The web 3.0 modern technologies seem to influence almost each business across the world because multinational, medium, and small business enterprises seek new technologies to improve service delivery and enhance efficiency their operations, (Almeida, Santos, & Monteiro, 2013). Through integration of technology into businesses, electronic commerce popularly known as e-commerce has become a new trend in business operations, where companies transact most of their business activities through the Internet and web-based applications (Teece, 2010). Zenith School Supplies is a young enterprise that supplies kits to thousands of schools across the Australia and is currently seeking a single and fully integrated website for its supplies. In this view, this e-business planning report provides a proposed plan for Zenith School Supplies to adopt e-commerce.
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The e-commerce business model
The association between business models and innovations is indispensable in the modern world of business. According to Teece (2010), “technological innovation often necessitates business models, since technology creates both the need to bring discoveries to market and the opportunity to satisfy unrequited customer needs” (p. 176). Three main e-commerce model categories include Business-to-Business (B2B) model, Business-to-Consumer (B2C) model and the Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) e-commerce model. The case involves a business-consumer relationship and the B2C model is an appropriate model in the case of Zenith School Supplies. B2C is one of the most effective business models spurred by modern innovations that several multinational businesses have praised for its efficiency and effectiveness in business operations.
The grounds of selecting the B2C e-commerce business model lies in the facts surrounding the case study and its perceived efficiency in business electronic exchanges that Almeida, Santos, and Monteiro (2013) discovered. Since the company deals directly with its consumers, the B2C model is significant since any business that sells directly to its consumer’s uses this e-commerce model. The B2C e-commerce model has its basis on the direct connection between a consumer and a retailer, without any intermediaries through integrated web-based technologies (Almeida, Santos, & Monteiro, 2013). Under the B2C model, the business will consider the application of two other e-commerce models: the virtual community e-commerce model and the brand awareness model.
E-commerce business on revenue
The business would derive revenue through online shopping, which is a revenue model. A major presumption involving the significance of e-commerce is its efforts in tremendous reduction of marginal operation costs that involves production and distribution of products to consumers (Rothaermel & Sugiyama, 2001). In terms of revenue improvement, B2C e-commerce model would significantly reduce the amount that Zenith School Supplies uses to run the three different online ordering programs (Spaulding, 2010). The B2C model would allow integration of virtual community model that attracts a pool of consumers through virtual communication, and thus promote online shopping of products offered by Zenith School Supplies.
Since the B2C network model will rely on the semantic web technologies and the web 3.0 technologies that are faster than the traditional web systems, it would be easy to integrate huge virtual communities that would provide data tariffs and act as indirect revenues. The payment modules that would include online transactions with credit cards, online pay-bills, e-checks, and online payment systems such as pioneer and PayPal would attract transaction fees and thus become a source of revenues for Zenith School Supplies. The accessibility of online stores by the potential customers in the virtual communities would allow Zenith School Supplies to increase its profitability.
Network and communications infrastructure
In enabling an efficient communication between consumers and the company, a modern 3.0 web technology shall be essential because it allows integration of live chats for virtual communication, provides emails for general communication, and offers infotainment, which comprise useful communication parameters (Koh & Kim, 2002). To enable a more efficient online interaction between the online purchasers and the company, the B2C website of Zenith School Supplies shall involve sharing of digital and multimedia content. Koh and Kim (2002) state that the multimedia contents such as prepared slides, 3D videos, graphic images, and printable data should be available for customers to make informed choices about the products that they purchase.
The trust and confidence (T&C) business model of communication in online business shall prevail, where a complete interaction and channels of communication between consumers and the business will exist (Chawdhry, Masera, & Wilkins, 2002). In terms of the communication network itself, consumers shall receive details about their subscription statuses, their purchasing procedures, and prompts about the available offers and discounts. The virtual communities can meet on the social platform designed for further discussions or share comments and replies through a messaging system available on the website (Chawdhry, Masera, & Wilkins, 2002). Apple, Android and Windows mobile apps for the virtual store for school kits will further form the communication system, where consumers will interact with the company.
