Potential Risks to Organisations Committing to an Ecommerce System

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Introduction

In this report I will discuss e-commerce, exploring what is e-Commerce, including such topics as the design and monitoring of websites along with how to make sure you are providing what the customer requires with regard to service and identifying and meeting the customer needs.

What is E –Commerce

E-commerce is the buying/selling of goods or the conveying of funds or data, over the Internet. The terms e-commerce and e-business are often used when discussing any transactions over the Internet. E-commerce is conducted using email, fax, and online catalogs and shopping carts. (Electronic Data Interchange), EDI is a way for businesses to safely and securely transfer important information such as invoices and purchase orders, via the Internet. The benefits of e-commerce are its around-the-clock accessibility, the speed of access, a wider selection of goods and services, accessibility, and world-wide reach. Its recognised weaknesses can be sometimes limited access to a service agent, not being able to examine the item before you commit to purchase, and the imposed delay time for product to arrive at destination. To ensure the security, privacy and success of e-commerce, businesses should verify business transactions, control access to sources such as webpages for registered or designated users, encode communications and apply strong security tools.

Marketing Your Product

  • The media has acknowledged that e-commerce is exploding; this means that now is the right time for start-ups to firmly establish their online businesses.
  • The following guidelines are well documented as being beneficial in getting your business off the ground.

Carefully pursue the online audience  

  • The aim of marketing is to have knowledge and understanding of your customers so well, the item or service is attractive to them and therefore it sells itself. You need to identify the characteristics of consumers who will gain value from the products you want to sell and base your marketing approach on these surveys. (www.entrepreneur.com/sellingonline, 2014)

Create a high quality content and deliver it at high speed  

  • Make sure your content is relevant with pleasing information that encourages site visitors to return again and again.

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRx5Q1m9Dax9Hy0bVYjgKXCLzPcjxK_mLSFiiRN4l-yJZWy07FrJauDu86j Have a strong mobile capability  

  • Shopping when out and about is a very popular option. It’s crucial to have a robust mobile e-commerce platform.

Logistics

  • The ability to adapt to increased demands is integral to growing a business. It’s vital to be able to deal with large and complex transactions. Also the ability to efficiently handle product exchanges and returns.

Work directly with the consumer

  • The internet enables small businesses to reach consumers quickly and easily. Manufacturers are keen to work directly with small businesses because they realise small brands are likely to bring new and imaginative products to the market place.

The Option of selling internet – only merchandise  

  • You can decide to market products via the Internet only. By doing this you are building an exclusive brand with e-commerce as the main distribution channel. By doing this, it is possible to maintain greater control over margins.

Identifying and meeting your customer needs

In today’s online marketing world customers expect an individualized web experience. The technology is available to enable your customer to shop based on personal choice. Therefore it should be used.

Training of staff

  • It’s vital to have the appropriately trained staff. Employees need to have good working knowledge of the World Wide Web.
  • Be comfortable browsing social media sites along with being tech savvy.
  • To find out who the competitors are, be able to navigate competitor sites to see if they offer similar products or discounts to entice customers to purchase from them.

Design of the Website

When designing a website the following criteria need to be adhered to:

  • Search Engine Optimization: this is where you boost site traffic by maximizing your sites visibility in search results.
  • Widgets: Add special features, like, the Click to Call Widget, where you can create your own custom Call Me button to add to your web pages, blogs, emails, banner ads, and other marketing tools, as a service to your clients. When clicked, the button initiates a call between you and your client. Widgets make it incredibly easy to connect with customers. In computers, a widget displays information or provides a specific way for a user to interact with the operating system and application. Widgets include icons, pull-down menus, buttons, selection boxes, scroll bars, windows, window edges (that let you resize the window), and many other devices for displaying information and for inviting, accepting, and responding to user actions.
  • Mobile –Optimized Website: Research has shown that companies can miss out on up to 50% of their visibility if they don’t have a mobile-optimized website. The number of people browsing the Web from a mobile device has more than tripled since 2009 and it is certain to continue growing, with browser platforms such as iOS and Android offering mobile browser support that is as good as what we expect from our desktop computers.
  • User Friendly Website: Customers look for trust and reliability, and they expect their daily encounters on the web to reflect this. To this end design plays a very important role. (www.creativeblog.com, 2014)

Monitoring your website

Website monitoring is the method of testing and validating that customers/clients can interact with a website or web application. It’s often used by businesses to ensure website uptime, (up. Time is a highly scalable IT monitoring solution that enables you to gain visibility and direction over the performance availability and capacity of their IT environment; whether on premise remotely or in the cloud), performance, and functionality are working as intended. Monitoring is essential to ensure that a website is available to users, that any downtime is kept to a minimum, and that performance is enhanced as much as possible. Monitoring can also help to see how your website is performing against your competitors.

Protecting your website

The rules which you should adhere to, to avoid attacks on your website Keep your software up to date: Keeping all software up to date is vital in keeping your site secure. When website security errors are found in software; hackers are quick to attempt to abuse them. Error messages: Be careful with how much information you disclose in your error messages. For example if you have a login procedure on your website you need to think about the language used to communicate failure when attempting logins. Non-specific messages like “Incorrect username or password” as not to detail when a user gets half of the query right. If a hacker tries to strike to get a username and password and the error message gives away when one of the fields are correct then the hacker knows he has one of the fields and can concentrate on the other field.

