Introduction for E -Commerce Business plan

This report demonstrates various business skills required by an organization for implementing e commerce system. For understanding these skills, analysis of core function of Office Stop which is a stationary shop in Central London owned by a local business named Robert White is done. After that various stakeholders for this company are analyzed which have influence on their operations and their competitive market is analyzed by conducting a SWOT analysis (Lightfoot, 2003). This report describes impact of introducing an e commerce system in this organization and how it will affect its future projections. After that current e commerce system of company is evaluated and opportunities for expansion of this system are analyzed. Financial implication and design of e commerce solution for this company are discussed in this study. At last suitability of e commerce system is evaluated for Office Stop.

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Structure and aims of business organisations 

The social entity which is linked to external environment and has collective goal is called an organization. There are various types of organization such as public, private, voluntary and charitable business organization. Office stop is a private shop which was opened by a local business named Robert White for selling stationary items. The core functions of this shop is to sell wide range of stationary items like stapler, hole punch, tapes, envelop, paper, pen, pad, pencil, notebook and various other stationary items for offices and home purpose. Major aim of this company is to expand their business and increase market share of this shop. In order to purchase stock for his shop, Robert mainly calls national suppliers and various friends in this industry. For getting real bargains he sometimes looks for stocks over internet but major problem with this is that he is not able to check their quality (Dawson, 2002). Due to limited space in his shop he is not able to sell more extensive collection of stationery which is affecting market share of his shop. This is a growing company which either needed expanding his shop or using online version of his shop to sell more item and generate more revenue.

Identify stakeholders of office stop and their expectations.

Stakeholders are those individuals who have interest in operations of an organization and take part their decision making process. It is necessary to identify stakeholders for an organization in order to improve their quality of project and more resources can be added to company if support from powerful stakeholders is gained (Smith and Correa, 2005). There are various stakeholders for Office Stop such as employees, customers and suppliers. All these stakeholders affect operations of this stationary shop and communication must be done frequently to make them understand benefits of their operations. Expectations of these stakeholders in regard to company’s objective are described below:

Customer: These are the most important stakeholders of Office Stop as these are the people which buy products from this company as it is a stationary shop. Products of this shop such as pen, pencil, paper, stapler, etc are mainly use for office or home purpose. The major expectation of these stakeholders is that they require good quality product at cheap price.

Employees:These are such stakeholders who play an important role in improving operations & activities of Office Stop. These are those individuals who have direct interaction with consumers and in order to satisfy their needs properly they must understand requirement of customers (Gregoire, 2013). Major expectation of these stakeholders from this company is that they want good amount of wage with other benefits such as recognized position, financial rewards for their sale and timely increment in their salary.

Suppliers:Other important stakeholders of this shop are suppliers which are mainly national suppliers or recognized friends from this industry. Sometimes online dealers also act as suppliers for this company and they are responsible for building a sustainable image among customers for their products delivered. Suppliers of this shop expect to receive their payment timely and integrate their supply chain respectively.

Analysis of competitive market of Office Stop

SWOT analysis of Office Stop is performed below:

STRENGTHS
  • More experience in selling stationary items.
  • Well developed and strong market share (Pierce, 2013).
  •  Large number of suppliers.
  • Extensive collection of stationeries
OPPORTUNITIES
  • With implementation of e commerce system can attract more customers.
  • Expand their business in wider area.
  • Increase their revenue by providing more facilities to customer.
WEAKNESSES
  • Space available in shop is limited.
  • Collection of stationeries is not wider.
  • Limited number of clients.
THREATS
  • Large number of competition from big retail organisations such as Staples and Haywire.
  • Online stock is risky and difficult to handle.

Aim & objectives to meet expectation of stakeholder.

 In order to meet expectation of shareholders, company is introducing an e commerce system which will enable customers to order online and automate their several processes. Efficient communication will be provided to customers by company such as newsletters, emails, banner ads, etc (Smith and Chiozza, 2001). Office Stop will provide customers with easier and simpler form of payments methods and with e commerce system consumers can see detailed information of products.