The application needed for e-commerce business goals
The Zenith School Supplies established four major goals of the intended e-commerce, namely, combination of the three different online stores for cost effectiveness, designing a website with a rich information portal, making efficient website in communication, and enabling the business to reach global markets (Akçura & Altinkemer, 2002). Based on such demands, web 3.0-platform technology will be crucial in integrating quick e-payment systems, building online communities, and positioning online stores to enhance their accessibility. For cost effectiveness in the B2C e-commerce model, the company shall need a website with a rich information portal, where applications such as brand awareness model will apply, with ample information about school kits (Akçura & Altinkemer, 2002). To make the goal of globalization successful, the use of virtual community applications will aid.
The available storefront applications would provide the company with an opportunity to display its brands, its store location information, its major services, and important information regarding the corporate activities (Rothaermel & Sugiyama, 2001). Other applications may run through online brokerage, where companies that closely interrelate with the business style of school kits would purposely allow consumers to find similar products on a single purchase for convenience. Companies dealing with school games equipment and playing tools for the kids can form part of the targeted brokerage partners for the intended websites.
The model for the e-marketing requirements
E-commerce emerged as a means of transforming production and distribution processes a given market segment. Important e-marketing model should be cost-effective, time saving, accessible, allow quick interaction, and universal reach (Rothaermel & Sugiyama, 2001). The B2C e-commerce model and the integration of the virtual community and the brand awareness model would satisfy most of the e-commerce requirements. The B2C e-commerce model integrated with the two models will ensure availability of visible online stores for convenience. Moreover, the website will have adverts to increase awareness, integrate online e-payment systems to save time, and incorporate marketing systems, where promotion and adverts will run (Rothaermel & Sugiyama, 2001). With such features, product awareness, product online accessibility, product payment, and feature description will be achievable.
Choice of the payment system
The B2C e-commerce model allows a direct communication between retailers and consumers through websites, where payment arrangements on items acquired or services sought are agreeable (Akcura & Altinkemer, 2002). While dealing with Teacher Tailored Kits involves individuals employed in an organisation, dealing with Kid kits involves children, who are under the guidance of their parents. B2C model allows business organisations to arrange for payment systems such as e-check, credit cards, smart cards, and other electronic payments (Akcura & Altinkemer, 2002). For security reasons and efficiency, the proposed B2C model will use smart cards because they are secure and allow real-time purchase.
The e-commerce business model and security issues
Security is a major concern in e-commerce business because of its susceptibility to cybercrimes. B2C model has several security issues that require attention to protect customers and the company. To improve security of the B2C model, Zenith School Supplies should enhance safety of login details, integrate consumer authentication codes, transfer data in encrypted form, and provide real-time support to customers. Additionally, the website should integrate order fulfilment conditions, online product guidelines to avoid misleading websites, assisted search systems, credit and e-payment verification processes amongst others.
The B2C e-commerce model allows companies to design websites that allow direct communication between the consumers and the company. A separate web segment of new users within the B2C web platforms will be an important feature that would enable the company distinguishes new customers, who will have to design personal passwords and authentication codes to keep the website free from hackers. The procedure of entering the payment sections will involve proper inspection and authentication of the payment modes, payment documents, and the information about independent users shall be confidential.
E-commerce model and legal issues
Since businesses operate in various jurisdictions, which are subject to diverse rules and regulations, business models must adopt and integrate into these rules and regulations. Teece (2010, p. 177) asserts that, “business models must morph over time as changing markets, technologies and legal structures dictate and/or allow” the growth of businesses. Controlling the accessibility of the Internet and social platforms is a critical concern because laws within certain countries disallow children from accessing the Internet. The greatest advantage of the intended B2C e-commerce model is its ability to allow businesses to integrate cyber patrol systems that maintain strict adherence to regulations and rules governing e-commerce.
