lists may be a bulleted list or a nested list with more options to choose from under another option. The site also has other web pages linked to that site enabling a person to navigate the sites. On the games results pages, the site uses tables to give the results. When someone is applying for membership they are forms containing textboxes that a person fills. All these are HTML tools that make the communication between the club and customers possible. The site also uses different communication tools like email, newsgroups, and mailing lists. The most common is email. When the members of the club are communicating with the administration email messages are commonly used. With the email internet technology when the sender sends a message it does not automatically go to the receiver. First, the message is taken to a mail server. There are usually two servers that handle the email messaging system. These are the SMTP, simple mail transfer protocol, and the POP3 Server, the post office protocol (Macura, 2010). The SMTP will handle the outgoing mail while the POP3 will handle the incoming messages.

The Manchester united software will log into the server to check whether there is any incoming new mail. Once the user logs in he sees all the new emails in a listing. When the person selects an email message to read it is downloaded to their computer. The messages sent or received have been broken down into packets and each packet bears the destination address. The routers deliver the messages to the recipient location. Once all the packets have reached their destination they are reassembled into one. If the people communicating are on the same network an internal router is used to route the messages. For someone on the internet, an internet router is used. Due to the nature of e-business communication, the site also uses mailing lists. The fans are invited on the charity foundation page to join the mailing lists and receive updates. When the mail is sent by the sender it is automatically sent to everyone on the list. The mailing lists may be the moderated type where the user can delete duplicate messages or irrelevant messages or the unmoderated type where all the messages are automatically sent. This mailing list contains all the email addresses of the people who have subscribed to it. It is a database of email addresses. When someone unsubscribes the email address is removed from the list. Additions and subscriptions have to be done based on an email message. The Manchester United website also provides discussion boards for members to comment on games or any issues. This is known as a Usenet newsgroup. It is a global board and electronic discussion platform. A topic is introduced by the administrator then members give their views. Anyone can participate and post their views and comments. It collects the different messages and posts them on the board. All the messages are stored on a server. The servers communicate with each other. The administrator can respond to the guest or members’ posts. The members will post a comment based on a previous fan’s comment. The original person will then again post another message. All these communications are known as threads or threaded discussions. The newsgroup like the mailing lists may be moderated or unmoderated. For moderated discussions when a person posts a comment the administrator reads the message and decides whether to post it or not. This is to control the discussion and sieve out any insults or uncomfortable comments. There is also the type that is not moderated. In this type, the messages are automatically posted on the discussion board. The Manchester United site can be accessed by anyone who has a connection to an internet service provider. The internet is a global system of interconnected computers. Unless it is a country that has put restrictions anyone can connect to the website.There are other restrictions however put on the internet site to limit the information a person can see. The access levels depending on whether a person is a club member or a staff member. The Manchester United employees have an intranet to share policies and other private strategic information. In addition, the site has an extranet where they have extended the intranet services to the public. The site has members who can log in and get access to the extranet. It uses firewalls, access profiles, and privacy protocols

allowing access to people outside the organization (Mcfarlane, 2010). This network access tool usually uses passwords and usernames to determine which part of the website the person can access. The internet, extranet, and intranet use the same technologies the only differences being the levels of network access a person has.

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E-Business Models

An e-business model shows how a business operates to earn money. There are different kinds of e-business models. Manchester United is an e-model business that has several revenue streams. It has sales income which is the highest income earner. They sell tickets and branded items to their fans. The site also generates advertising income. Any company that advertises on the site pays Manchester united since the guests on the website will see the advertised products. This income is especially high for this site since it is true that the site gets a lot of human traffic daily. The more human traffic the higher the advertising income a site gets (Wilson, 1999). They also have training services at the Manchester Soccer School. The club also generates sponsorship income. The players are sponsored by various companies. They are insured by AON insurance company and they are given watches to wear by another company. These companies also get an opportunity to advertise on the website. The club also gets revenues from entertainment. Some people visit the website simply because of the news of the players and clubs. On accessing the website the club is already earning money. Being a member also entails payment of a fee which is charged for the services the members receive such as exclusive news updates and discounted ticket prices.

This can be referred to as subscription revenue. People will subscribe to get access to valuable information. Manchester United is a highly popular site and several people will be members. A supermarket has similar and different income streams from a football income website. It will have an income stream from the sale of its products and this will be the highest source of income. Though very rare it may also have referral income. This is where if the supermarket does not have a product but they refer the client to another supermarket that sells the products. The supermarket though has to be a subsidiary or an associate company. Based on the number of successful referral sales the supermarket may get some commission. This referral income stream will not be feasible for the club since there is no way it will ever advise potential customers to buy Arsenal products or Chelsea products. The supermarket does not have sponsorship income. It may however be able to get subscription income with the public subscribing to the site so that they are updated on new stock arrivals in the supermarket. Other e-models are not specifically for generating income. Non-profit organizations and other humanitarian organizations do have websites to increase a person’s accessibility to information about them and what they are doing. Religious organizations may form a website just for the members just to enhance communication and not for making any money.

Website Design

Search engines are internet tools that assist a person to locate particular information or a site on the internet based on the keywords a person uses to search. A website needs to be easily accessible to the public especially a commercial site. This is because the global market is huge and being inaccessible will result in low sales. The search engines use various web page features to connect someone to that site. These are keywords, the contents of the site, links, and social media. The club site uses various keywords that will be picked by a search engine for example Manchester United, Old Trafford, and the specific name of the players. The other important web page quality is the content on the web page. The site is rich in the news about the players continuously. If someone types a player’s name or phrases of any breaking news they will be directed to the page. This is because the site is always up to date with its players and game information. Any commercial site should also have relevant data. Crucial information on the website such as the title of the site, descriptive phrases like the motto, the content, and other features have tags through HTML coding that directs someone to the page. The search engines also have to index the site such that the website accessibility is high. Having the website on social media sites create links through which the website can be accessed. Having discussion boards on the website also provides links for the people to be directed to the club site. A website should have three simple things to make the user experience hurdle free. Certain elements enhance the user experience. There should be clear navigation around the site. The people should be able to navigate the sites and poke around. The website should be easy and not complicated at all.

It is important to have a search box on the website. There should be a way for the customer to contact or query the site administrators. The website should have information about the business or organization. A page called “An about us” or “home page” as it is commonly known. The club site has all these features making the site user-friendly. The website should also be very attractive to the user. The colors used by the site are very important. Warm vibrant colors should be used that energize a person. Colors that depress the mood should be avoided. The Manchester United colors of red and yellow are exciting. The website should not be boring with the use of words all the time but have pictures, audio, and even video methods of communication. More importantly, there should be great content and the club keeps exciting the readers with its updated web pages. With website design, there are several legal requirements. The name or title of the website should be put on the site. The contact information of the company should also be provided. The main contacts given mostly at any websites are the e-mail information. Some companies, provide phone numbers. The provision of the registered office and geographical location is also mandatory. This is to increase the accessibility of the site and the company. The prices of the goods being sold with all the relevant taxes should be provided at all times.

As per the analysis, the Manchester United website and its business model generate high income for the club and the investment in the website is enormous. The club has diverse sources of income.

Reference List

Lunn, M (2011). Business Website: Biggest Reasons to Have One. Associated.Content (Online). Web.

Macfarlane, S(2010). The differences between internet, intranet and extranets.

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Bright Hub(Online). Web.

Macura, K(2010). Communicating on the internet. RSNAInformatics. Web 

Wilson, R (1999). Multiple Streams of Revenue for Your Website. Webmarketing Today. Web. 

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