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Benefits and problems of e-commerce in retailing

Questions:

What Is The Significance For Incorporating E-Commerce Activity In Retailing?

What Are The Essential Problems Associated With The Application Of E-Commerce Application In Retail Activities?

What Are The Effective Solutions That Can Be Brought About For Addressing The Problems Concerning The Application Of E-Commerce In Retailing?

The advent and growth of internet has significantly contributed in the growth of electronic commerce and online retailing activity both along the Asian and other developed economies of Europe and America. However, the same is also observed to account for the growth of security issues that potentially affect the service potential of the e-commerce retail firms and also the customer satisfaction levels (Crew & Brennan, 2014).

The research activity is divided along different parts like identification of the research problem with also highlighting the research aims and objectives. Subsequently it also focuses on conducting an empirical research while also formulating research methodologies for carrying out the research activity. It would also focus on identification of the budget and time required for accomplishment of the project.

The development and growth of e-commerce and online retailing activities has contributed to the generation of potential advantages for both the retail institutions on one hand while also helped in servicing the needs of customers in a potential fashion thereby enhancing the level of customer experiences and satisfaction. However, the retail institutions tend to suffer from a growing level of security threat owing to the existence of unauthenticated purchasers or customers and also in terms of growth of different types of online security leaks amounting to growth of hacking activities, malware and virus intrusion and also the Denial of Service or DOS attacks. The e-commerce and online retailing companies are thereby required to continually innovate and develop on their security aspects for generation of effective services to customers in an enhanced fashion (Paulos, 2015).

The research is required to be constructed for understanding the fashion in which e-commerce is incorporated in the activities of the retail institutions. It would thereby focus on understanding the different benefits and problems concerning the application of e-commerce in retailing. Further, it would also highlight on the different solutions that can be generated thereof for addressing the problems concerning e-commerce application in retail.

The objectives of the research activity are highlighted as under.

  • To understand the need for incorporating e-commerce in retail applications.
  • To reflect on the benefits concerning the application of e-commerce in retail.
  • To understand and evaluate on the problems concerning the incorporation of e-commerce in the retail sphere.
  • To reflect on the potential solutions for addressing the problems concerning the application of e-commerce in retail.

The project earns justification in that it aims in understanding the emergence and growth of different security issues concerning the online retailing activities conducted by the different e-commerce retailing institutions. The existence of gross security issues is observed to significantly affect the efficiency and productivity of the retail institutions while it also tends to affect the level of customer satisfaction and experience (Vallabhaneni, 2013). The research project thus potentially focuses on understanding and reflecting on the different types of security issues concerning online and electronic commerce while also focuses on generating effective solutions thereof.

Solutions to the problems of e-commerce in retailing

The research activity focuses on generating different outcomes associated with the undertaking of the research project.

  • The conducting of the research project would contribute in understanding the different types of e-commerce applications in retail
  • It would also help in understanding and reflecting on the different benefits and challenges associated with the application of e-commerce in the retail sphere.
  • Finally, the research activity would also help in highlighting the different solutions that can be brought about for reducing the impacts of e-commerce problems in retail activities.

The development and growth of e-commerce in the retail can be effectively evaluated concerning the growth of e-commerce and online retail sales in the European retail sector. The amount of online retail sales in Europe is taken to amount to Euros 191 billion by the close of 2017 from Euros 112 billion during 2012. The growth in the amount of online retail sales along the five year period is taken to achieve a compounded growth rate of around 11 percent. The online and e-commerce retailing activity is taken to govern a significant share of the total retail sales pertaining to different European regions like United Kingdom, Germany and France along the stated period. The growth of online retailing activity pertaining to different European regions compared along two periods 2012 and 2017 are reflected as follows.

The e-commerce potential of the retail institutions is evaluated in terms of the level of attractiveness, infrastructural potential and other developments in the regulatory and retailing aspects (In, 2016).

