3.1 Description and Market Potential Description Introduction: Describe what an e-commerce opportunity is. Cite sources. The current system was developed as part of an internal intranet define terms clearly with sources. This allows staff to set up alerts based on requests by existing clients or through new clients brought in by sales. This process could be automated into a website that allowed clients to review, purchase and setup their own alerts for their company without the need for manual processes by internal employees. This model favours a higher volume of sales at a lower cost with the potential to access new B2B what is this? sales outside of the current high value business clients. The single unit of sales for the site is an alert. A single alert covers:
SWOT Analysis (what are you analysing â€“ Social 360? You have not yet identified your product or service for your proposed e-commerce activity â€“ state your service idea clearly at the beginning â€“ paragraph 2) Strengths
PESTEL Analysis Political
Strategy/Vision The primary e-commerce strategy is to exploit new markets that are not currently reachable through traditional sales methods. Designing a system that is configurable through a public facing website removes the need for company employees to configure and administer alerts. When combined with a package selection process and payment system this creates a product with a sales process that removes a significant portion of the cost. Reducing the cost and improving the scalability of a virtual package selling allows for smaller businesses in a larger marketplace to to become targets for the product. Another significant factor is being able to pay minimal costs to translate and localise the interface into regional versions that can reach markets that would traditionally need sales staff who potentially need to speak the language and reside within the timezone. Objectives Vision
Goals Primary initial objective is to produce a working and testable â€œbetaâ€ version of the site within 4 months this entails:
Market Research Applicable primary market research is based around feedback from existing clients using a similar product that fulfils the same function. Formulated questions and their responses can become part of account manager’s normal communication with client’s communications departments. This allows for the gathering of data from questionnaire style responses conducted in a telephone interview style without the need to mail drop the client with what could possibly be off-putting marketing material. For existing clients the specifications for current alert configurations contain valuable data about the market. Client’s can be separated into sectors showing their usage of the system based on the keywords, trends and influential people that they choose to follow. The marketing usage for these clients will allow for more targeted advertising to different business types. Possible selling points include:
Secondary research includes the use of publicly sourced data to understand the use of social media in the marketing and public relations departments of potential clients. This is a rapidly changing environment in marketing as companies realise the potential for using social media for marketing purposes and the need to monitor outlets that have influence.
Competitor analysis The closest competitor providing service of this nature is Yatterbox. Yatterbox provide a real time alert service limited by numbers of keywords and following fixed lists of influential accounts. SWOT analysis of yatterbox from the point of view of our product: Strengths
|5 Keywords||Unlimited Keywords||Unlimited Keywords|
|Daily Alert||Real Time Alerts||Real Time Alerts|
|Â£29 per month||Â£99 per month||Â£399 per month|
(Yatterbox, accessed 16 May 2014) 3.2 Systems Evaluation Service Providers A significant part of the product relies on services provided by third parties as a reliable platform for key functionality. The e-commerce part of the site also requires payment services to complete transactions. Data There are 2 main players in providing data streams from social media platforms who have licenses to provide social media data from a number of online platforms. Initially the main platform of concern is Twitter as this has been identified as the man driver of news within social media. Datasift and Gnip both provide APIs to allow for connection to streams of content based on rules to filter data. For our purposes we only require data from users accounts that are requested by users of our product. Streams can also be filtered by keywords but we intend to provide the setup for this within our own users accounts allowing them to decide what subjects are important to them. Main concerns affecting the choice are the ease of integration of the product, quality of documentation, reliability of the stream and cost. It may not be possible to completely asses these factors without trialling the services of both providers. Email The reliable delivery of email alerts is a critical factor in provision of the service. Usage of standard SMTP services within standard email accounts is unlikely to meet the requirements of sending large volumes of email due to concerns over spamming and unsolicited email. There are a number of services that are designed to provide a high volume email delivery platform. These also generally give better logging and information about delivery statuses and failures which we can transfer to the user to allow them to manage the recipients of their alerts. Providers include:
The relative advantages and disadvantages of each would have to be assessed using demo services and investigating the APIs in applicability to our own needs. At a first look Sengrid appears to be a good fit with clear documentation with examples of integration in a number of platforms, favourable independent reviews and a competitive pricing plan. Registrar/DNS services The main reason for the registrar is the registration of the required domain name for the website, but other concerns include the ability to manage DNS Explain meaning . This requires that the registrar used provides good online services for the administration of DNS records. Hosting For this type of project shared hosting (where servers are shared by a number of customers) is unlikely to provide the level of control and reliability required. Some of the processes we intend to setup on the server, such as the stream connections and management of email queues and processing, require a level of access that is generally limited or non-existent on shared servers. This leaves Cloud Computing service or Dedicated Servers as possible platforms for the services. For this project there are a number of unknowns that mean the usage of cloud computing is undesirable. Bandwidth, disk and memory usage and SQL storage costs are difficult to predict and can be expensive on cloud platforms. These are easier to assess as a known cost quantity on a dedicated system where it is possible to buy services with unlimited bandwidth and hardware more than capable of hosting the site for a reasonable length of time into it’s launch. The downside is reliability of a single point of failure in the hardware but this can be addresses by mirroring important services across colocated servers and using load balancing to route requests. SSL Certificate Most Service Providers who sell Secure Socket Layer certificates have a number of options ranging from basic encryption certificates that just offer the encryption required to secure data in transit to those offering users greater confidence through vetting processes to ensure the organisation using the certificate is who they say they are. The certificates offered are usually 1 one of four of 4 types:
(GlabalSign Ltd, accessed 19 May 2014) Whilst not all forms of payment integration described below strictly require the use of an SSL certificate any transfer of user information is best encrypted in this way and is essential if when hosting localised checkout pages. The use of encryption coupled with verification checks that can be performed by the user increases their confidence in the site, however I am unable to find any study or clear statistical evidence that there is an increase in user confidence or sales conversion rate through using Extended Valuation SSL over the simpler forms. Payment Gateway Considerations for payment gateways include:
Some payment gateways are linked to a merchant bank account and provide the possibility for a more seamless checkout experience with a greater level of customisation and control over the checkout experience. Sagepay, a popular UK payment provider has 4 possible levels of integration a serves as a good example of possible solutions: Form integration. No customer data is stored on site, entire checkout process handled by Sagepay.
Server Integration. Customer transaction details can be stored locally, card details and payment pages handled by Sagepay.
Server inframe integration. Similar to the server integration but allows greater control through embedding the sagepay card payment step into and iframe in the checkout process.
Direct integration. All aspects of the payment process are handled on site including customer card information, greatest level of control over the checkout and completely seamless as it only communicates with sagepay at the point of transaction processing from the local server.
(Sagepay, accessed 15 May 2014) Other payment solutions do not require merchant accounts and can not be seamlessly integrated into the checkout flow. Systems such as PayPal offer solutions for easy integration that will always require that the user leaves the payment issuing site to go through the payment process (although PayPal does offer merchant account solutions as well), transaction reporting can be provided through call back systems such as PayPal Instant Payment Notification. There are advantages in using PayPal as it has a very large user base. This user base has become accustomed to the convenience of faster checkouts as there billing data and preferences are already stored and do not require re-entry during the checkout procedure helping to increase sales conversions for new customers. (PayPal, accessed 15 May 2014) Project Management/Version Control As with any software development version control is essential to manage the codebase. There are currently 2 main considerations for version control that are both open sourced and have online services to provide remote repositories for code.
Other services go further than just version control by providing project management tools that fit in with software design methodologies such as Agile. These include:
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