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Examine the strategies employed and the impact of E-Commerce on business organisations

Unit 45:            E-Commerce & Strategy

Unit code         D/615/1683

Unit level         5

Credit value     15

Introduction

·         Electronic Commerce, or E-Commerce, refers to any type of commercial/business transaction where information, data, products and services are exchanged across the internet. These transactions can cover a wide diversity of business types to include: consumer-based retail sites (e.g. Amazon), sites that provide facilities such as auctions (e.g. eBay) and business exchanges between different organisations. E-Commerce allows consumers to electronically exchange goods and services 24/7 with no barriers in terms of time or geography.

·         Within this unit students will gain an understanding of how and why businesses and organisations develop E-Commerce strategies: to remain competitive in the global market. Students will also appreciate the elements and resources required to set up an E-Commerce site and be engaged in the design and implementation of their own strategies that would in reality form part of a secure E-Commerce site.

·         Students will examine the impact that E-Commerce has on society and the global market for consumers, buyers and sellers in terms of the benefits and drawbacks of online purchasing. Through investigation, students will also research the technologies involved in setting up a secure E-Commerce site in preparation for their own E- Commerce strategy.

·         There is an expectation that students will devise a strategy based on an element of E- Commerce such as designing a shopping cart, an ordering system, payment system or an online marketing system, for example. This design should be fully implemented and evaluated accordingly in terms of its success or failure.

·         Standards and levels of support, marketing, CRM, promotion and supply chain management will all be explored within the context of developing the implementation strategy.

·         On successful completion of this unit a student will have gained both a technical and practical insight into E-Commerce strategy, design and development. As a result they will develop skills such as communication literacy, critical thinking, analysis, reasoning and interpretation, which are crucial for gaining employment and developing academic competence.

Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria

Pass

Merit

Distinction

LO1 Examine the strategies employed and the impact of

 

 

D1 Critically review the benefits and drawbacks of an organisation utilising E-Commerce.

E-Commerce on business organisations

P1 Discuss the importance

M1 Analyse organisation

of addressing and meeting

case studies and examine

customer expectations

how E-Commerce has been

when employing an E-

used to improve an

Commerce strategy.

element of business

 

operations.

LO2 Analyse the hardware, software, web-based and

 

 

 

D2 Evaluate the role that database technology plays in the development and sustainability of E- Commerce.

database technologies involved in setting up a secure E-

Commerce site

P2 Discuss the

M2 Justify the importance

technologies involved in

of communications

setting up a secure E-

technology in E-Commerce

Commerce site.

design.

LO3 Design an E-Commerce strategy based on a given end user requirement or specification

 

P3 Discuss the types of strategies that could be used to drive an E- Commerce solution.

M3 Analyse the factors and resources that should be considered when designing an E-Commerce strategy.

D3 Appraise the design and functionality of the E- Commerce solution.

P4 Design an E-Commerce solution based on a specified requirement or strategy.

M4 Differentiate between the types of payment systems that are integral to E-Commerce success.

 


Pass

Merit

Distinction

LO4 Implement an E-Commerce strategy based on a

 

given end user requirement or specification

 

P5 Implement an E- Commerce solution based on a specified requirement or strategy.

M5 Produce a detailed SWOT analysis to support the implemented

E-Commerce design.

D4 Evaluate the success of the E- Commerce implementation and

identify how it fulfils a

 

 

specified requirement

 

 

or strategy.


Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit students will be able to:

1.    Examine the strategies employed and the impact of E-Commerce on business organisations.

2.    Analyse the hardware, software, web-based and database technologies involved in setting up a secure E-Commerce site.

3.    Design an E-Commerce strategy based on a given end user requirement or specification.

4.    Implement an E-Commerce strategy based on a given end user requirement or specification

Essential Content

LO1 Examine the strategies employed and the impact of E-Commerce on business organisations

Customer expectations:

·         Raised expectations for a quick and efficient service e.g. timely responses to customer communications, quick delivery of the product or service, accurate information, reduced pricing for the product/service, greater choice.

Benefits:

·         Wider market, niche target marketing, lower overheads and costs, greater flexibility and access to goods/services 27/7.

Drawbacks:

·         Visibility, security issues and threats, down-time, high set up and maintenance costs, need to employ a technician or web-based administrator to manage the provision.

LO2 Analyse the hardware, software, web-based and database technologies involved in setting up a secure E-Commerce site

Web architecture:

·         Components e.g. server-side scripting, client/server/script interaction, operation of server-side web applications, accessing data on the web server, dynamic web pages, consistent navigational menu on all pages, browser cookies, embedding animation and video content in web pages, adding interactivity with plug-ins.

Hardware and software:

·         Web servers, browsers, server software, web authoring tools, database system, shopping cart software, scripting software, browser and platform compatibility. Networking technology e.g. TCP/IP addresses, ports and protocols; domain names, multiple registration of domains (.com as well as .co.uk); setting up the server directory structure, deploying access configuration/security.


Database technology:

·         Uses and processes e.g. database-driven web pages, opening a connection to a database, storing data captured from forms, performing dynamic queries on the database, generating a web page response displaying the results of a query.

Communication technology:

·         Uses e.g. email support, forum; search engine optimisation; additional hardware and software components required to support communications.

Data transmission:

·         Features e.g. download speeds, transfer rates, bandwidth required for given applications including text, graphics, video, speech.

LO3 Design an E-Commerce strategy based on a given end user requirement or specification

Considerations:

·         Hardware and software, design and development, costs and resources, security, maintenance, customer online support and logistics.

Internet strategy:

·         Hosting e.g. internal, sub-contracted; design of the website; maintaining 24/7 access.

 

Marketing strategy:

·         Methods e.g. targeting market segments and interest groups, developing electronic ‘web-communities’, CRM, promotion strategies to target specific market segments, search engine optimisation, e-marketing software.

Supply chain strategy:

·         Methods e.g. satisfying customer demand, responsive supply chain, managed in house or sub-contracted, developing ‘partnership’ relationships with suppliers.

Electronic payment:

·         Methods e.g. online transaction processing, Commercial Off the Shelf Software (COTS), other payment systems e.g. PayPal, WorldPay.

LO4 Implement an E-Commerce strategy based on a given end user requirement or specification

Implementation:

·         Demonstrate that the E-Commerce strategy devised has been implemented using suitable tools and applications. The strategy could be marketing, supply chain or payment based, for example designing an online ordering system or an online payment system.

Evaluation:

·         Evaluate the success of the design and implementation of the E-Commerce strategy.

Technique:

·         SWOT analysis to evaluate the overall strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the implemented E-Commerce strategy.


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