The growth and development of internet usage along different markets both Asian and European has largely contributed in the growth of e-commerce oriented retailing activity. Internet usage among the Asian consumers is observed to gain a significant increase compared to other retail consumers residing along European and North American markets. Subsequently the development and growth of broadband retailing activity contributed in easier and faster downloads that in turn helped in the successful of e-commerce and e-tailing websites. Along with the development of e-commerce and online retailing the level of security concerns gained emphasis that accounted for bringing about needed security solutions. Subsequently the development of mobile commerce generated an extended arm to the growth of e-commerce and online commerce (Fernie, Fernie, & Moore, 2015).

The development and growth of electronic commerce and online retailing is evaluated to generate potential benefits to customers. Customers earned benefits owing to the existence of lower prices generated by retailers with also the generation of large number of product choices. Similarly, the development and growth of online commerce and retailing also contributed in helping the retail institutions gain effective access to foreign markets and in gaining higher retail productivity. Growth and development of online retailing also accounting for generation of sustainable and greener retailing with also the generation of optimized solutions regarding delivery of products thereby benefiting the larger society. Similarly, the advent of e-commerce and online retailing also helps in enhancing the competitive edge of the retail institutions associated with the generation of effective customer services and also in the generation of a seamless retailing platform enabling greater communication (Crew & Brennan, 2014).

Objectives of the research

Development of online retailing activity potentially contributes in helping the customers earn greater visibility to product catalogues while it also helps the retail institutions in generating greater control over sales and purchases activity conducted through the use of the online platform. Like customers the retailers can also earn cost advantages in terms of reduction in level of inventory management costs while operating based on the online framework. Online retailing activities also contribute in generation of increased brand awareness for the products and services while also helping the retailers gain and evaluate information associated to purchasing and shopping habits of customers (Management Association, 2017). 

The development and use of electronic commerce activity in the retail sphere though tends to reflect potential advantages yet it reflects the existence of potential challenges underlined as follows.

The e-commerce companies suffer from increasing threat associated to the lack of effective verification measures. The retail institutions only earn a limited amount of information associated to customers for which they fail to ascertain the authenticity level of customers. The same accounts for increased revenue losses for the e-commerce companies in cases where the customers turn out to be false in nature (Wei, 2014).

Returns generated by customers account for increased amount of costs associated to shipment and logistics. It also affects the brand value of the retail institutions.

Again, lack of effective integration between different systems like order management, customer support, dispatch and also order tracking tends to affect the effectiveness of the services provided to customers. It thereby affects the level of customer satisfaction and experiences (Paulos, 2015).

The retail institutions involved in the generation of online retailing activity are observed to suffer from a potential challenge owing to growth in the level of switching costs. It is observed that around 86 percent of customers tend to shift from one e-commerce Company to another in search for better and prompt services in a seamless setting, existence of large number of product assortments and also existence of effective discounts.

The online retailing services are also observed to suffer from the incidence of potential security threats owing to reduction of cyber security and growth of hacking activities like teardrop attacks, attacks concerning brute force, plashing and also the Denial of Service (DOS) attacks. The incidence of DOS attacks affects the normal operations and the server (Rezaei, 2017).

The authentication issues concerning customers can be aptly addressed by the retail institutions through the generation of textual and e-mail messages to them. Likewise the generation of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) by the retail institutions can further enhance the level of authentication in case of cash-on-delivery orders.

Online retailing activities in Europe

Development of an effective seamless platform contributes in helping the retail institutions sustain potential relationship with logistics partners, vendor firms and customers. The same helps in effective management of customer returns.

Incorporation of the right quality of customer servicing and customer management systems potentially helps the retail institutions in sustaining effective relationship with the customers and also in addressing their queries and complaints in an effective and responsive fashion (Vallabhaneni, 2013).

The e-commerce companies are required to operate in terms of involving the parameters of innovation in their services and product portfolio such that the same helps in both attracting and retaining potential customers. The development of apps for Smartphones and tabs contribute in generation of a seamless environment for servicing consumer needs. Similarly, the estimation of customer retention scores also contribute in effective understanding of the feasibility of the customer servicing platforms and thereby in generating effective recommendations thereof (Al-Hamami, 2014).