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Understand the impact of e-commerce

E- commerce can be defined as transaction of business with help of web and use of internet. The fastest method of trading worldwide is selling through websites and this can be done effectively through e commerce. There are two types of e commerce such as Business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C). When companies are selling their products directly to other companies with help of World Wide Web than that business is called B2B and if companies are selling their products directly to customers with help of web pages and online sites is called B2C (Cather, Morris and Wilkinson, 2001). There are various impact of introducing an e commerce system to company which include benefits, pricing opportunities and drawbacks. These are further explained in detail below:

Benefits

  • 24/7 trading:In online trading there is no requirement of staff for running online shop and user can carry transactions at any time. In order to make sale there is no need of staff and transactions & orders can be acknowledge automatically.
  • Global market place:Products of an organization can be available online by introducing e commerce which will ultimately increase their market share (Peterson, 2005). Revenue of this company will be increased if consumers for business are available worldwide. Competition will be increased with increase in business market.
  • Low start-up and running costs:Compared to traditional store online store has less initial costs as for traditional store it require to buy place for store, staff and pay for other operating expenses.

Pricing opportunities

  • Fluid pricing:According to circumstances online store can increase or decrease prices of products by taking advantage of fluid pricing. It is difficult to vary prices in traditional store as compared to online store (White, 2000). At online store individual can decrease price of product if their decrease in sale of any item.
  • Differences:A price difference can be seen at between prices of traditional and online store. Online stores encourage buyers to buy product from their store by giving discounts on their product prices. Online stores can decrease prices of their products easily as they do not have to buy shop space, hire employees and give utility bills.

Drawbacks

  • Lack of human contact:There is no contact with human through an e commerce system and without contact of any person some customers discourage buying online products.
  • Consumer trust:There is lack of trust among consumers regarding online products as they will not be able to know quality of products through e commerce system (Fraser and McDonald, 2000). Some consumers get annoyed when these systems suggest products according to previous purchase and sometimes they think that company will use their personal details for business purpose.
  • Security issues:One of the major drawbacks of introducing e commerce system to an organization is security issue. With increase in criminals and hackers, biggest worry of consumer is regarding identity theft of their personal and financial information. Most of consumers think that doing business online is not safe and trustworthy.
  • International Legislation:E commerce business may have disadvantage of laws of country or international legislation (Dhillon, Coss and Hackney, 2001).
  • Product description problem:Most of the consumers may not trust the products which they have ordered online and they think that products which companies have delivered might be replica.

Design E Commerce solutions

Current e commerce system for this organization can be evaluated by taking following considerations which are described below:

  • Scalability:E commerce website is only good if it can handle their visitors effectively in peak traffic. If website is not scalable and internal applications are annoying than it will affect online business, drive customers to other companies and customers will be frustrated by using unresponsive application (Lubbe, 2003).
  •  Product catalogue:This is necessary for an e commerce system as it represent all the items which company is selling online. Current product catalogue of this organization is poorly constructed and it not adaptable to changing needs of e commerce business.
  • Search box:It is the most important tool of an ecommerce system as customers use this every time they visit website. Current e commerce system does not have any search options which lead to poor shopping experience of users.
  • Reporting and Analytics:It is important to capture all the information presented on the e commerce system so that it can be managed or used overtime (Steinhart and et. al., 2012). Current system is not facilitated with this technique of reporting and analytics.  

Market potential or opportunities for expanding e commerce expansion

In past few years it is seen that revenues of e commerce has increased worldwide and it will keep increasing in future. Global expansion strategy of retailers is changing with online shopping and new paths to growth can be seen by introducing e commerce systems. In order to earn relatively quick revenues growth, most of retail organizations are expanding their online presence by migrating to marketplaces (Taylor and England, 2006). With evolution in consumer preference, laws and infrastructure it can be seen that global e commerce is thriving and a growth of 13 % annually is seen in e commerce market over past years. Online channels are helping retailers in their expansion as it is a way through which organizations can build brands, learn more about consumers and tap into growth market. This form of expansion is cheaper than traditional form as there is no requirement of space for shop and there is no need of hiring employee.             