Paswords: We all know that we should use complex passwords, but that doesn’t mean we always do. It is imperative to use strong passwords to your server and website admin area, but equally important to insist on good password practices for your users to protect the security of their accounts. As much as users may not like it, enforcing password requirements such as a minimum of around eight characters, including an uppercase letter and number will help to protect their information in the long run. Passwords should always be kept encrypted, if possible using a one way hashing algorithm such as SHA. (logical arithmetical or computational procedure that if correctly applied ensures the solution of a problem) (Collins English Dictionary, 2014) Using this method means when you are validating users you are only ever comparing encrypted values. For extra website security it is a good idea to salt the passwords, using a new salt per password. Salt is a method which makes it impracticable to crack a hash. In the event of someone hacking in and stealing your passwords, using hashed passwords could help damage limitation, as decrypting them is not possible. When using salted passwords which is the process of cracking a large number of passwords it is very slow as every guess has to be hashed separately for every salt + password which is monetary/computationally an expensive option. Customers’ personal protection: Vbv ExampleFor a customer to feel safe and secure using a website there are protections available such as Verified by Visa that can be used. This has become very popular in recent times. The major banks all offer this facility. Once you’ve signed up to the Verified by Visa system, your card will be protected against any unauthorised online use leaving the customer free to shop securely on web sites across Europe. It also means you can have confidence in the online retailer you’re buying from.

Customer Service

Excellent customer service is essential in these challenging times, whether you are selling on-line or in the High Street.

  • It’s important to track all customer interactions (by doing this you will get a picture of your customers preferences. You can then send weekly/monthly emails of any special offers that might interest them)
  • Provide online chat options
  • Quick response to customer queries
  • Option to pay extra for next day delivery and that standard delivery does not take forever
  • Gaining extra Christmas shoppers is important. This is a high volume shopping time, you could offer free wrapping of gifts, this option could gain you the customer
  • Offering free shipping/delivery is another popular option to attract /keep customers
  • If the customer spends for example over €100.00 they could qualify for a gift card of €10.00.

Legislation national and international

Legislation within Ireland

The E-Commerce Act 2000, the Irish Act instigated the EU instruction on Electronic Signatures twelve months ahead of the deadline set by the European Commission. The Act now gives confidence to users around any fears with e-documents as they are now on the same footing as physical documents. The act provides the following safe guards:- Ability of E-Communications to Communicate Agreement

  • The uncertainty regarding the ability of e-communications (email & internet communications such as web pages) to host the terms of a contract have been removed. Electronic communications are now regarded as similarly competent as non-electronic communications of sharing the concept of an agreement.
  • In certain circumstances an electronic signature will now suffice.
  • Any obligation to give information in writing by law can now be satisfied if the information is provided in electronic format:

Legislation in the EU

  • The European Commission has adopted the new Vertical Restraints Block Exemption Regulation and Guidelines (VRBE). These rules came into force on 1 June 2010. The laws will remain in force for 12 years. The new VRBE was based around developments in the past 10 years owing to the growth of the internet as a device for online sales.
  • The (VRBE) gives assurance and agreements around competition and online sales.
  • Providers/Users can have confidence for example that requires a distributor to terminate a transaction if credit card data reveals an address that is not within the distributor’s territory.
  • Agreements are in place requiring a distributor to pay a higher price for products/goods intended to be resold by the distributor online, than for products intended to be resold offline. (A & L Goodbody Stockbrokers, 2010)

Conflict with Retailers

There will always be a conflict between online shopping versus shopping on the high Street. The split between customers who prefer shopping online, and those that prefer offline, is more or less even, with a slight preference 55% for the High Street. Women are more likely to research online and buy offline, with 71% of women doig this, compared to 52% of men. The reason women shop offline is they don’t want to wait for the product to arrive. The second most compelling reason for shopping offline is they want to see/feel the product in person that they are purchasing. (Grazia, 2014) Conclusion: Following my research on the potential risks to organisations committing to an e-commerce system my conclusions are:-

  • That e-commerce is a dynamic market undergoing continual change
  • It is now recognised as a very safe and efficient way of purchasing /selling of goods and transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network.

Bibliography

  1. A & L Goodbody Stockbrokers, D. I. (2010). New EU Rules for Online Sales. Copyright A© 2014,
  2. A&L Goodbody. All Rights Reserved. Dublin, Ireland: A & L Goodbody Stockbrokers, Dublin, Ireland. (2014).
  3. Collins English Dictionary. Grazia. (2014). Grazia online. Retrieved November 26/11/2014, 2014, from Grazia Fashion Magazine. www.creativeblog.com. (2014).
  4. Retrieved November 26/10/2014, 2014 www.entrepreneur.com/sellingonline. (2014). Retrieved November 25/11/2014, 2014
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Potential Risks to Organisations Committing to an Ecommerce System. (2017, Jun 26). Retrieved August 8, 2022 , from
https://studydriver.com/potential-risks-to-organisations-committing-to-an-ecommerce-system/

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