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Task 1:

Questions:

Scenario:

A2Z Cosmetics is a newly established innovative fashion and cosmetics business facing several challenges to capture their possible share from the market. In a rapidly- changing industry, their future business is uncertain as a new entrant in the fashion industry.

The management team is really keen to work on their marketing strategy to counter a highly competitive environment due to experienced and existing businesses. In order to structure a new e-business strategy, the shareholders of the company have decided to appoint an e-business consultant (with sound e-marketing experience). The consultant would work toward building the online presence of the business for better sales, improved marketing and brand development.

The management team want to know how e-commerce and e-business technologies could be used to improve the company’s operations alongside sales-growth. The chief executive, J. Simon, needs a report with answers of the questions illustrated below from you to convince Board of Directors for their new e-business project, presenting with an e-commerce website template of the company.

Task 1:

a) Discuss the environment in which e-business is conducted and describe various e-business transaction types.

Guidance: In this question, you are expected to describe the environment in which ‘A2Z Cosmetics’ should conduct its e-business and give examples of at least two business transaction types that you are familiar with.

b) Explain the benefits and barriers to a business considering its online presence.

Guidance: You have been asked to explain the benefits and barriers faced by ‘A2Z Cosmetics’. Your answer will be more effective if you can outline and discuss the possible benefits and challenges likely to be faced by the company.

c) Assess the security and legislative issues facing the online business of ‘A2Z Cosmetics’.

Guidance: In this question, you are expected to write what can be expected during online transactions and how legislations and various security measures attempt to minimise risks.

d) State different modes of communication available to an e-business and their applications.

Guidance: Your answer to this question should identify different ways that can be used for communication when carrying out a business online. Your answer may include examples such as the role of shopping carts, FAQs and email etc. in e-commerce.

Task 2:

a) Explain relevant internet technologies and their importance in making an e-business successful.

Guidance: Your answer should identify some examples of internet technologies and explain their importance in making an e-business successful. Your examples may include the concept of packet switching and the need for using standard internet protocols when communicating over the internet, including consideration about how this affects e-business world-wide.

b) Explain the main features of HTML.

Guidance: In this question, you are expected to produce a basic Hypertext Mark -up Language document coding structure and explain the main features and purpose of various sections in the structure.

c) Analyse the functions of clients, servers and browsers. Also discuss the role of search engines and its application for ‘A2Z Cosmetics’.

Guidance: Your answer to this question may be more effective if you can illustrate with a suitable diagram of Client-Server architecture and explain its associated benefits. Your answer should also describe major functions of browsers, and search engines and their role in an e-business.

d) Evaluate the use of intranets and extranets within business communications.

Guidance: Your answer to this question should explain intranets and extranets and their importance in facilitating business communication. Your answer may also explain under what circumstances you would encourage a company such as ‘A2Z Cosmetics’ to adopt and use intranet and/or extranet.

Task 3:

a) Illustrate different e-business models that can be used to generate revenue for a business.

Guidance: Your answer to this question can be more effective if you can describe the main e-business models with examples.

b) Compare and contrast two models by assessing the benefits and challenges. Analyse each model in terms of its capacity to generate revenue.

Guidance: Your answer should explain to what extent both e-business models can help ‘A2Z Cosmetics’ to generate revenue.

c) Report on future developments in e-business models.

Guidance: In this question, you need to suggest any possible potential future developments in e-business models. Give reasons to justify your suggestions.

Task 4:

a) Use key elements of good website design structure.

Guidance: Taking into consideration the new project goal proposed for ‘A2Z Cosmetics’, use a suitable template to design a simple Prototype Home webpage for the organization website. Give reasons or rationale of adopting the proposed website structure from a customer’s perspective.

b) Evaluate the impact of a well-designed website on an e-business.

Guidance: Using Amazon’s website (www.amazon.co.uk) as an example, explain why it would be important for the company to have a well-designed website.

c) Report on the issues concerning website usability.

Guidance: Using the example of Amazon website (www.amazon.co.uk), your answer may focus on evaluating the issues concerning website usability.

Your discussion may include website’s potential to meet the needs of different customers (e.g. parents, children, accessibility for the visually impaired etc).

Task 2:

Electronic business is the process of conducting business on the internet that comprises of both buying and selling of goods and services along with processing payments and sharing information. It also collaborates with the business partners and controls and manages the production and is also focused on redefining relationships between organizations and individuals as well as among organizations (Al-Qirim, 2006). In this technologically savvy and fashion trendy world, many organizations opt for e-business for getting in contact with a huge number of customers at a time. In this busy world, customers in order to avoid the hustle and bustle of the market place as well as to save time opt for e-business for collecting information regarding the company as well as buying or selling products at a time (Foster, 2012).