Incorporation of the Security Sockets Layer (SSL) acts as an effective multiple security measure and two-factor level of authentication serves as a potential solution to the security problem concerning e-commerce applications. Similarly, the incorporation of effective payment options like credit cards and other alternative methods like Bitcoin and also cryptocurrencies further contribute in reducing the level of threat emerging from vulnerability of use of credit and debit cards (Ghosh, 2012).

The research is to be conducted based on the employment of both Interpretivism and also the use of Positivism research philosophy.

Employment of Interpretivism research paradigm requires the researcher for development of unstructured or open ended questionnaires such that the same would contribute in generation of in-depth inferences in a narrative and qualitative fashion. An elucidated understanding would be gained based on the different problems associated with the e-commerce incorporation in retail and also effective solutions to such. The inferences gained based on the use of interpretivism research being elucidatory are qualitative in nature and would potentially address the research objectives  (Hussein, 2009).

The employment of Positivism research philosophy requires the researcher to focus on the development of structured or close ended questionnaires such that the same contributes in the generation of specific and quantitative inferences. Further, positivism research encourages the researcher for incorporating statistical and other diagrammatic tests involving graphs and charts for generation and elucidation of quantitative inferences. It would contribute in addressing the research hypotheses  (Hammer, 2015).

In terms of research technique the research activity potentially focuses on the incorporation of both inductive and deductive research techniques.

E-commerce potential of the retail institutions

Incorporation of Inductive Research technique management the researcher to study a number of different books, journals and other online articles available in association with the research issue. The study of different literary sources contributes in the development of theoretical models and aspects that in turn generates novel theories relating to the research issue. Empirical research carried out through the study of theories and models contributes in development of a conceptual model associated to the understanding of the problems and its impacts regarding e-commerce applications in retail business  (Gioia, Corley, & Hamilton, 2013).

Application of deductive research technique requires the researcher to develop research hypotheses and thereby focus on the incorporation of quantitative research tools like statistical and diagrammatic tools for proving the research hypotheses thus constructed. Use of deductive research technique contributes in the generation of specific research inferences  (Cortina, Aguinis, & DeShon, 2017).

The research activity associated with the understanding of the problems and the impact of problems regarding e-commerce application in retail business is focused on being conducted through the use of different types of research designs like secondary, primary and triangulated research.

The employment of secondary research requires the researcher to study different secondary literary sources like books, journals and other online articles associated to the research topic. Application of secondary research helps the researcher to gain access to qualitative resources in a timely fashion and also in a cost effective manner. It also helps in the gaining of authentic and empirical inferences associated with the research issue  (Parker, Morgeson, & Johns, 2017).

Application of primary research requires the researcher to focus on the development of unstructured and structured questionnaire sets for conducting of interviews and survey respectively. The conducting of interviews associated to focus groups potentially contributes in the generation of qualitative data and narrative inferences highlighting the perceptions of the respondents regarding the research issue. Survey activity is conducted through surveying a large population of respondents such that it helps in the generation of specific and quantitative inferences that would help in addressing the research hypotheses. Conducting of primary research though contributes in the generation of current inferences yet is observed to be both costly in nature and also that which requires greater time  (Venable, Pries-Heje, & Baskerville, 2016).

Finally, the combination of both qualitative and quantitative research aspects reflects on the application of triangulated research. The application of triangulated research contributes in enhancing the quality of the research activity and generation of both elucidatory and specific inferences associated with the research issue  (Wolf & Floyd, 2013).

Security issues concerning online and electronic commerce

Data collection associated with the interview research activity requires the researcher to focus on the incorporation of effective quality microphones and also pen and paper for collection of interview transcripts associated to the research issue. Further, data collection associated to interview based research also requires the development of unstructured questionnaire that contributes in undertaking of interview of focused group respondents  (Wright, Wahoush, Gabel, & Jack, 2016).

Again, data collection associated to survey research activity requires the development of structured questionnaire sets that would help in the conducting of survey and generation of specific and quantitative research inferences. The structured questionnaire sets are distributed through the use of physical and online mailing system and also through the use of survey monkey as an online data collection tool  (McCarthy, Wagner, & Sanders, 2017).

