Amazon - Amazon is an online store which allows people from around the worldto buy and sell goods. It was originally called Cadabra and was established byJeff Bezos in July 1994. In the UK, Amazon makes a yearly profit of around £250million, and sells about 200 products a second. Amazon is most popularly usedin Canada, the UK, South Africa, Russia, Australia, China and the US.
Click Here to see Amazon’shomepage.
eBAY - eBAY is an online store where people can buy and sell goods. It wasfounded in 1995 by Pierre Omidyar. Bidding is a large factor on eBay - peoplewanting to buy products can place bids; the customer who places the highest bidwill receive the product. eBay makes around $2.6 billion a year which averagesout at about $7.15 million a day.
Click Here to see eBay’shomepage.
Netflix - Netflix was founded in 1997 by Marc Randolph. It allows users to buymovies, TV series, Podcasts etc. As of April 2014 Netflix has just over 40million subscribers (31 million in the US). Netflix has a yearly profit of $3.6billion which averages out at about $9.8 million a day.
Click Here to see Netflix’shomepage.
Keyboard - keyboards allow the user to type, using individual keys to inserttext. Keyboards are part of the foundation for the essential components in acomputer system; therefore they are necessary requirements for the hardwareneeded for e-commerce websites.
Small businesses can buy space on a webserver from hosting companies tohost their e-Commerce site. Large companies tend to own their own web servers;unlike small businesses, large companies require more space, therefore they areable to maintain an entire web server to themselves. It is also morecost-effective to have their own web server than to buy space from hostingcompanies.
Monitor - the monitor is also an essential component for a computer system;therefore it is also required for an e-Commerce website.
The monitor displays pre-processed data such as text, graphics, coloursand shades which humans can understand. The monitor is needed for users to beable to look at websites, documents, images etc.
Mouse - alongside keyboards, mouses are also essential components requiredfor e-Commerce websites. The user can use the mouse to control the pointerdisplayed on the monitor. By moving the mouse, the user is able to navigate.Clicking allows the user to select links, applications, folders etc. to accessdifferent areas. Most mouses also have scroll wheels; this allows the user toscroll up and down on a page. Scroll wheels can also be used to open new tabs.
Server software - there are lots of server software applicationse.g. “Apache HTTP Server” and “Internet Information Services (IIS)” - thesecome with modern versions of the Operating System, which can be very useful forusers who need to keep up with the latest software applications. Software suchas File Transfer Protocol (FTP) makes it easier and quicker for web pages to beuploaded to the web. This is especially useful for large companies who areunder pressure to get things done quickly - they can’t afford for basic thingssuch as uploading web pages to take too much time; so FTP is very useful tothem.
Web browser - most operating systems have pre-installed Web browsers e.g. Apple’sWeb browser is Safari and Windows uses Internet Explorer.
Web browsers convert data into visual web pages which humans can use.Most browsers store viewed web pages (generally commonly used web pages) in acache - this allows for the pages to be loaded quicker if they are viewedagain. Browsers also have short term cache memory for users wanting to clickback and forth onto the same web page - this saves a lot of time in the shortterm. Browsers also store regularly used web pages in the long term cachememory - this means that users can visit the same page on different occasionsand the page will still load quickly as it is loaded directly from the cache.Pages stored in the “favourites” or “bookmarks” section can also be loadedquickly as the OS automatically assumes that these pages are commonly used.
Protocols - protocols are used to transfer data across a network. It is essentialfor computers to use the correct protocols in order for them to understand thedata. It is also essential that computers use the same protocols for the samenetworks, otherwise they will not be able to relate to one-another and the datawill usually be corrupted. Computers are given IP addresses to understand whichprotocols to use - this allows for the data to be transferred to the correctlocation.
They also provide a connection for programs e.g. web browsers tocommunicate and to link with one-another. A protocol is used for the base of anaddress for example, TCP/IP (Transfer Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol).This is the basic protocol or communication language used on the Internet. Whenyou set up the Internet on your computer, a copy of TCP/IP is provided. TCP/IPcontrols the assembling of files into small data groups. This makes sure thateach data group is transmitted to its correct location as efficiently aspossible.