This assignment will be elaborately discussing about the structure of the e-business strategy that A2Z Cosmetics will be adopting for better and improved marketing, sales as well as development of the brand. This will be including the benefits, barriers of online presence along with security issues and different e-business models.

a) Conduction of e-business in the Environment

Since the A2Z Cosmetics is a new business of fashion and cosmetics, it will be facing several problems in the e-business environment in the already congested market of fashion and cosmetic products. With the advancement of the technology and innovation of modern tools, the company needs to work in a dynamic environment where it needs to keep its strategies flexible (Boone and Kurtz, 2011). This is because; it will help the company to change according to the change in strategies in order to keep up the pace with the demands of the customers as well as suppliers and other competitors. Moreover, the environment also need to be technologically up to the mark and well equipped with all the modern amenities to facilitate the conduction of e-business successfully. 

Immediate Payments- This type of transaction is a simple process where the customer when place an order and their card details gets valid due to accessibility of money gets checked (Miller and Engemann, 2014). The customer can no longer spend the money elsewhere and the bank will be debiting the money from the card. Ex- purchasing a book directly from the online store by directly paying money through card.

Deferred payments- This kind of transaction works where the card details of the customers are checked and a shade is put on the account of the customers. Here also the customers cannot spend the money anywhere but the deferred transactions are not propelled to the bank for ending of the transaction and can only be completed when released manually (Shi and Murthy, 2003). Ex- purchasing a book and paying for it later by shading the card to the online company.

Benefits

Worldwide presence- A2Z Cosmetics will be getting an added advantage on e-business since the company will become globally present. In this technology and internet driven world, people generally opt for organizations that have e-business facility in order to place the order for the products anytime and at any place (Alhassan and Enagi, 2014).

Task 3:

Cost effective Promotional and Marketing activities- The promotional and marketing activities of A2Z Cosmetics will be lessened since the information regarding the company and its products can easily be got on the company’s website. The techniques of advertisement such as pay/click advertising where the company pays if the advertisements are viewed by the customers. This helps in reaching the customers easily and acknowledging them with the discounts and offers at the same time thereby reducing the extra costs (Yuksek, 2013).

Competitive Strategy- In order to get a competitive advantage, A2Z Cosmetics need to go online. In this tech savvy world, all the companies prefer going online in order to reach its potential customers and to earn profits. The customers can easily know about the company details along with their services and products and according to their requirement and need opt for the company (Wang and Vaughan, 2014). This will give the company a higher customer database and higher profits thereby will give a competitive advantage over other competitors.

Data security- The A2Z Cosmetics may be facing the problems of security at the time of online transactions. There are certain hackers and email trackers where they track down the customer email id and can hamper the transaction of the customers where both the company and customer will be at a loss (Klatt, 2013). Moreover, the virus attacks can also hamper the database of the company.

Up gradation of the system- With the progression of the technology, the online system of A2Z Cosmetics also need to be upgrade itself to keep a pace with the customer’s demands and the competitive environment (Saebi and Foss, 2014). For keeping the site performance un-interrupting and provide the customers with upgraded news and events, up gradation of the site is essential.

Thought of Intangibility among customers- It is a common belief among the customers to touch the objects that they intend to buy. In online marketing, this facility cannot be obtained (Miller and Engemann, 2014). Customers in order to know the quality and material of the product prefer offline shopping.

With the increase in cases of cybercriminals, the e-business sites need to be much more concerned during online transactions. The hackers track down the emails of the customers during the purchase of a product in an online store and can track down the card details of the customers leading to bankruptcy of the customers as well making a loss to the company by hacking the company’s account (Wang and Vaughan, 2014).

In order to fight with these increasing cybercriminals, there are several laws and legislations that have been taken as safety measures in order to minimize the treats of these. The Federal Trade Commission is in charge of securing online database for detecting the patterns of the cyber crime that leads to investigation and prosecution.  The other measures of securing the online transactions are securing the account and asking additional ways for verifying the business providers, by keeping the passwords unique and strong and best use of the privacy and security settings on the websites (Saebi and Foss, 2014). The online terms policies, laws and conditions need to be read vividly regarding ensuring online contracts, importing or exporting regulations, recoding the obligations of retentions and control regulation of exchange.

Task 4:

Emails- It is considered to be the most important form of electronic communication that helps in keeping a strong communication between the customers and the company. Through emails, company can even receive the feedbacks from the customers or any kind of complaints or thank you letters (Yuksek, 2013). This will help A2Z company in strengthening the relationship with its customers.

Shopping Carts- The shopping carts are another part of effective communication since the company can keep a track on the customer’s buying behavior by seeing the shopping track (Yuksek, 2013). Offers, discounts and even recommendations can be given by the company to the customers based on their choices that will help in knowing the customers well and will also help in gaining the customer loyalty.

