COLLEGE: MIDDLE EAST COLLEGE
E-COMMERCE (COMP 1008)
The technological revolution, defined here as increased access to and use of the Internet, has transformed the way many companies do business. U.S. businesses are finding that they are no longer constrained by geographic location.
Through e-commerce, they are afforded access to a full range of market opportunities—from local to international—never before achieved. For rural entrepreneurs and small business owners, however, this Internet revolution represents a double-edged sword. While rural businesses can access new market and serve new customers through the effective use of e-commerce, doing so will thrust them into a whole new marketplace where they will experience increased competition from firms and well-established giants, like Amazon.com, that come from well outside of their normal market reach.
In this new competitive e-environment, rural entrepreneurs will need to adopt innovative and informed e-marketing strategies to remain distinct and profitable. As entrepreneurs consider how to use e-commerce as a business development strategy, an effective learning tool can be the experiences of other business owners. Entrepreneurs who implemented e-commerce strategies can provide insights into the opportunities, challenges and potential impacts on the business that e-commerce may provide. In addition, since many business owners seek assistance from service providers who offer counseling and classes, these classes may be used by such intermediaries to help illustrate both the promise and the reality of e-commerce strategies. The purpose of this project was to provide examples of rural businesses that have increased sales, profits, and/or employment, as well as those who have expanded markets and customer relationships by using e-commerce. The classes focus on locally-owned rural businesses as opposed to branch plants or franchises. The selected businesses include rural firms of different sizes and in different stages of business development; bricks-and-mortar stores and virtual businesses; firms focusing e-commerce activity on businesses and those focused on consumers; and firms from different types of rural communities.
To identify potential subjects, the research team have worked with organizations that work directly and indirectly in entrepreneurship and small business development. Through these networks, the research team sent out a request for case study candidates that might be classified as:
1. Traditional, store-front businesses serving local markets that increased their market ranges and sales through e-commerce.
2. Virtual businesses that conduct all of their marketing and sales through e-commerce.
3. Rural businesses that adopted e-commerce primarily to reduce marketing inputs and costs.
4. Rural businesses that use e-commerce primarily for business-to-business (B2B) markets.
5. Rural businesses that use e-commerce primarily for business-to-consumer (B2C) markets.
From the list of potential study candidates developed through this process, the research team completed studies of 25 firms, representing various regions of the country and various industry sectors (e.g., manufacturing, services, and trade). In addition, the team conducted interviews with three service providers who helped some of the case study businesses adopt and use e-commerce. While the case studies represent great diversity and geographic dispersion, they should not be presumed to reflect the e-commerce experience of rural entrepreneurs generally. The lessons learned and the stories they have to tell are meant to be illustrative and informative – to help service providers and entrepreneurs better understand the opportunities and challenges of e-commerce through the real world examples of these business owners.
Answer the following questions:
Task 1: Identify any four businesses/organizations currently practicing e-commerce and identify the EC model(s) being used/ opted by those organizations/businesses.
Task 2: For the identified businesses, discover current software technologies/strategies/techniques being used to promote e-commerce practices.
Task 3: Identify the factors responsible for less EC practice in the country. (At least four factors to identify)
Task 4: What measures can be taken to promote/improve EC practice(s) on technical, social, legal, political, ethical and scholastic grounds and how. (Students are expected to write on any 5 grounds i.e. technical, social, legal, political, ethical and scholastic etc.)
Identifying e-commerce models of the organizations:
The four business organizations that have been chosen to discuss their e-commerce practices across their prevalence in Oman can be categorized as;
Models of Amazon:
Empirically it has been observed that there lies no significant difference between e-commerce and e-business since both of the terms tend operate on the identical inter-changeability of deliverables. In this context, Amazon seems to be the odd one and holds a stark contrast between the modes of inter-changeability of deliverables (Laudon and Traver, 2013). On that note, it can be mentioned that Amazon appears to function both on the Business-to Consumer (B2C) and Business-to-Business (B2B) framework. All across the virtual outlets and especially in Oman, Amazon appears to integrate the fundamental principle of the both the philosophies that back the models. For instance, Amazon enables their prospective sellers to develop their own web page where he/she can place their products, which is supposed to be catered to their consumers. On the other hand, Amazon appears to offer their own deliverables while enabling their consumers to purchase those stuffs directly.