The requirement for development of focused groups regarding the conducting of interview requires the application of non-probability sampling styles like the convenience sampling style for collection of sample respondents. The convenience sampling technique would contribute in the generation of a sampling population encompassing around 20 managerial respondents from the middle and higher managerial level in the retail industries. It would help in the selection of managerial respondents in a random fashion from a larger population of managerial respondents  (Etikan, Musa, & Sunus, 2016).

Again, the sample population for the conducting of survey activity would require the use of probability sampling styles like the stratified random sampling approach. The application of stratified random sampling requires the researcher for collection of sample respondents in a random fashion from two different strata sets like staffs and customers of retail institutions and enterprises. A total of 100 respondents would be chosen from the two strata sets for the generation of the survey population. Application of the stratified random sampling style potentially helps in reduction of emergence of sampling errors as is observed in case of use of simple random approach of sampling  (Cekim & Kadilar, 2017).   

The collection of qualitative data sets associated to the research issue requires the researcher to focus on the generation of codes through the identification of words and phrases that help in highlighting different themes like ‘e-commerce’, ‘retail institutions and stores’, ‘application of e-commerce in retail’, ‘problems and benefits of e-commerce application in retail’ and ‘solutions to problems regarding e-commerce application in retail’. Generation of different codes rightly helps in evaluating relationship and association between the different codes and thereby in finding qualitative correlation between such for addressing the research objectives  (Gioia, Corley, & Hamilton, 2013).

Challenges associated with electronic commerce activity in retail sphere

On the contrary, the collection of quantitative data sets associated to the research issue requires the tabulation of the quantitative data sets in excel and thereby in incorporating statistical and diagrammatic tools for gaining of needful inferences. A five point likert scale is required to be developed associated with the different structured questionnaires such that potential responses in the form of percentage of responses associated to the different themes would be gained and tabulated in excel sheet for being subjected to statistical and diagrammatic tools. The quantitative inferences thus gained would be reflected in the form of charts and graphs for helping in effectively addressing the research objectives  (Wright, Wahoush, Gabel, & Jack, 2016).

The undertaking of focused interviews and survey activity requires the researcher for aptly meeting the objectives of research ethics. The researcher is required to firstly let the respondents understand the rationale behind conducting the research activity. The respondents are required to understand the manner in which the research conducted would help in generating needed awareness regarding problems concerning application of e-commerce to retail business and solutions to be generated thereof. Understanding the rationale regarding conducting of the research activity would contribute in the generation of needed support and also in the gaining of needful inferences for fulfilling the research questions and objectives  (Graf, 2017).

Further, the researcher is also required to ideally reflect and generate a written statement to the respondents stating that the personal information of the respondents and also the inferences generated by them would not be published in a printed and online fashion without gaining due permission from them. The same would help in enhancing the level of trust and commitment of the respondents regarding generation of potential and effective inferences for aptly addressing the research topic  (Graf, 2017).

The research study is organised in terms of different steps highlighted as follows. The study is initiated in terms of highlighting the problem statement concerning the conducting of the research. It would then highlight on the different aims and objectives concerning conducting of the research activity with also reflecting on the research questions. Further, an empirical research based activity is required to be constructed through the involvement of different literary aspects concerning study of books, journals and other online literary sources such that the same would contribute in the generation of a conceptual diagram. Subsequently research hypotheses is constructed while methodological aspects concerning the conducting of the research is required to be formulated for gaining of effective inferences for addressing the research issue. The study also focuses on highlighting the cost and time required for conducting the research.

Effective solutions

The project budget for carrying out the research activity is rendered as follows.

Task

Contents

Budget

Identification of Problem Statement and Research Objectives

Identifying the problem for which the research activity is generated. Generation of research objectives in bullet form

$50

Empirical Research and Literature Review

Carry out research through consultation of journals, books and other online articles associated to e-commerce and online retailing

$200

Development of Conceptual Framework

Development of a Conceptual Model based on Inferences gained from Empirical Research

$100

Formulation of Research Methodology

Identification of research methods, designs, techniques, process of data collection and sampling and also techniques for conducting data analysis.

$300

Total Cost

$650

The project schedule is reflected in the form of a Gantt Chart rendered as follows.

