Presentation on theme: "Be able to plan e-commerce strategies. Hosting When setting up an e-commerce site, there are two issues of hosting which need to be decided - who will."— Presentation transcript:
Hosting When setting up an e-commerce site, there are two issues of hosting which need to be decided - who will host it and which ISP to use. Who will host? If the site is to be hosted in-house, the business has to make sure its staff has the skills required to design a professional - looking, fully functioning website. This may mean employing another member of staff, or several, depending on the size of the site and the desired functionality. Keeping it in-house should result in lower costs, but businesses can fall into the trap of giving responsibility to employees who lack the necessary design or technical skills, resulting in amateurish websites that do not instil confidence in customers.
Subcontracting means the business will pay another company to create the website. lt depends on the deal as to how much is done by the subcontractor- it could be just the design, then the site is handed over to the company to maintain. Sometimes the subcontractor has full control long term. Although the latter option can be expensive and there can be communication issues between business and subcontractor - for example over design elements, with each having a different idea of how something should look - it is likely to result in a more professional website with more reliable functionality than using in-house resources. A decision also has to be made as to the location of the web server. Will it be secure and safe in the business? Can the business afford to buy their own server or is it better to rent a server, or part of a server, from a professional service?
Which ISP? Secondly, the business needs to decide which ISP they will use. They need to decide whether they change their existing one and choose the type of Internet connection they want. If they have been using a low speed broadband line, they may need to purchase a bigger line, perhaps a dedicated line that gives them continuous guaranteed access at all times.
Promotion Marketing is a vital part of e-commerce. There is no point in creating a wonderful website and selling amazing products if no one knows your business exists. Promotion is the way to attract the attention of potential customers. Decide how you are going to advertise the site. There are many different methods, ranging from simple, cheap options such as including the address on business stationery and leaflets, to advertising on television and radio, bus banners or roadside billboards. Search engines are key to promoting an e-commerce site and you need to decide how you are going to make best use of them. Will you use meta tags which are just included in the pages, or go to the extent of paying for primary positioning?
Also consider making use of message boards and chat rooms. Guerrilla marketing is a powerful tactic if done well, but if not done carefully it can backfire. Watch boards and chat rooms and mention your site when it is relevant. Related to this is viral marketing, which works like word of mouth advertising. lt might be by doing something outlandish or mysterious to get people talking, something interesting which people will forward in an email or another approach which draws attention.
Costs An important part of an e-commerce strategy is identifying the costs. Whether they are specific prices or just isolating where the business will need to spend money, it is very useful for the practical implementation of the strategy. The costs which should be considered include the following. Set-up: The hardware, software and networking elements will all need to be paid for. Will you hire them or buy them for the business? Will you use an outside agency or internal skills to build and develop the website? Will you lease the equipment to set up the site? Maintenance: Once it is built, the website still needs a lot of work, most of it weekly or even daily, as products and other business elements need to be updated. Will this be done in-house or by an outside agency?
Security: How many security features will you have? What effect will they have on the running of your site? How will you tell your customers that you are protecting the safety of their data and financial information to reassure them? Advertising: Consider the cost of printing, such as leaflets or posters, of adverts on television or radio, in magazines or newspapers, or paying for search engine listings. Delivery strategy: How will customers receive the goods they have bought online? How much will delivery cost or will it be free? Will couriers be used or the postal service? Might charges increase for next day delivery? Can the items be tracked and, if so, will that be through the e-commerce site or the delivery company? Staff training: How much training will your staff need- what are their skill levels at the moment? How much access will they have to the site and what level of permission will they have, for example will they be allowed to make changes? Will the training be done in-house, by an external company who made the site (if one has been used) or an external training organisation who specialise in training adults in IT?
Security What measures will you take to protect your business and your customers' details? They have to have to have faith in your business as e-commerce relies on trust- trust that you will protect their details and deliver the goods. What steps will you take for fraud protection, hackers and viruses?