Models of e-Bay:
e-Bay appear to operate through two modes of online sales and those can be categorized as Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) respectively. In this regard, it is an exaggeration to mention that through C2C e-commerce practices of e-Bay, specifically in Omani provinces typically commands the virtual exchange of deliverables between two business organizations. It has been seen that usually the commercial wholesalers and the producers are supposed to adapt this method of trade (Chiu et al. 2014). On the other hand, though it is less prevalent as compared to the prevalent model of practice in Omani provinces, this model is dedicated to govern the virtual encounter between the business concerns and ultimate consumers. The retail sectors and associated traditional trading prevalent across Oman appear to adapt this mode of trade.
Models of Flipkart:
Though it has been established that Flipkart happens to adapt an intricate business structure with nine firms, it has also been derived that Flipkart intends to operate their concern of electronic commerce principally framing it upon both B2C and B2B modes of trade. In order to serve the contextual enquiry, it is imperative to state that the B2C method is more popular in Oman and subsequent provinces due to the prevalence retail-oriented consortium of investors led by a cumulative community of firm managers across the country. This can be depicted as the principal reason to justify the dynamism of virtual encounter that has been prevalent with the business concerns and the ultimate consumers (Fang et al. 2014). Though the marketing experts due to its discontinuous and sporadic nature in the Omani premises have criticized this model of operation, it still has been practiced consistently in those regions mainly due to compatibility with dynamism which is one of the prime requisite for the retail traders.
Models of OLX:
It has been evident from the prevalent performance statistics of OLX, which is dedicated to develop itself as the missing link between the buyers and sellers simply by endowing them with a giant virtual market that it usually adopts a fabricated model of trade with the active participation of both B2B and B2C modes of trade (Huang and Benyoucef, 2013). This has been possible due to the contemporary advent of technological expertise and it has been witnessed that OLX has been able to stimulate the commerce behind the trading trends. Moreover, principally the Omani virtual sellers intends to cope with this two particular models since it usually comes with the insurance that prevents the vulnerable possibilities of jeopardy of the deliverables while a comparatively fecund personalized service.
Discovering current technological strategies to promote e-commerce practices:
It is imperative to adapt potent promotional strategies in order to develop technological expertise in the domains where there has been a prevalence of high importing and installing cost. For instance, preventing the outbreak of digital signature as a trademark of e-commerce might appear effective since it is the principal quotient that might widen the gap while installing e-commerce technologies (Mackey et al. 2015).
Figure: Aspects of Voice Browsing
Source: Mackey et al (2015)
In this regard, e-marketing experts have proposed instalment of certain totems that might rejuvenate the domain of e-commerce.
Engagement with content: It has been discovered that jotting product descriptions sometimes became time consuming and tedious that slackens promised dynamism of practicing the nuances of e-commerce. Moreover, most of the firms might become unable to afford creative teams to develop product descriptions. In this regard, in order to acquire the requisite soundness regarding the involvement of information, Automated Insights Smart Al engines can be recommended to the e-commerce retails by the virtue of which the company can transform the data into succinct product descriptions (Chaffey, 2015). Furthermore, Quill and Lingustat can also be recommended to perform the same purpose.
Engagement with Bots: In order to develop a proper mechanism to generate profound customer engagement while evading the excessive reliance on the archaic click and taps approach towards the marketing campaigns, the companies might be recommended to install Chatbots that appear to introduce a new mode for the customers to engage. It is noteworthy that while enhancing the customer engagement, it also endows the company with a less costly alternative of CTRs since it has been discovered that most of the identical concerns are supposed to invest their entire budget to enhance CTRs (Ngai et al. 2015). This switching to Artificial-Intelligence oriented chatbots usually endow the conversations with more significance and effectiveness against the traditional methods of advertisement and videos.
Advertise with Programmatic: The organizations might be recommended to install Programmatic in order to acquire the requisite soundness regarding the approach towards trading digital display. As per certain statistics against possible surveys, the globally lauded advertising agency Zenith depicts that Programmatic is supposed to transform itself as the mechanism of trading display of the year since it has been able to exhibit a considerable rise in cost efficiency and the subsequent speed (Zhou et al. 2013).
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): Resources like Google Tango can be recommended to install in order to endow the core consumers to opt their product online. For instance, business concerns like Wayfair appear to focus on a virtual application that might endow the core consumers with the ability to place their celestial 3D renderings to their residences directly from the online stores (Niranjanamurthy et al. 2013). Moreover, in the Omani compounds this enjoys a prevalence of Omni-channel retailers’ exhibits true interests regarding the AR and VR soundness as a pivotal part of the policies of customer engagement since it facilitates the establishment of immersive acumens coupled with the desire to increase the footfall of their brick-and-mortar stores while enriching the experiences of virtual trading.
