This paper is an overview of eCommerce with regard to the following factors namely solutions, security, payment issues, implementation, marketing, and legal/technical issues. It is seen that this type of business is gaining more popularity and acceptance among companies and the customers alike. It is possible for a small/medium sized company like Thai Lay Fashion to successfully operate an eCommerce portal or platform if the above factors are taken into account.
Thai Lay Fashion Co Ltd is a well well-known textile exporter located at Hong Kong. It is established in the year 1991.It mainly exports to the European markets. Its manufacturing centre is situated at China. This company has got nearly 250 employees. The following steps are recommended for building ecommerce solutions.
“E-Commerce is the buying and selling of goods on the internet, especially the World Wide Web.” (E-commerce 2009).
The book titled “Business to business electronic commerce’ shows several methods and tactics by which small businesses like Thai Lay can effectively use ecommerce for their growth. The first thing is to follow the 80/20 Le Pareto principle which says that 80 % of a company’s business is brought about by 20% of customers. The principle is applicable to all areas of human activity. “The 80/20 Rule means that in anything a few (20 percent) are vital and many(80 percent) are trivial.” (Reh 2009).
This rule, according to the authors of the above book is applicable in ecommerce also. “They are keen to connect with 20% of their trading partners that contribute to 80% of their transaction value or volume according to EDIMAN users.” (Warkentin 2009, p. 111). In most ecommerce operations the process of buying and selling takes place immediately while the payment can be delayed in the case of business to business transactions. This can result in ‘immediate savings’ for any organizations. Security is paramount in ecommerce and customers should be offered a transaction platform that is free from security issues. Any ecommerce site has to keep the following factors in mind regarding security. They are privacy, integrity, authentication (true identity of both buyer and seller), and non-repudiation. The last factor means that “proof is needed that the message was indeed received.” (E commerce security issues: customer security basic principles 2009). An ecommerce platform should be flexible enough to cater to the different types of customers that can use the site for transactions. It should be economic to do transactions in ecommerce. In other words, the cost of traditional transaction should be more than the cost of an ecommerce transaction. Ecommerce is suited to some type of business transactions and not very practical to others. In the case of Thai Lay Fashion, since it is a consumer product, ecommerce is fine. But it will be more effective if the company goes retail rather than its present wholesale operations.
E- Commerce Application Development
It is mainly associated with the integration of special software to help business management and web page control. End to end e-commerce application development is nothing but business strategies intended at boosting business. This is the reason why people involved in B2B have been experiencing an increased demand for e-commerce application development. All sorts of solutions are currently accessible online, which help people to grow their business in the most profitable way possible with minimum investment and in a very easy manner. Some investors have the opinion that e- commerce profitability is directly related with the quality of the shopping facility. How well and how frequently the shopping cart is used by visitors on the web site is a right sign of success for the business person. E-Commerce applications for web sites may take thousands of hours to build and need patience and determination on the part of the organization. The end result of such a project will be beneficial to the organization, but unfortunately in some cases the newly created site cannot give optimal performance for the sites. (Boggs 2008).
Steps for developing a successful e-commerce web site
Determining purpose: The main objective of this step is to determine the intention and type of sites the company’s clients requires. The purpose of the site may be B2c e-commerce, online auction, B2b e-commerce etc. Before going for a new project the company should answer the questions such as who is the audience, what do you want the audience to do , who is your competitor etc.
Finding a look: This step is related with deciding a visual appeal of website design. The designer start up by designing a mock-up template for the client based on initial understanding of the e-commerce web site. From the initial template the designer gains a visual direction for the site and changes are made according to the suggestions of the client.
Insert content: This stage involves determining the visual details of the e-commerce store. The designer assembles the site by using high quality fast loading graphics and at this point we add content of the site. Generally the content is supplied by the client and after this the designer integrates the shopping cart system.
Testing, re-testing and testing some more: At this stage the designer go live with e-commerce website development project. The designer has to see that every aspect of the website is functional and working properly.
Go live: This is the most thrilling stage of the project. This stage starts when the designer receives the final approval of the client. At this stage the site is ready for doing business. (Process E Commerce development Delhi in India).
Security issues: E-commerce is gaining in importance and many companies are having their own portals in their quest to capture new markets around the world. E-commerce does not have geographical limitations for customers. Only a facility for delivery of the product is enough. However there is reluctance by many to adopt this technology simply because of the issue of security when trading over the internet.
In order to ensure security all business has to fulfil four requirements such as privacy, integrity, authentication and non-repudiation. (E commerce security issues: customer security basic principles 2009).
“A firewall is a security device placed between a businesses private network and the public internet that moderates and documents requests for internal and external network data access according to the business custom security policy.” (Firewalls).
Payment issues: Today the modern communication technologies and the need for exact payment mechanisms for e-commerce have led to the development of e-payments. i.e., payments that are initiated and processed electronically. (E payments in Europe 2002).
Implementation of E-Commerce: E-Commerce has an important role in our present competitive world. By implementing E-Commerce the company will be able to get competitive advantage. In order to expand their customer base and loyalty, many companies are into implementation of e-commerce systems. Implementation of E-commerce leads to a company for effective display of its products and services and fulfils 24 hours business transactions a day. It also helps to a company to join online communities and market place. It provides a chance to the company to tie-up with large number of customers with a specific interest.E-commerce solutions facilitate the applications, the servers and networks that work together. (E Commerce implementation 2009).
Marketing the E-Commerce business: E-marketing is a division of e-business which is utilized by a number of big companies for increasing their sales. Marketers always vigilantly evaluate the importance of e-marketing and incorporate it as appropriate in to all aspects of marketing from strategies, customer behaviour, marketing communications and marketing mix. Unlike in the past today gaining a high rank on the top search engine has become extremely competitive and simply submitting your website to a large number of search engines will only result in your email address being added to a large number of spam lists. Another important factor is to see that the company site is shown up during internet searches. Proper steps should be taken to see that all internet search engines are registered with the website name. “Search volume” is the number of times a specific keyword is searched over a period of time. If the company is able to understand which keyword is searched in maximum number the company can have qualified traffic in to their sites through setting those key words.
The legal and ethical environment for an E-commerce business: There are many legal and ethical issues to consider while using the internet and e-commerce. Turban et al says that e-commerce laws are introduced by the government and since it is a new field, new laws and statutes are introduced according to experience and events as they happen. The problem here is that what is ethical may not be legal, and what is unethical may not be classified as illegal. So, only time and experience will bridge the gap between the two.
The concept and practice of ecommerce in business transactions is growing day by day. More and more companies are now using this mode of transaction to do business alongside their traditional methods. This paper has discussed factors like solutions, security problems, payment issues, the implementation of an eCommerce platform, marketing of eCommerce, and legal and ethical aspects of this type of activity. With certain precautions, technical backup and hard work, any company like Thai Lay can build and effectively operate an ecommerce platform that will be beneficial to the company and its customers.
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