Ports - ports are used to connect networks together. They are like gatewayswhich can be opened and closed; each port has its own identification code -this allows for them to be identified so they are used in the right place.There are lots of default ports e.g. Port 80 is used for the internet and Port25 is mainly used for emails. Default ports like these are usually locked toprevent hackers.
Ports can also be interfaces, connecting computers with peripherals.They are usually specialised for multiple devices e.g. most ports have a USBconnection as it is a very common connection method. However, ports do not haveto be connected physically - most ports can connect to devices via a wirelessnetwork; they work in sync with protocols to transfer data across a network.
Internet Speed and Connection
Connection speed can affect the website’s processing speed; thereforehow quickly people can use and view it. If a user has bad internet connectionthen it is quite common for web pages to become unresponsive. Depending on howbad the connection is, it can sometimes cause the entire computer system tocrash.
Internet access can be obtained by using the dial-up service. Thedial-up service allows the user to connect with an ISP through telephone lines.This service was widely used in the ‘90s and early ‘00s, however is nowregarded to be outdated.
Domain Names and Registration
A domain name is a public IP address of a website, which allows users tovisibly see what part of a website they are on. Domain names can have differentextensions depending on what type of site they are. For example: “com” is themost commonly used extension - it can be used for most types of website and canbe used all around the world. “.co.uk” is similar to .com, however is mostcommonly used in the UK.
Domain name registrars are generally organisations which controlreservations of domain names on the Internet. The registrars manage thesein-line with the default guidelines for each domain name.
Registrars can often be Internet Service Providers (ISPs), thereforethey can utilise on both a wide scale and on a small scale.
HTML is the most basic form of coding. It is arranged in scriptscontaining vast sets of tags which are used for different things e.g. “body”tags are used for text.
CSS uses “artificial” tags - these are quicker and easier to use. Forexample, an artificial $GLOBAL_AHEADER$ tag will form the foundation of a HTMLscript.
The World Wide Web Consortium is a community made up of organisationsand members of the public who try to develop web standards. Specifications areused by the W3C to promote standards for the advancement of the Web, forexample:
“Abstract” - this defines the use of HTML (HyperText Markup Language); this isthe core language for internet functionality. This specification makes clearercriteria for internet users in order to improve the organisation of the Web.
“Status of This Document” - this defines the statuses of documents atthe time of their publication. The W3C has technical reports defining eachsection of this specification to make it as clear as possible.
“Spark & Co” is a small business located in Paignton which sells arange of the latest fashion clothing. It is starting its own e-Commerce websitebecause of the current limitations with having a store e.g. not enough trade,inconvenient opening & closing times etc. There are lots of advantages anddisadvantages to be considered when starting up a website for a business e.g.running costs will be much cheaper opposed to a store. On the other hand, thereare no delivery costs required with a store whereas there are online.
Customers not able to see products - a problem with online stores isthat customers are not able to see the actual product; they are limited to justimages, whereas with a high street store customers are able to view and trythem.
One way we could resolve this issue would be to have 3-D images of ourproducts where customers can view the product from all angles. Recently, lotsof online stores such as ASOS and JD Sport have been using this technique andit is reviewed very highly by their customers.
Another way we could resolve this issue would be to include verydetailed product descriptions informing customers of things such as dimensionsand weight.
Customers unsure to trust the website - often customers may feel unsurewhether or not to trust a website, perhaps if they are unfamiliar with thecompany or if it just seems unsafe. This may reduce income if customers are putoff. High street stores have an advantage over online stores here in thissituation. This doesn’t usually apply to large companies such as Amazon andeBay because everyone already knows that they are a trustworthy website.However, for a small business like our own, customers may be unsure whether totrust us. One way that we could resolve this problem would be to have customerreviews. This will show to other customers that we are a trustworthy website.We could also provide well known payment methods such as PayPal or google wallet.