FAQs- The FAQs contain the questions that are frequently asked by the clients or the customers regarding the company. This helps in knowing the company well and helps in gaining an effective communication between the company and clients and customers.

Social Networking- The social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter etc help in attracting and gathering the customers for creating account in the websites of the online stores (Alhassan and Enagi, 2014). This helps in facilitating an effective communication between the customers and the company.

In order to make the e-business successful, the full usage of the relevant internet technologies is essential for the e-business of A2Z Cosmetics. The Packet Switching is an important internet technology that is used for making the e-business of A2Z Cosmetics successful and competitive in this overcrowded marketplace. In Packet Switching, small chunks of packet or data are dynamically routed and transferred between layers that make the process secure (Klatt, 2013). The Network Access Layer is solely responsible in putting the data packets onto the given network. The Internet Layer is responsible for assembling as well as dissembling the packets into appropriate sizes in order to address the information into the packets. The Host-to-Host transport layer is the place where the TCP lies. The packet switching works in a real time environment and helps in transmitting the data quickly.

Moreover, the iKP protocols are also designed that provides security in credit card payments thereby making a secured gateway of internet paying. The acquirer and merchant both require unforgettable proofs for the payment and authorization and without the consent of the customer; nothing can be changed (Saebi and Foss, 2014). The Millicent was also designed for transaction of very small; amounts such as cents and the transaction is so made that it is protected and free from any kind of fraud.

The HTML contains a start tag along with the end tag and has content in between these.

The basic structure of HTML is

content

The HTML structure can be well written as

First heading

First paragraph.

The denotes the heading that has as a start tag and end tag. Here the element content is: First heading.

The denotes the paragraph that has as start tag and as end tag. Here the element content is: First paragraph.

Figure 1: Client-Server Architecture

(Source: Yuksek, 2013, pp. 62)

The client-server architecture helps ion communicating between the clients and servers directly on the internet. This facilitates their interaction through Web browser on the client side and Web server on the server side (Alhassan and Enagi, 2014). When a request is sent from client and the server receives a request, a secure connection is established with the computer of the client. Location of requested web page is done that formats in HTTP message and is reverted back to the client via the browser.

The applications of the search engines by A2Z Cosmetics are the killer technologies that play a major role in satisfaction of the customers. It facilitates the users in actively seeking for the products and information according to their requirement. This also facilitates in positioning of the company in the search lists of the customers thereby enabling the customers to get in touch with the company (Miller and Engemann, 2014). This dynamic nature of the search engine also helps in giving updated and accurate information and data to the customers.

The Intranet uses the Internet-based technology such as telnet, e-mail, TCP/IP, HTML, Web browser, HTTP and Web server for a selected number of users for accessing the web server. This helps in reduction of the costs, increased security, scalability, improvement in productivity and servicing the customers well (Foster, 2012). Apart from this, it also helps in increasing the competitiveness and in virtual networking where the employees can get access of the data irrespective of any place. This thereby improves the business communication that facilitates the sharing of information and joint working.  

On the other hand, the Extranet integrates the supply chain that helps in ordering, tracking the order as well managing the inventory online that facilitates the business communication effectively. Moreover, it also reduces the cost by making the online documentation of the technical and manuals for trading with customers and partners. In addition to this, it also improves the customer service by giving a direct access to the customers regarding the information and also is an improved and secured way of communication between the business partners (Boone and Kurtz, 2011). Moreover, the usage of the extranet also allows the staff to get the business information for 24 hours in a day that can be accessed from any location.

a) Different e-business models for generating revenue in a business

Business 2 Business (B2B model) -  The B2B model is quite an effective business model that A2Z Cosmetics can adopt in order to conduct business transactions between companies using internet and to generate revenues. Here, A2Z Cosmetics will be receiving the raw materials as well as finished products from the suppliers at a bulk amount where ordering to payments all are done online (Saebi and Foss, 2014). Ex- A2Z Cosmetics can import the raw materials such as acids, alkalis, antioxidants, amino acid etc. that are essential for manufacturing the cosmetic products. The payments and ordering of the raw materials are done on the online basis.

Business 2 Customers (B2C model) - This model ensures the selling of the products directly to the customers. The whole process of ordering, payments and delivering the products to the customers are done online that also facilitates the tracking of the products by the customers through the company’s website that also helps in generating revenues (Foster, 2012). Ex- A2Z Cosmetics sells the products to the customers where ordering to transactions are done via internet.

Customer 2 Customer (C2C model) - In this model, the company is going to behave as a common place where the customers buy and sell the products as well as pays and receives money through the website (Miller and Engemann, 2014). Here, the website of the company may or may not charge for the services from the customers helping in generating revenues.

