This paper seeks to make an evaluation of the business practices of three e-commerce websites, renttherunway.com, weartodaygonetomorrow.com and bellybumpboutique.com. The evaluation is on the security of the sites, confidentiality of information collected on the sites and an analysis on how well the sites handle the impact of international issues.
The three websites deal with rental of women clothing, with weartodaygonetomorrow.com offering purchase options not available in the other two websites. Bellybumpboutique.com specializes in rental of fashionable wear for expectant mothers. The main objective of the websites is to offer clothing rental for garments which may otherwise be too expensive or too uneconomical to purchase. The websites have put in place measures to deal with issues of security of the sites and confidentiality of information collected and used by the sites. These issues are discussed and the impact of international issues
Security of the websites
The renttherunway.com and weartodaygonetomorrow.com websites are secured using the secure socket layer (SSL) technology. This is the highest standard of encryption currently available over the internet. The use of this encryption technology assures the security of the websites to potential customers. The two websites have displayed certificates of the secured socket layer (SSL) encryption. This means that the websites are secured using the highest standard possible technology to ensure the security of both the websites and the information submitted by customers. This kind of encryption ensures that no third parties are able to access confidential information contained in the website such as credit card numbers and personal identification numbers, names and addresses.
The website bellybumpboutique.com uses the extended secured socket layer (ESSL) technology in its encryption. This type of validation offers the same level of encryption offered by the secured socket layer encryption employed by the other two websites only that it requires the meeting of more stringent regulations before it is offered. It can thus be argued that the bellybumpboutique.com website seeks to assure its clients of the security of the website itself and the information they submit to the website by using a version of encryption that requires that more extensive verification process that that of the other two websites.
Renttherunway.com makes it known to its customers that it has put in place the best possible electronic and physical measures to ensure security of information collected from its website. This involves making sure only a few individuals with the highest clearance from the company have access to such information.
The three websites have made an effort to ensure security of information collected from the websites. The level of encryption technology used is of the highest level for the three websites though it is not known the measures used by weartodaygonetomorrow.com and bellybumpboutique.com to ensure security of information obtained from the websites. The security of the three websites can be said to be satisfactory considering that the levels of encryption used are of the highest standard possible.
Confidentiality of information collected and used
From the privacy policies available from the three websites, it is clear that they all go to great lengths to ensure that the information collected from the websites is kept confidential and no breach of such confidentiality occurs.
In renttherunway.com, before any customer can access the website, sign up is required. This gives confidentiality to the customer since an email address with a corresponding password gives every user of the website a unique identity and helps prevent unrestricted access. The other two websites only require registration when the customer needs to make an actual rental where details like full legal names, address, physical location, credit card number and birthday are obtained. This gives a level on unrestricted access to these two other websites.
Confidentiality regarding access to the two websites is therefore partial in bellybumpsboutique.com and weartodaygonetomorrow.com.
The non personal identifiable information collected on the websites is used by the three websites only for the purposes of improving the marketing process and establishing trends such as demographics of the visitors to the websites. The privacy policies of the three websites specifically make a mention that this information which does not identify individuals personally may be shared with third parties for the purpose of sharing the customer experience and improving the delivery of services by the website and the company.
Personally identifiable information obtained from the three websites is not shared with third parties. This is a claim made specifically in each of the three websites privacy policies. Exceptions are however made for the parties that are involved to ensure deliver of a quality customer service for which this information is availed for this purpose only. These are shipping agents that are shipping agents who require some of the personally identifiable information to ensure delivery of the rented or purchased products to the customers. The three websites specifically indicate that the agents make only a one time use of the information and do not rent or transfer it to other parties.
Sensitive personal information collected from the three websites is used only for the purpose of completing the transaction between the customer and the company. All the three websites make it clear in their privacy policies that personally identifiable information collected from the website is not divulged to third parties through sale, rent or transfer. The website renttherunway.com makes a claim that only a few members of the company with the highest level of validation are allowed to access this type of information collected and stored under the website.
The confidentiality of information collected from the websites can be regarded as satisfactory given the environment in which they operate. This is because they have to involve third parties such as fashion designers and shipping agents to ensure the successful completion of transactions with customers. The privacy policies put in place by the three websites are sufficient given the circumstances of operations and all the three websites maintain a high level of confidentiality of information collected from the websites.
Impact of international issues
Phishing has of recent become an issue in internet security. It is the malicious attempt to obtain confidential information such as credit card numbers, passwords, addresses or bank account numbers by posing as trustworthy parties (Schneider 2009). The three websites are susceptible to phishing, but only weartodaygonetomorrow.com makes an express warning to its customers never to reply to any correspondence asking for confidential information while purporting to have the website as the source.
Identity theft is rampant over the internet and e-commerce is especially vulnerable to individuals who deliberately and without consent obtain other individuals identity details to obtain goods and services (Schneider 2009). The three websites have made an attempt to prevent this by making a registration requirement before any transaction is possible. The details required are diverse and very confidential to prevent identity theft. This can be seen as a possible deterrence to identity fraud that may occur through use of the website.
The three websites have only the United States as their market. This has made the three companies seem unconcerned about international issues such as global terrorism. The websites have made no obvious attempts to prevent their use in global terrorism. This shows lack of concern for global issues since the websites are more concerned about their target market and do not have a global outlook.
Global issues such as phishing, identity theft and fraud and global terrorism seem to have had little or no impact on the operation of the three websites. This may be because the target market for the three websites is the United States only. Any transactions beyond the borders of the United States involving the websites are not possible and this may explain why the websites have not been impacted by such global issues.
Bellybumpboutique. (2011, February 11). Retrieved from http://www.bellybumpboutique.com/
Renttherunway. (2011, February 28). Retrieved from http://www.renttherunway.com/rtr_home?login=true
Schneider, G. (2009). Electronic commerce. (8th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
Weartodaygonetommorow. (2011, February 28). Retrieved from http://www.weartodaygonetomorrow.com/terms.asp