Delivery costs and other issues - a problem that all online storeshave are delivery costs and other issues (“other issues” may be - having towait for items to be delivered or delays due to shipping problems, forexample). This can often put off customers and may reduce customer satisfactionif. High street stores do not have this problem as customers are able to buyand walk away with the product there and then. One way that we can resolve thisissue would be to include delivery offers. For example, we could include freedelivery when customers spend over £50. This will benefit our company in twoways; the first being that it will improve our customer satisfaction; thesecond being that it will encourage customers to spend more to receive thedelivery offer, thus increasing our profits.
Large companies such as Amazon have special offers such as free deliveryfor customers on their next order if they spend over a certain amount.
Lack of personal attention - an advantage which high streetstores have over online stores is that they are able to have workers welcomingin customers and helping them find specific items. Whereas with online storesthere is no personal attention and customers may feel less welcomed and willfind it more difficult to find the items they are looking for; thus reducingcustomer satisfaction.
Large companies such as Topshop have lots of images on their homepage tohelp welcome in their customers. They also have links to different sections oftheir website to make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for.
Other ways to resolve this would be to have a selection of searchingmethods i.e. a navigation bar (ensuring that it is clear and easy to use) and asearch bar. This will make it easier for the customer and will allow them tofind things easily.
Ease of access - another problem with having a store is that it can be inconvenientfor customers if, for example it requires lots of walking to reach or if it isdifficult to find. Having an online store will resolve access problems as itcan be accessed easily from anywhere around the world by using the internet -this will help us increase our sales as it will be easier for customers to buyfrom us.
eBay is an online site therefore it has an advantage over high streetstores because it is easier to access and is more convenient for customers tobuy online opposed to having to go into to town to buy from a local store.
Open 24/7 - one of the main issues with having a store is that we haveinconvenient opening & closing times; therefore we are unable to receivethe maximum amount of trade. Currently our store is only open from 09:30 -17:30; however there is still a fair amount of potential customers roaming thestreets long after our closing time (reducing potential income). With ane-commerce website, we will be able to sell our products 24/7, so there will beopportunity for customers to buy from us anytime of the day; thus resolving theissue of limited selling hours. Being open 24/7 is a huge advantage for large companiessuch as Amazon because they are constantly selling products (recent statisticsshow that Amazon sells around 300 products every second), therefore it allowsfor much more trade. Also, their rivals (generally stores) will be limited toselling hours.
Low running costs - another issue with having a store is that thereare many running costs such as staff wages and rent etc. therefore reducingtotal profit.
With an e-commerce website there are fewer running costs. An example ofa running cost for an online store is site maintenance. Spark & Co willneed to regularly update its website to keep up with the latest fashion - thiswill keep customers satisfied as they will be looking for and expecting toregularly see new clothing for sale. When we have our website, our runningcosts will be less as we won’t have to pay for things such as electric staffwages which would need to be considered when running a store; therefore we willbe able to reduce the price of our products which will satisfy our customers.Large companies such as Topshop constantly have to update their website as theyare competing against rival companies to sell the latest fashion.
Global business opportunities - a problem with all high streetshops is that they are restricted to the people in the local area. With ane-commerce website, we will be able to sell our products globally therefore wewill have a much larger selection of customers to sell to. The use of an onlinestore will benefit Spark & Co because our sales rate is low due to arestricted amount of customers. With an online store we will be able to sellour products to people from all around the world (much more potentialcustomers) which will help us to increase our rate of sales.
Netflix is an online store therefore it has a huge advantage over acompany like Blockbuster as there is a much wider selection of people to sellto on the internet whereas Blockbuster is set up as a range of local stores andso it has a limited selection of customers.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) - this is a very effective way whichbusinesses can promote their business. The general idea of this method is for abusiness to increase the visibility of their website on search results pages bymaking it appear on the higher pages of results (recent studies show thataround 90% of web users tend not to look past the 3rd page). This makes iteasier for consumers to find and it increases the likelihood of web users tostumble across the website.
