Business, just like any other day-to-day human activity is a dynamic process and with each new day, new ideas and concepts are discovered. In the ancient days, the process of doing business between different persons, communities, and organizations was barter trade. This form of trade involved the physical exchange of goods. The end of barter trade gave rise to the current form of conducting business that involves the use of currency. Different nations around the world have different currencies and each of them has a different value on the market, therefore the price of one commodity in Asia may be different from the same commodity in America.
The last two decades have greatly witnessed tremendous change in the internet communication and technology sectors of most nations around the world. This growth helped in the discovery and slow introduction of a new form of trade E-commerce or E-business.
Purpose of the Research Paper
The Warwick Paper Company is one of the pioneer paper-making companies in the UK and it has been in existence for more than 60 years; however the company is yet to embrace the concept of electronic business. The management of the company however wishes to roll out an online-based system of doing trade. The purpose of this paper will be to come up with the features, advantages and limitations of E-commerce and how the company will gain or lose if it implements it. The paper will however start by looking at the importance of the internet and the website. The paper will also look at how they can change the way of conducting business of the Warwick Company.
The Company’s Internet / Intranet and Web Site
In any organization, the communication, marketing and promotion departments are some of the most important departments in an organization. This is because it is through them that the management can communicate with its clients as well as internal communication. On the other hand, the website is mainly a marketing tool for the organization’s products and services. For the Warwick Paper Company to make a difference in the market, it should ensure that the above-mentioned I.T sectors are well-financed and maintained.
Internet and Intranet Sectors
The internet and intranet components work hand in hand in any organization. The intranet is used for the internal communication within an organization, having a stable and reliable intranet network; will help in supporting the internet and enable it (the internet) to function well. According to Salome (2009), there are couples of benefits that the intranet offers to the organization. These include access to the company’s employee handbook, access to the employee phone directory, access to employee benefit information, access to company advertisements from around the world, which enables employees to see how the organization is positioned in different environments. In addition, access to department websites within the organization and finally access to the manager review of your performance and ability to enter feedback on that performance is made possible. The Warwick Paper Company stands to gain in a big way if it successfully implements its intranet network, as this will ease communication between the various departments. This will therefore greatly contribute to an efficient and effective service delivery.
The internet in an organization can be described as the link of the organization to other networks all over the world, mostly through the satellite and telephone links. Salome (2009), states that the internet is used for communication with the outside world and the clients. It is used to send and receive emails as well as do research on the changes that happen in the industry. By keeping in touch with this, the organization will be able to determine the best marketing and promotional strategies that the organization can adapt to. As a new company putting more emphasis on the internet service provider (ISP) company that it will give the tender for the installation, connection, and maintenance of its internet. In any business, that trades online, a stable, fast and efficient internet connection can greatly determine its market growth as well as size of its client base.
The Company’s Website
The internet and website of an organization are inseparable; the reason for this is for a website to exist in a company the internet should be always available. The websites (which are created by creative web designers) represent the face of the company to the outside world; in addition to that, websites are also the modern marketing tools for the organization. The main functions of the websites for the organization according to Griffin (2007) are:
- Tell your Story: Web sites pass the message to the consumers about your products and services. As for the Warwick Company, it will use this function to pass the message to clients on the new products that it has introduced into the market and their prices. This will save the company a lot of money spent on printing and physical distribution of the product / price catalogs.
- Give Directions: Another purpose of the websites is to give directions to the public and consumers on the directions to where the company is and where other sisters’ company is of the main organization might be located. The paper company has two branches in the UK, by having a website that gives directions to the consumers and suppliers, will help in ensuring that if there is an order to be collected or a raw material to be delivered, then the persons do not confuse offices and deliver wrong product and the wrong stations.
- Provide Contact Information: Web sites provide contact information to the consumers. The contact details found on websites are telephone, post box number, fax number etc.
- Make Good First Impression: The first impression by an individual determines a lot on the response that he/she will get. Well-designed and updated websites act as the marketing door of the companies’ products and services (Zeromillion, 2005).
A website is a very important tool when it comes to E-commerce, therefore the company should ensure that it invests heavily in I.T machines and types of equipment and that its personnel are well trained and dedicated to handling this delicate and very important process.
E-Commerce and E-Business
Since the discovery of the internet and online trading, there have been heated arguments among entrepreneurs and business professions on the major differences between E-business and E-commerce and whether they perform the same functions in an organization or not. Chaffey states that E-business is the process of changing the existing key business processes by the use of internet technologies (Chaffey, 2008a). In addition to that, E-business is mainly applied to the company’s strategy and operations. About E-commerce, Chaffey has explained that E-commerce is a online (electronic) process of business transaction (buying and selling) of goods and services, however, there is a 3rd party involved in the process whose responsibility is to ensure transparency of the process and that all the parties adhere to the stipulated rules and regulations as projected by Chaffey, (2008b).