The purchasing process of B2B business model is more complex compared to that of B2C model. In B2B business model the members that are included in the decision making process are from the domains of technical, operational, financial as well as business so buying decision depends on the mutual consent of all these concerned people. On B2C model, the customer is only the concerned process in buying the products. The payment procedure of B2B model differs from that the B2C model. In B2B model, the company opens an account in the name of the supplier where it deposits certain amount of money and on purchasing the products from suppliers; the money from that account gets debited. On the other hand, In B2C the customers either make direct or deferred payments for the product or service (Boone and Kurtz, 2011). The B2B process is comparatively a fast process and is more customized towards providing the products in compared to B2C business model. The volume of sales is smaller in B2C model and the sales involve more emotion compared to B2B business model.

With the development of the technology and with the changing demand of the customers and suppliers and also with the changing trend, the e-business models also need to upgrade themselves for future development. A2Z Cosmetics need to customize their sites, strategies and features that go with the customer’s preferences and taste. The company also needs to stay proactive for the unremitting and continuous updating of the technologies for making ease of the customers to navigate through the website as well as placing orders and making payments (Foster, 2012). The more the company will be facilitating these issues, the business models will be upgraded that will be giving ultimate satisfaction to the customers. Moreover, the innovation of the apps will attract more customers since now days, the usages of Smart phones and Iphones have increased to a considerable level.

This will be the proposed website for A2Z Cosmetics. The reason for choosing this webpage for the company is due to its fresh look and innovative look. This webpage on browsing the customers can understand what the company sells and the reason of existence of the company. The “look-book” says something about the upcoming fresh items that are included in the store in the up-coming seasons. “Our Story” says about the company’s evolution and milestones in the market. The “Shop” section contains the items and products from where they can choose products according to their style and passion. The name of the offline stores are given in “where to buy” section and “blog” section is given for jotting down the experience of the customers while shopping through this store.

A well designed website is essential on e-business in order to attract the customers to a great extent and engage the customers in the website of A2Z Cosmetics. This increases the customer database of the company that leads to the increase in revenue collection and get a better position in the search engines. In this technology savvy world, the customers who are concerned with the information related to the company before becoming the customers of it, for them a well designed, well informed website is essential (Al-Qirim, 2006). Moreover, an attractive website also helps in providing the customers with authentic information regarding the company which in return increases the loyalty of the customers towards the company. The visual effect of the website gives a solid impact on the customers and the meaningful content within it also makes the readers or customers happy and content. This leads to the increase in sales and profit of the company.

The website of A2Z Cosmetics need to simple but full of information and can be accessed easily by all the children, parents as well as visually impaired people. There will be a button for the visually impaired people which on clicking; those people can hear the information regarding the website of the company. Every details of the company, its products, ordering of the products, payments everything will be audible to those customers (Shi and Murthy, 2003). This makes the website easy for them to get access. Moreover, the website also contains the user id where verification of age is given to keep a track of the customers whether they are children or parents and displaying the products and according to their age.

Conclusion

This assignment deals with the technological development of e-business site of A2Z Cosmetics in order to have a competitive advantage over other companies on the same domain. In addition to this, the benefits, barriers of the online presence of the company along with the security and legislative issues are also discussed. Moreover the modes of communication, the usage of internet technology, features of HTML along with the extranets and intranets are also discussed. The future models are also discussed along with the benefits and challenges of the e-commerce models.

References

Alhassan, A. and Enagi, M. (2014). Evaluating Collaborative Technologies used by Academics: Case Study of Loughborogh University, UK. International Journal of Computer Applications, 93(19), pp.37-40.

Al-Qirim, N. (2006). Global electronic business research. Hershey, Pa.: Idea Group Pub.

Klatt, T. (2013). E-Commerce Business Models and Search Engine Dependency.iBusiness, 05(03), pp.205-208.

Boone, L. and Kurtz, D. (2011). Contemporary business. United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons.

Foster, A. (2012). Let's integrate - information services, content, technologies and collaboration: The Business Information Survey 2012. Business Information Review, 29(1), pp.9-28.

Foster, A. (2012). Let's integrate - information services, content, technologies and collaboration: The Business Information Survey 2012. Business Information Review, 29(1), pp.9-28.

Miller, H. and Engemann, K. (2014). Using reliability and simulation models in business continuity planning. International Journal of Business Continuity and Risk Management, 5(1), p.43.

Saebi, T. and Foss, N. (2014). Business models for open innovation: Matching heterogenous open innovation strategies with business model dimensions. European Management Journal.

Shi, N. and Murthy, V. (2003). Architectural issues of Web-enabled electronic business. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Pub.

Wang, F. and Vaughan, L. (2014). Firm web visibility and its business value. Internet Research, 24(3), pp.292-312.

Yuksek, G. (2013). Development of information technologies, travel business and case of global distribution system: AMADEUS. Journal of Internet Applications and Management, 4(1), pp.53-68.

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