Search engines identify keywords entered into the search bar to generateresults; therefore when applying this method of SEO, a business will adjust thecontent on their website to try to include specific words which are more likelyto be identified by search engines as keywords.
Spark & Co could apply this method by including specific words and phrasessuch “latest fashion”, “trends” and “free delivery”. This will make our websiteappear on lower results pages; thus increasing visibility and ultimately increasingthe number of our site views.
Spam - this is quite an ineffective method which businesses try to promotetheir website as web users tend to ignore spam. However, when carried out on avery wide scale this method can be relatively beneficial. For example, if thebusiness targets thousands of users, and it works on one in every one hundredusers then the spam is made worth-while. Businesses that use this method arenot interested in creating a connection with their buyers; they are focussed onattracting the attention of as many web users as possible to try to increasethe spam’s chance of success rate.
An example business which uses spam is “Bet365”. This particularbusiness has a very low success rate per user, however they target hundreds ofthousands of people each day; therefore, although the spam works on a verysmall percentage of potential consumers, they are still promoting theirbusiness to a large audience.
Spam would not be a method used by Spark & Co as it depreciates ourrelationship with our potential consumers. Spark & Co is more interested inmaintaining a good connection with a smaller audience, rather than having noconnection with a larger audience. In addition, using constant spam will putoff potential consumers from considering using our website.
Pop-ups - Pop-ups is a similar method to spam; a business will pay othercompanies to have pop-ups on their websites, advertising their business. Thisis also quite an ineffective method of promotion; however it can be put to gooduse when it is carried out on a wide scale.
Pop-ups is also used by companies such as “Bet365”, they use it by targetingthousands of users to try to increase the chance of success rate.
Spark & Co is not interested in use of pop-ups as it will depreciatethe relationship with our potential buyers; we are focused in generating a goodconnection to maintain good service.
Banners and advertising - this is quite a common methodwhereby a business will pay other companies to have banners on their websites,advertising their business. Other businesses take advantage of Cookies - thismeans that if a user is looking at similar websites, then banners can appearanywhere on the internet.
This can often be classed as spam as it can often be an inconveniencefor users being constantly bombarded by online ads and banners. However, lotsof large companies e.g. JD Sport and Topshop often use the Cookies method as itis generally a less intrusive way to advertise; it may also be convenient forusers who are genuinely interested in those particular companies and brands.
Spark & Co would not be reluctant to use this method as it can be aneffective way to promote a business. The company would just have to make surethey are using websites that have lots of hits or that are suitable to hosttheir advert.
Forums and newsgroups - this is not a very commonly usedmethod; however it can often be put to good use. The general idea of thismethod is for business owners or representatives e.g. managers and sponsors toenter online newsgroups to target small groups of people, when to exchangeinformation regarding their business.
Forums and Newsgroups is generally used by smaller business as the aimof this method is to try to make their website more widely known by the onlinecommunity. It also creates good relationships with potential consumers. Thismethod can be taken to full effect by newly started companies trying to set thefoundations of their business in a tamed manner rather than an aggressiveapproach i.e. spam to try to make good relationships with users online.
Spark & Co would use this method as it will allow us to makeconnections with people and it will generate good relationships to try topromote our business.
Direct marketing - this is the most common method companies use topromote their business. The idea of direct marketing is for a business toadvertise to customers directly - there are multiple ways for a business to dothis; for example fliers, television adverts, emails etc.
Almost every business uses this method in some form e.g. Topshop usesadverts on television to directly communicate with their potential buyers.
Spark & Co would use this method as it is a commonly used and widelyaccepted by the public; therefore we would be able to successfully andeffectively promote our business without compromising our connection with ouraudience.
Website accessibility - this is a basic method ofpromotion which is commonly regarded as common sense. The idea of this methodis for businesses to make their website accessible for all users or at least asmany as possible. Companies can apply this method by reducing restrictions andremoving barriers which prevent access to their site.
All businesses will use this method as it is simple to use and itincreases the amount of potential buyers they will maintain.
Spark & Co will use this method to try to make our website asaccessible as possible for users online to try to promote our business.