Financial implication of future e commerce expansion or solution

In past few years it is seen that revenues of e commerce has increased worldwide and it will keep increasing in future. Global expansion strategy of retailers is changing with online shopping and new paths to growth can be seen by introducing e commerce systems. In order to earn relatively quick revenues growth, most of retail organizations are expanding their online presence by migrating to marketplaces (Taylor and England, 2006). With evolution in consumer preference, laws and infrastructure it can be seen that global e commerce is thriving and a growth of 13 % annually is seen in e commerce market over past years. Online channels are helping retailers in their expansion as it is a way through which organizations can build brands, learn more about consumers and tap into growth market. This form of expansion is cheaper than traditional form as there is no requirement of space for shop and there is no need of hiring employee.           

Analyse the design of e commerce solution  

There are various end user requirements for designing a e commerce system for Office Stop and to resolve current limitation & address various solution an e commerce system is proposed. E commerce system for Office Stop will be in form of website which will help them in automating various processes, providing efficient communication, enabling consumers to place orders online and improve their marketing or advertising techniques (Smith and Correa, 2005). This system will contain detailed information of all the products which are sold online and would consist of various alternative & flexible modes of payment. Designed system would be available 24 hours a day and is more secure like other e commerce systems. It is easy to use and with adequate training staff would be able to update systems according to requirement of customers or company. This system must contain secure & robust database management system which would help company in manipulating and holding data. In order to handle necessary day to day transactions this system contains automatic procedures such as calculation of total sales and amount due on orders. When order is received by customers it generates automatic invoices and acknowledgement letters (Peterson, 2005). Designed e commerce system is simple & easy to use and its interface is user friendly & user intuitive. This system provides access rights such as read & writes only to relevant personal only.

Suitability of e commerce system for Office Stop

There are various types of benefits such as direct benefits, indirect benefits and intangible benefits which can be gained by company from proposed e commerce system. These benefits are explained in detail below:

Direct benefits

  • Cash flow of company can be increased as new system will triple the number of orders of customers.
  • Overall revenue and profitability can be increased by 20% with this system (Lubbe, 2003).
  • Personal salary bill will be reduced.
  • Market share of company will increase.

Indirect benefits

  • Accuracy of customer order information will be increased.
  • Errors of deliver will be reduced which ultimately decrease cost (Cather, Morris and Wilkinson, 2001).
  • More customers will be attracted due to ease of use and user friendly e commerce system.

Intangible benefits

  • Position of Office stop will improve in market which results in adding more customers and increasing number of sales.

Conclusion

For development of an organization and increasing their market share it is necessary to implement e commerce system. There are various advantages and disadvantages of this system but it will help an organization to attract more customers and increase their number of sales. Expansion of this system will help an organization to gain more opportunities and increase their market potential. For designing an e commerce solution for an organization it is necessary to understand basic end requirements of user.

References

  • Cather, H., Morris, R. and Wilkinson, J., 2001. Business Skills for Engineers and Technologists. Newnes.
  • Dawson, A., 2002. Supply chain technology. Work Study. 51(4).
  • Dhillon, G., Coss, D. and Hackney, R., 2001. Interpreting the role of disruptive technologies in e-businesses. Logistics Information Management. 14(1/2).
  • Fraser, J., Fraser, N. and McDonald, F., 2000. The strategic challenge of electronic commerce. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal. 5(1), 
  • Gregoire J., 2013. Amazon Web stores review. [Blog]. [Online]. Available through:
  • Lubbe, S., 2003. The Economic and Social Impacts of E-commerce. Idea Group Inc.
  • Peterson, W. A., 2005. ICT and e-business skills and training in Europe: towards a comprehensive European e-skills reference framework : final synthesis report. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
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