Electronic commerce, popularly e-commerce refers to the use of the internet as a platform for buying and selling of products and services (Richardson 142).Though fairly recent, the rapid growth of e-commerce has extensively transformed the mode of doing business and new systems such as online marketing, electronic money transfer and processing of online transactions have emerged. However, though the system has numerous advantages, it also has its shortcomings. Below are some of the strengths and weaknesses of this system of operation that must be considered by the Steven Perry Company.
One advantage of the e-commerce system is the exposure to the vast market that it accords to the company employing this system effectively (Yamamoto 216). Since Steven Perry has an already established client base, the new system would enhance its popularity among the existing clientele as well as open a window to a greater market of the technologically informed individuals. This would help increasing the profit margin of the company.
The management should also consider the speed of accessing the market using the new system. This is because e-commerce provides a platform on which the latest updates reach the target market in real time. This would go a long way in enlightening the clients of the new products, improvements of the pre-existing products and services as well as giving the clients a sneak peek into what the company intends to do in the future. The latter keeps the clients expectant and, therefore, loyal.
The company also has an advantage on the set-up cost for the new system. For a small business entity, setting up web presence is extremely expensive. However, for such a reputable company as Steven Perry, the prospective returns outmatch the expenditure. Further, the fact that the company has an already existing website and the only cost necessarily incurred is on enhancement or improvement of the system and the consequent integration to the new system.
Richardson agrees that the disadvantages of e-commerce include a massive set-up cost if the integration process involves remodeling of the existing websites (133). Inclusion of the mobile web platform further soar the cost with development of functional mobile web applications being the most costly. This would increase the company’s expenditure drastically.
Another disadvantage is the data insecurity pertinent to e-commerce. This affects most of the well-established businesses as their unscrupulous competitors may use poorly developed platforms to bring down the competition. Steven Perry is arguable the worst thorn in the heels of its competitors.
Lastly, the new system requires prior publicity to be most effective. Without proper publicity, the public may take a longer time to embrace the new system. Therefore, additional cost is necessary for advertising to counter the inevitability of excess time consumption.
The management at Steven Perry needs to tap into the full potential of its staff as it sets into the era of e-commerce. The most crucial part of this process is the transition period. E-commerce imminently magnifies the number of clients of the company since it pulls traffic towards the enterprise (Sankar and Bouchard 168). The staff at the relevant stores accessed via the web must be able to manage this eventuality. As such, prior arrangements are necessary to ensure the transition is smooth and lays out the procedures for the pre-transitional adjustments. The latter includes additional training on client handling and public relations.
Quality of service rendered needs monitoring to ensure all individual attendants are capable of managing all kinds of clients professionally. Setting up the new system is a face-lift or the company and thus the personnel have to be aware of this and embrace the changes that come with the advancement.
The catalogue is of key importance in the operations of Steven Perry Ltd. It is imperative, therefore, that the company takes a keen interest on how the catalogue appears. The two formats available for this process are an interactive online catalogue versus the already existing printed catalogue. Martin elaborates that the printed catalogue is easily manageable, and the personnel, as well as the clients, do not need to be technologically informed to be able to use it, unlike the online catalogue, which may require additional expertise to navigate (307). The printed catalogue is also cheaply maintained and saves the management the expenditure. This is not the case with interactive online catalogue, which give additional expenses.
An interactive online catalogue allows flexibility since certain corrections and adjustments can be made without the need for reprinting, as is the case with a printed catalogue (Martin 314). This would benefit the company immensely. It is also essential to take note that an interactive online catalogue, as expected, would make the company’s products available to a rather expansive client base without additional costs in printing and catalogue distribution. This cannot happen with the printed catalogues.
The use of video is an enhancement to the online platform since clients get to catch a glimpse of the products they seek from the samples the video brings to light. Further, the staff may use video advertising to divert traffic towards their direction.
Because of the varied nature of the e-commerce service options, a hybrid may be developed to incorporate the online auction systems into the purchasing of items while maintaining an initial inventory on the catalogue. Richardson explains that eBay offers an auction listing that allows bidding on items (165). Steven Perry could use this facility to promptly destock any backlogs within the company stores; each item at a competitive price. Specialty sites on eBay improve traffic to the online retail company and would do the same for Steven Perry Ltd when implemented.
eBay utilizes specific online fund transfer for its transactions. Steven Perry would benefit a lot to specify the modes of online transaction that will serve the clients best, for instance the use of PayPal services, Alertpay, among others. eBay also uses seller ratings to promote competitiveness. If used by Steven Perry, an incredible increase in the profit margin is imminent. Further, it would enhance communication via customer service and improve ease of navigation of the site. eBay uses charity auctions to give back to the community. Such a strategy would uphold the reputation of the company.
Amazon offers merchant partnerships, which would help Steven Perry to feature products from smaller companies without damaging the competition and maintain the company’s reputation. Call centers are another strong facility in the operations of Amazon and would serve to improve specificity of clients while using the catalogue; this saves time in client handling.
Amazon also deals in digital content for its printable items. This idea would improve indirect sales for Steven Perry Ltd of such media. Amazon employs shipping services for eligible purchases. If Steven Perry does the same, it stands a chance to enhance its credibility in the online market and increase the number of clients. Lastly, Amazon offers "Computing services" to its clients, and this gives them access to a variety of features on its site. This enhances the authenticity of the company products and would help in improving Steven Perry Ltd. If employed. This, implicitly, would allow freedom of navigation through the website and ascertain the quality and value of items on the catalogue.
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Sankar, Krishna and Susan Bouchard. Enterprise Web 2.0. Indianapolis: Cisco Press. 2009.
Yamamoto, Gonca Telli. Mobilized Marketing and the Consumer: Technological
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