There are two main branches of E-commerce; sell-side and buy-side E-commerce:
- Buy-Side: In E-commerce, the buy-side refers to the raw materials and resources that the company needs from its suppliers. For the Warwick Company, some of these resources may include chemicals, timber, and other raw materials needed for the production process. The company should come up with relevant strategies that will help it to reduce the cost it spends on suppliers but at the same time maximize profits. This can be achieved by settling for one reliable supplier for each of the raw materials that it requires. It should however ensure that the supplier(s) provide quality raw materials at reasonable rates.
- Sell–Side: The sell-side is the process of the selling of the company’s goods and services to the consumers. This side greatly determines whether the organization / company will record profits or losses. For the Warwick Company, the responsibility lies with the online sales and marketing departments that should do vigorous online marketing to ensure that everyone is aware of the company’s products.
Types of Sell-Side E-Commerce
As mentioned above, the sell-side of E-commerce is one that determines if the company will record profits or losses. It is therefore important for the paper company to take into consideration the following for main basic types of sell-side that play an important role in any business; media site, brand building, service delivery relationship and transactional E-commerce (Chaffey, 2008c).
The main purpose of the Warwick Paper Company implementing the online-based system of doing business is to cut down on costs and increase profitability. These are just but a few of some of the advantages of the E-Commerce.
Advantages of E-Commerce
The following are the main advantages of the E-commerce:
- Availability: For a company that is based in UK, E-commerce will give it an opportunity for its products and services to be available in all corners of the earth. This means that, the company’s information will not be restricted to the boundaries of the UK alone but it will be available to all willing buyers and suppliers. This will give the company an upper hand since it will be able to offer 24/7 services to its clients for the whole year (Bora, 2010).
- Price: In the business world, the consumer always looks out for products of high quality but affordable prices. To be able to compete equally with other companies that offer the same products, the Warwick Paper Company should ensure that its pricing is not so high for most consumers. It should also come up with incentives that will help it attract more customers to its online store (Bora, 2010)
- Cost Cutting: For a company that has used printed catalogs for more than six decades, it will be a relief for it to realize that by using the online advertising system, it will greatly cut down its printing and transportation cost. It can therefore channel the funds to other departments that were initially underfinanced (Bora, 2010). Other costs that E-commerce will help reduce are those related to marketing, customer care, processing, information storage and inventory management.
Bora states that, E-commerce being the latest internet venture has its limitations and prevents the company from successfully implementing some projects.
Limitations of E-Commerce
Technology: It is assumed that most people around the world have access to the internet or they are computer literate. This is a wrong. In most nations around the world especially in Africa, there is a high rate of illiteracy and few people are afraid of trying out new business concepts. Because of this technological challenge, people prefer to stick to the old approach of doing trade.
Shopping Culture: In most regions, shoppers prefer to feel and touch the products that they intend to purchase. It will therefore be hard to convince some consumers that the product that they are viewing online is the same or of better quality than the one that will be delivered to them. The payment process also “scares” away most consumers. This especially has to do with those consumers in developing nations most of whom do not hold a bank account.
The above mentioned are the advantages and disadvantages of E-commerce. By going through the stated reasons, the CEO of the Warwick Paper Company will be in a position to tell whether the project they intend to roll out will be viable and beneficial to the company or whether it will be a flop. According to Sial, a good E-commerce has the following unique features that should be considered; the global reach, interactive, information richness and density, personalized, international standards and ubiquity (Sial, 2010).
The future of the business world largely depends on how businesses and organizations adapt to the changing technology. The Warwick Paper Company is one that has been in existence for many years and its management must come up with a good strategic plan for the project. Investing in relevant equipment and machinery is one of the key factors that should be taken into consideration before the commencement of the project. Another emphasis should be on the person who will be mandated with the setting up and maintenance of the company’s website. They should be up to the task. Sales and marketing are very important in determining how the company will perform on the international stage, therefore the sales and marketing department of the company should be more than willing to work round the clock to ensure that all consumers are aware of their products. It should use different marketing and advertising strategies to create awareness of the existence of the company’s website and online trading. An official launch of the service should be organized and various media houses invited to cover the event.
Summation of the Paper
Electronic commerce has changed the way businesses transactions are carried out, by a simple click the required product is delivered instantly. The paper has analyzed all areas that are related to internet, extranet and website. The paper has given the importance of the above-mentioned sections (internet, extranet and website) to an organization. Organizations understand how they can positively contribute to the growth of the business. Specifically the paper has looked at the functions of a good website including how this can be applied to the Warwick Paper Company. The paper has solved the mystery of the difference between electronic business and electronic commerce; in addition to that, it has given the different types of e-commerce (buy-side and sell-side). The paper has dealt extensively with the sell-side where it has given the various types of sell-side available.
The future of the Warwick Paper Company looks bright and promising and with the adaptation and implementation of the online-based trading system, the sales of the company are set to hit the roof.
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- Chaffey D. 2008b. What are E – business and E – Commerce? (Online)
- Chaffey D. 2008c. Types of Sell Side E-Commerce. (Online)
- Griffin C. 2007. Top 10 Functions of a Website. (Online)
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- Zeromillions. 2005., Improve Your Communication To Improve Web Conversion. (Online)