Voice First Browsing: In the advent of voice searches that has been evolved considerably over few years, the business organizations can be recommended to install Millenials love voice search where the core consumers are endowed with the ability to search through Apple AirPods Amazon Echo, and Google home. It has been discovered that the agency hesitate to install those since it might encourage the eradication of screens which is still used as a resort to display advertises. However, considerable emphasis has been imparted on voice browsing by the marketing experts since it is potential enough to transform the experience of virtual marketing.
Identifying the responsible factors for less e-commerce practices:
Personal touch: Most of the core consumers appear obsessed regarding the judgement of declared tangibility and that is probably the main reason that they prefer offline shopping as compared to the virtual purchase. Despite of the presence of customized purchase, this prevalent attitude typically advocate the potential customers to purchase identical stuffs from personal retailer who most of the times appear to impart zero effort to establish a humane encounter within their immediate customers (Gangeshwer, 2013). This distinct trend of virtual retail appears to consolidate their prejudice regarding the vulnerability of jeopardy of their ordered products. This understanding appears very rife in the Omani provinces where most of the potential customers just cannot rely on the virtual retailing system and since it appears important for them to have a touch of their products before purchasing it.
Possibility of Delays: Despite of the foodstuffs and other immediate stationeries, online retails usually charge a lot of time to deliver the ordered products, which is considerably distinct from the physical retailing since there the customers get their product immediately after purchasing it. Though most of the online retail unit is supposed to endow their prospective customers with the opportunity to avail express shipping, the most earliest availability of their products typically comes by tomorrow. In the Omani regions and corresponding gulf countries people appear typical to object about e-commerce since it is potentially unable to quench immediate demands. Thus, most of the consumers who appear eager to obtain their products immediately will prefer to purchase it from the offline market (Qu et al. 2015). Furthermore, Oman and several pan-Asian countries encourage less practice of e-commerce while objecting about its inability to satisfy immediate demands.
Security: This is the major reason on which most of the consumers usually objects and let themselves advocated by the security crisis regarding their confidential financial information. Though most of the e-retail units appear to endow their potential consumers with the option to avail cash on delivery, it is common that they have to disclose their credit card number and mail address in order to place and simultaneously avail a particular product (Qu et al. 2015). In the pan-Asian countries and several other identical domains like Oman, people used to discourage the advent of e-commerce completely out of an financial insecurity that these transactions are very much vulnerable to pave the consumers towards an identity theft or credit card fraud.
Unavailability of certain products: E-commerce does not allow their core consumers to avail certain products, which they categorized as odd-sized or perishable. In this regard, it can be mentioned that e-commerce is only been able to cater the temporary demands of products since the shipment cost of these perishable products are supposed to transcend the amount of the products itself which no seller appear to allow (Valmohammadi and Dashti, 2016).
The above mentioned are the principal parameters that indulges certain customers to discourage and undermine this advent of e-commerce.
Vulnerable measures to improve e-commerce practices
Technical grounds: The trend of the discussion of this segment has already been discussed above where this study intends to heed on the aspects where technological improvement can be incorporated. For instance, a considerable amount of customization must be introduced in the techniques of service in order to observe a consistent increase of charge in identical products. It has been simulated by most of the academic scholars that e-commerce and the subsequent methods appears to be very application oriented which flaunts a dependence of technological expertise (Strauss, 2016). In this regard, the concerns can be recommended to develop their acumen to transcend the constraints of technology.
Social grounds: This notion also deals with the aspect of interpersonal relationship. For instance, people expects possibilities of enriching personal relationships from physical retailing (Chiu et al. 2013). In this regard, providing products identical with product specification might initiate along-lasting personal relationship.
Legal grounds: Most of the consumers are supposed to discourage and undermine the advent of technological expertise chiefly because they utterly confused about the procurement of the products that they desired (Leong et al. 2016). In this regard, all the e-commerce can be recommended to abide by all the legislative reforms associated with trading in order to prevent the products from jeopardy while persuading a substantial section of consumers.
Political grounds: Political grounds appear to impose a non-considerable influence in this retailing technique. Moreover, the portal that the retailers appear to follow has nothing to do with any political inclination.
Ethical grounds: To be ethically correct is to promote the acceptance of online retail. For instance, if the e-retailers might be able to provide the deliverables in accordance with the declared description, it not only able to convince the section of consumers which still own doubts about e-retailing, it might initiate a prolonged individual encounters (Chaffey, 2015). These ethical reforms appear imperative to develop a long-lasting relationship with each of the individual consumer.