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Since the Zenith School Supplies will integrate some revenue e-commerce models, the issue of fraud and deception may arise among consumers. According to Amit and Zott (2001), to ensure proper scrutiny of customers, login and authentication protocols shall apply to each of the sensitive Internet visits and financial transactions. Such protocols will ensure that users will have to use their authentication codes and passwords to avoid legal issues involving fraudulent use of login details and credit data (Amit & Zott, 2001). Purchasing of kits for children must require separate detailed authentication through a system that would require parents and teachers to take responsibility of controlling and guiding children.
Privacy and other relevant ethical concerns
With the increasing traffic of web users and Internet consumers, communication is becoming unsafe. Owing to increased web insecurities, safeguarding consumer information and maintaining their privacy is, therefore, a great challenge (Amit & Zott, 2001). Ethical and privacy concerns are major problems that the proposed e-commerce model of B2C faces. In addressing the privacy and ethical issues, the company will consider using the latest techniques of developing websites using the web 3.0 technologies. Almeida, Santos, and Monteiro (2013, p. 5) affirm that web.3.0 improves trust and privacy of customers because its enables “the identity management in order to ensure the authenticity.” Hence, the use of web 3.0 is essential in securing privacy of customers in the proposed e-commerce plan for Zenith School Supplies.
Since virtual community e-commerce model shall apply, the intended website will require real-time maintenance with respect to privacy and anonymity through the use of encryption technologies to protect sensitive data such as authentication codes and passwords (Amit & Zott, 2001). Zenith School Supplies will also need to comply with copyrights and patent laws for it to conduct ethical business activities and compete effectively in world of e-commerce. Moreover, privacy of customers is central in protecting their shopping behaviour and unauthorized use of their data. As Amit and Zott (2001) propose that protection of customers using the virtual private network patrol systems will be essential in the prevention of cybercrimes.
E-commerce model and customer service issues
The major intentions of e-commerce are improving efficiency and effectiveness of its operations, promoting consumer-shopping experiences, and enhancing convenience in shopping. In addressing major customer concerns that commonly arise from online shopping, the intended B2C e-commerce business website will provide a 24-hour customer service that will allow consumers to present their shopping challenges, seek shopping and transaction assistance, and report any concern that is disturbing their interaction with the website (Spaulding, 2010). An easily accessible online retail store, where consumers will access products, find information regarding a specific product, and compare the prices of different products, shall be available for 24-hours for customers to seek assistance whenever they want.
A free communication between consumers shall remain granted in the website to allow consumers to share experiences on the designed website, share comments, and ideas about the products of the company, and seek support from each other (Spaulding, 2010). Through the same virtual communities available on the website, consumers will have a social media platform integrated within the model to allow free sharing of opinions, challenges, and anticipations concerning the designed website. Quick and convenient payment systems shall deliver the desired online shopping experiences for consumers (Teece, 2010). Irrespective of geographical setting, the company shall offer free shipping services based on a certain purchasing agreements made with clients.
Metrics for measuring success of the proposal
Being a business model that directly deals with the use of Information technology, the metrics for measuring the success of the proposal may include the use of Soft System Methodology (SSM) as the assessment tool. SSM is among the most effective tools for measuring the progress of organizations that operate in a complex marking environment like e-commerce (Kotiadis, 2007). SSM includes the mnemonic CATWOE concept (Customers, Actors, and Transformation, Weltanschauung, Owner, and Environment), which allows comprehensive assessment of all stakeholders and success factors of Zenith School Supplies.
The demand for convenient purchasing of products through websites, virtual stores, and social platforms has augmented with the web 3.0 technologies making substantial efforts to enhance e-marketing. Websites that allow communication and interaction restricted to businesspersons and consumers are B2C e-commerce models, where direct selling between merchants and consumers occur. Since the management of Zenith School Supplies is keen on expanding globally, the report points out that a direct e-commerce for consumers with a powerful portal containing ample information and increased efficiency, B2C e-commerce website is essential. Combined with the virtual communication e-commerce model and the brand awareness model, the company will hit global markets and increase its revenues.
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