Serial No

Tasks

September

October

November

1

2

3

4

5

1

2

3

4

5

1

2

3

4

1

Identification of the Research Problem

2

Identification of Research Aims and Objectives

3

Setting justification for conducting research

4

Conducting of Literature review and development of Conceptual Diagram

5

Framing of Research

Methodology

6

Collection of effective data sets through conducting of interview and survey

7

Data Analysis through Coding and use of Diagrammatic Tools

8

Identification of research budgets

9

Generation of conclusions

10

Final drafting and submission of Research Report

References

Al-Hamami, A. H. (2014). Handbook of Research on Threat Detection and Countermeasures in Network Security. United Kingdom : IGI Global.

Cekim, H. O., & Kadilar, C. (2017). Hartley Ross type unbiased estimators using the stratified random sampling. Hacettepe Journal of Mathematics and Statistics , 46 (2), 165-176.

Cortina, J. M., Aguinis, H., & DeShon, R. P. (2017). Twilight of Dawn or of Evening? A Century of Research Methods in the Journal of Applied Psychology. Journal of Applied Psychology , 102 (3), 274-290.

Crew, M. A., & Brennan, T. J. (2014). Postal and Delivery Innovation in the Digital Economy. United Kingdom : Springer.

Etikan, I., Musa, S. A., & Sunus, R. (2016). Comparison of Convenience Sampling and Purposive Sampling. American Journal of Theoretical and Applied Statistics , 5 (1), 1-4.

Fernie, J., Fernie, S., & Moore, C. (2015). Principles of Retailing. New York : Routledge .

Ghosh, A. K. (2012). E-Commerce Security and Privacy. United Kingdom : Springer.

Gioia, D. A., Corley, K. G., & Hamilton, A. L. (2013). Seeking Qualitative Rigor in Inductive Research: Notes on the Gioia Methodology. Organizational Research Methods , 16 (1), 15-31.

Graf, C. (2017). The Pillars of Publication Ethics and Research Integrity: Spread the Word. Chinese Medical Journal , 130 (12), 1502-1504.

Hammer, M. R. (2015). The Developmental paradigm for intercultural competence research. International Journal of Intercultural Relations , 48, 12-13.

Hussein, A. (2009). The use of Triangulation in Social Sciences Research: Can qualitative and quantitative methods be combined? Journal of Comparative Social Work , 1-12.

In, L. (2016). Encyclopedia of E-Commerce Development, Implementation, and Management, Volume 1. United Kingdom : IGI Global.

Management Association. (2017). Mobile Commerce: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications. United Kingdom : IGI Global .

McCarthy, J., Wagner, J., & Sanders, H. L. (2017). The Impact of Targeted Data Collection on Nonresponse Bias in an Establishment Survey: A Simulation Study of Adaptive Survey Design. Journal of Official Statistics , 33 (3), 857-871.

Parker, S. K., Morgeson, F. P., & Johns, G. (2017). One Hundred Years of Work Design Research: Looking Back and Looking Forward. Journal of Applied Psychology , 102 (3), 403-420.

Paulos, B. (2015). The Legal Architecture for E-Commerce in Ethiopia: Lessons from the EU Experiences. United States : diplom.de.

Rezaei, S. (2017). Apps Management and E-Commerce Transactions in Real-Time. United Kingdom : business.

Vallabhaneni, S. R. (2013). Wiley CIA Exam Review 2013, Internal Audit Knowledge Elements. United Kingdom : John Wiley and Sons.

Venable, J., Pries-Heje, J., & Baskerville, R. (2016). FEDS: a Framework for Evaluation in Design Science Research. European Journal of Information Systems , 25, 77-89.

Wei, J. (2014). Mobile Electronic Commerce: Foundations, Development, and Applications. United Kingdom : CRC Press.

Wolf, C., & Floyd, S. W. (2013). Strategic Planning Research: Toward a Theory-Driven Agenda. Journal of Management , 30 (10), 1-35.

Wright, A. L., Wahoush, O., Gabel, C., & Jack, S. ,. (2016). Qualitative Health Research Involving Indigenous Peoples: Culturally Appropriate Data Collection Methods. The Qualitative Report , 21 (12), 2230-2245

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