Electronic commerce is the exchange of information, goods, services, integration of payment systems and the development and maintenance of web-based relations, Therefore electronic commerce can be extended to include items such as the intranet, extranet, and electronic data interchange.
The advent of e-business has ushered myriad of opportunities especially in the manner that businesses are conducted. These changes have altered how organizations acquire wealth and enhance shareholder value. Through e-commerce, organizations can streamline their business processes through improving its customer service. Such a paradigm shift is the main driving force that is luring companies to embrace e-commerce (Kim 2001).
However, as the company integrates electronic commerce in its operational processes, they must do some with a lot of caution since the e-commerce road is littered with abundant obstacles ranging from failing systems to information security (Kannan 2013). It is, therefore, paramount that organization must view e-commerce initiative as an integral part of its strategic, operational objective. Besides, the enterprise should carefully evaluate its customer and competitor base, as part of strategic thinking, to reap fruitful benefits (Williams 2012).
Cookies Limited is famous with is the wide range of delicious cookies. Currently, the company only has a store in the city, and all transactions are processed through conventional transaction management applications with a desktop computer. With increasing business demands, it is ideal for the company to shift its strategy through a robust e-commerce initiative (Girthoffer 2008). We are therefore proposing that the company converts its business to be customer-centric and data driven for enhanced operational visibility.
We are proposing that Cookies limited should have a web presence that will drive more sales and at the time improve their customer service. The proposed solution will come with two primary requirements:
The proposed solution will come with a membership that allows consumers to rate and review cookie products, and the system will also assist in tracking the shopping history of each registered member.
The proposed system will be a web based solution. The company will come up with a web portal that will enable customers to register their details and payment information. Some of the essential information that will be collected from the client will include; full names, date of birth, location, allergies, contacts and payment details.
Names: They will mainly be used to identify the customer and assign them a unique identifier in the system that shall be used to determine specific customers whenever they log into the system. This unique identifier will have a relationship with the systems database, and it can be used to notify the customer of new products or promotional activities.
Cookies are perishable products, and it is, therefore, proper that such items are only shipped to realistic locations. For instance, if the main store is located in New York, it is impractical to export cookies to a customer located in far away overseas destination such as Tokyo.
They are also important in the sense that the company does not shift wrong food items to a customer because such a move is likely to dent the company’s reputation.
They will be in the form of e-mail and telephone numbers that will be used to notify the customers when their products are likely to arrive. The connections can also be used to communicate with the clients in case of any discrepancies being detected when doing the ordering.
They will be through credit/debit card numbers, and the company will use the payment details for billing purposes only.
The information will be stored in an SQL database. The database will be stored in two different locations. The information will be retained locally and a replica will be stored externally in a cloud environment.
The customer will play a fundamental role in products ingredients. Customers will be allowed to give suggestions on how the cookies last taste can be improved. The customers will be allowed to sample new products before they are finally introduced into the market. Courtesy of a proactive web portal, customers will be given an opportunity to incorporate the final product design (Kossiur 2007).
The customers will be invited on a regular basis to try out the new products and also accorded a chance to give suggestion on how to make the product better. The suggestion that will be allowed will include taste, size, and price. When this information is collected and analyzed by the company executives, it becomes easier to negotiate with the company’s suppliers since the organization can anticipate the supply and demand curve (Baltzan & Phillips 2011).
This particular application will come with a recommender technology that embeds artificial intelligence and customer analytics. The recommendation system is going to be designed in such a manner that it predicts what a customer is likely to buy alongside particular products. For instance, if a customer orders some chocolate cookies, the recommender system recommends that the customer should purchase a diet soda. In such a scenario, the recommender system will also work as a reminder for customers, because, it is common for clients to order cookies, yet they forget that they need an additional item such as a drink (Thomas 2015).
The recommender system will have to be programmed to analyze the customer’s specific buying behaviors. Items in the cookie store will be categorized and matched alongside things that are frequently bought with specific products. Besides, customer buying habits will also be monitored by the recommender system, so that the customers purchasing habits are stored in the database (Kalloniatis 2012).
Even though an electronic commerce initiative is a vibrant undertaking in any organization, there are also challenges as well, which if not properly taken care of, is likely to jeopardize the entire operations of the company. One of the problems inherent with electronic commerce is power outages.
To address such a concern, I am proposing that the organization should deploy an automated generator system. The generator will automatically switch on itself in the case of a blackout, and the generated energy will be used to power on the entire office including pieces of equipment such as computers, servers, routers, and the lighting systems. Besides the generators, we will also have automated power backups systems that come with the capacity to serve the entire company energy demands for up to 48 hours. We have given it a time of 48 hours, because, in case that the generator runs out of diesel in the middle of the night with no support staff available, the backup systems can take over. If a blackout happens during a weekend, the systems can continue to run up to the next business day.
Information security is a matter of concerns to all organizations regardless of size or geographical distribution. Most of the e-commerce companies usually hold sensitive customer information’s such Social Security numbers, credit/debit card information, and related medical records. When such information gets onto the wrong hands, there is a tendency that they can be misused. A good example is when credit/debit card information are stolen and sold through black market websites such as silk road and alpha bay, or even used in unauthorized purchases by third party masquerading as genuine card holders (Straub, Goodman, Baskerville 2008).
I am therefore proposing that the deployed system should use the latest Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protection mechanisms from VeriSign Company that develops online security solutions in line with industry best practices. Besides, other company equipment such as database server will also be protected using proactive security solutions and mechanisms, and the company will also deploy a security policy whereby items such as passwords are continuously changed to ensure customer information confidentiality (Schoenfield 2014).
Even though electronic commerce is a costly venture, the outcomes are worth the effort. Therefore it is pretty important that any company that wants to increase its market share should have a web presence. However, the challenges such as power outages and information security must all be addressed for any e-commerce venture to be considered as a success.
Baltzan, P. and Phillips, A., 2011. Information systems. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Girthoffer, G., 2008. Electronic commerce. Denver, CO: National Conference of State Legislatures.
Kalloniatis, C., 2012. Modern information systems. Rijeka, Croatia: InTech.
Kannan, V.R., 2013. Corporate strategy. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger.
Kim, W., 2001. The human society and the Internet: Internet-related socio-economic issues: First International Conference Human. 2001, Seoul, Korea, July 4-6, 2001: proceedings. Berlin: Springer.
Kosiur, D.R., 2007. Understanding electronic commerce. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Press.
Schoenfield, B.S.E., 2014. Securing systems: applied security architecture and threat models.
Straub, D.W., Goodman, S.E., and Baskerville, R., 2008. Information security: policy, processes, and practices. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.
Thomas, P., 2015. Artificial intelligence. Farmington Hills, MI: Lucent Books.
Williams, B., 2012. Web-based business. Place of publication not identified: Orient Paperbacks.
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