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Lesson 1

High Stakes World of ecommerce

Introduction to ecommerce Business Models

This page discusses how your company can enter the potentially lucrative and high stakes world of web-based e-commerce. On the surface, turning a business into an e-business may seem deceptively simple. Unfortunately, if the goals, expectations, and grasp of the business are not well defined and understood, turning your business into an e-business may jeopardize a company's very existence. Nonetheless, your company may have no choice. In so many markets and industries, web-based e-commerce ranks as a differentiator. In some industries, particularly in retail consumer markets, having a Web-based sales channel has become a competitive necessity. Ironically, once you get beyond the hype, e-commerce really involves the same business practices as any other form of commerce.
The key to e-commerce success, just like success in any other sales channel, involves building an understanding of the competitive dynamics, best practices, and operational methods that apply to e-commerce. In this module you will gain an understanding of basic business practices within the context and special nature of e-commerce. In particular, the lessons in this module will focus on how these elements can change practices within your company, and even potentially in your entire industry or market.

e-commerce Business Practices

E-commerce involves the same business practices as traditional commerce.
You need to do the following:
  1. Create demand and leads (marketing)
  2. Close deals (sales)
  3. Deliver on what buyers have actually purchased (fulfillment)
  4. Offer post-purchase support (customer service)
In addition, excellence in all of these phases feed upon one another. For example, an excellent reputation for fulfillment and/or customer service creates demand.

ecommerce Management
Now more than ever, a crucial part of any retailer's success lies with the performance of their website. With more people choosing to forego waiting in lines, in favor of browsing and buying from the comfort of their homes, online sales as a portion of overall retail business have continually risen over the past few decades with no signs of slowing down. That in turn has created an even greater need for retailers to deliver a satisfying customer experience by ensuring that their e-commerce websites are fast, reliable, and scalable to millions of consumers. Those who fail to do so will undoubtedly see a negative effect on their bottom lines. End users will always evaluate the performance of a site based on their own browsing experiences, and during high traffic periods like the holiday shopping season, performance becomes an even bigger factor in differentiating a site from its competitors. The growth of cloud and third party services has also exploded over the past several years, meaning that the performance of all of the components of a page working together are more critical than ever. That complexity also means a greater likelihood that a site will experience performance failures, which could have devastating consequences on retail sales if not handled quickly and properly. From reading this eBook, you will learn not just how to deliver exceptional performance and user experiences throughout the year, but how to implement failsafe systems in case you do experience outages beyond your control.

What are the Business Barriers to e-commerce?

There are barriers to the growth and development of e-commerce. Numerous reports and surveys identify the different kinds of barriers, and many of them focus on security as being one of the largest inhibitors to and problems for e-commerce.
CommerceNet20, which is a non-profit consortium of business, technology, and academic leaders who develop and implement e-commerce technology and business practice, conducts an annual time series survey of visitors to the CommerceNet website, to identify the barriers to e-commerce. Different nations are at different stages of development of e-commerce and as such the issues that are relevant to one nation may not be relevant to another. Similarly, the issues that are relevant to the type of organisation also differ. For example, large organisations have different needs and infrastructures to SMEs. The study of 1,000 visitors divides the findings into the perspectives of three different types of organisation: large B-to-B organisations; SME B-to-B enterprises; and B-to-C retailers. The study also divides the results into US and non-US based. This is particularly useful because the USA is at a more advanced stage in the e-commerce adoption lifecycle than the majority of other nations and so can be used as a predictor of things to come or as a warning to prevent followers experiencing similar pitfalls and problems.

Advanced Digital Architectures

Module Objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:
  1. Describe the basics of creating demand and drawing attention to e-commerce Web sites
  2. Explain the importance and implementation impact of customer service for e-commerce
  3. Describe the effect of using e-commerce one-to-one marketing techniques like personalization and portals
  4. Differentiate B2B from B2C sites
  5. Define supply chain and third-party service provider roles in e-business fulfillment processes
  6. Identify the advantages and disadvantages of payment processing for e-commerce sites
  7. Justify your company's participation in e-marketplaces
In the next lesson, you will learn how to create demand and draw attention to your B2C site.

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