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IMT 77 E-Business M1
PART – A
Q1. How does e-business work? Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of e-business.
Q2. The success of I-Way is based on market strategies. Discuss.
Q3. What are the features that help assess a website?
Q4. Designing a website and developing a website are two different activities. Explain.
Q5. Write a note on the technology infrastructure required for the development of a website.
PART – B
Q1. Explain how the business-to-business model of e-commerce works. Give examples.
Q2. Explain the significance of a business model in e-business. How is its role different from that of a business strategy?
Q3. How is data and message security ensured in e-business?
Q4. How does encryption work? Explain the need for authentication.
Q5. What are the benefits of an electronic payment system? Despite its advantages, why are people hesitant to use EPS?
PART – C
Q1. The successful harnessing of Internet marketing has given rise to various benefits and advantages.
Q2. How does Internet marketing help overcome the challenges posed by traditional marketing? Give examples to support your answer.
Q3. What are the major legal issues that arise while doing electronic business? How are they overcome?
Q4. Discuss the future of mobile commerce in India.
Q5. Has electronic supply chain management been successful? Comment on its future.
CASE STUDY – 1
Many health care companies are on the cutting edge of medicine, but they lag behind in the use of information technology (IT) and the Internet. Loading old steel filing cabinets with medical and insurance records is typical of these health care companies. These massive documents are stored in huge rooms and shipped around the country by the truckloads. Today, many health care companies have adopted a more healthy approach with the help of IT and the Internet. In a US$ 2 billion project, Kaiser Inc. is launching a massive technology initiative. The objective is to move all its operations to the Internet. Kaiser Inc. plans to develop a digital medical record of all its 9 million members. The record will be linked to the company’s 361 hospitals and 10,000 doctors, nurses, etc. The heart of the system will be an Internet site. Separate Internet sites will allow doctors and health care administrators the ability to order a wide array of supplies and equipment. The Kaiser CEO, Mr David, believes that the Internet ‘will be the central nervous system for tying all the elements needed to care for patients better’. The new Internet strategy also aims to improve the bottom line for Kaiser. In 1998, Kaiser Inc. made losses of around US$ 288 million. Some blame the disappointing loss on underestimating the amount of care the company needed to give to patients. The new Internet system would also help to reduce costs. Kaiser Inc. hopes that the vast Internet system will allow it to compare a doctor’s bills that vary substantially. The idea is to fine-tune the standard treatment that would reduce cost. Kaiser also hopes that the new system will cut paperwork and record-keeping costs.
1. Explain Kaiser’s move to take the help of IT and the Internet. In your opinion, is it a positive move? Why or why not?
2. Do you think Kaiser’s Internet initiative is aimed primarily at improving patient care or is it to reduce costs? Give reasons to support your answer.
3. In your opinion, what operations of Kaiser Inc. should be moved to the Internet? Discuss the future scope of improvement in Kaiser’s system.
CASE STUDY – 2
Online Retailing of Designer Apparel
Couture Candy was developed to fill a growing demand for the freshest designer apparel online, without sacrificing the allure, character and personal service distinctive of offline boutiques.
The company faced many challenges in proving its business model. Selling designer apparel equates with the higher than normal order values compared to other apparel niches. Trust had to be quickly established, and Couture Candy knew the best way to do so was with a consistent look and feel coupled with the utmost in site quality. It also had to build affinity to create lifetime customers who would consistently engage with their brand and drive revenue. Lastly, as a new entrant to the vertical, there were many unknown hurdles, and, therefore, Couture Candy had to operate in a very dynamic environment. It was essential that they quickly and easily build upon or get off from their e-commerce platform.
‘From day one, we were able to deliver a high-quality brand image with the website,’ stated Ryan Clifton, Lead Developer at Couture Candy. ‘Our development team was able to modify every last inch of screen real estate in order to achieve the trust building appearance we desired.’
Product imagery takes centre stage in what would normally be a highly tactile purchasing decision. Couture Candy launched using high quality, but somewhat inconsistent images for their product catalogue. After upgrading the product images to magazine-quality runway style photographs, a sales increase of about 300 per cent was achieved.
Customers seeking clothing online do not have the luxury of trying them on prior to committing to a purchase. A liberal return policy prominently displayed in multiple locations enabled Couture Candy to reduce the perceived risk. They have also made returns as painless and easy as possible to encourage re-purchasing. Prominently displayed on the site is a toll-free number for customer service and a physical mailing address. This also aids in reputation building and helps shoppers trust the brand as a physical entity, not just a virtual one.
The company recently introduced Hacker Safe by Scan Alert as a means of decreasing the level of anxiety some shoppers feel when handing over personal data such as a credit card. Studies have shown an increase upwards of 14 per cent after introduction of this simple feature.
‘Entering a market that is ultra-competitive is not an easy task, but we knew we would have a distinct visibility advantage if we had the right tools,’ stated Matthew Hunter, Co-Founder of Couture Candy.
It utilizes alternative views to give customers a look at all the angles of an item. Images of colour variations are also available. Almost all images can be zoomed in on to see greater details. This helps replicate the in-store shopping experience, which boosts conversions.
The company also uses the expertise of in-house personal stylists to cross-sell matching pieces to create an entire outfit. Single variation accessories, such as jewellery and glasses have cross-sold well and increased the total order value. To entice visitors to surpass purchase thresholds, free ground transportation for orders over US$100 is offered. A ‘What’s New’ section profiles the newest designer and product additions to the site for those who want the latest trends in their wardrobe.
Personal stylists are used to parallel the boutique experience in the online environment. These stylists are essentially the gateway to what is in or out for each season. Accessible on every product page, if a shopper needs stylist advice it is free via ‘LivePerson’ chat or a toll-free phone number. Stylists also put together the outfits seen on Couture Candy’s innovative ‘shop the runway’ section that features single item or whole outfit purchasing options from a single screen.
To create increased customer affinity, personal stylists have begun to deliver audio addresses via Couture Cast, a podcast covering seasonal fashion shows, celebrities and trends. Customers are also encouraged to discuss the products, designers, and celebrity fashions featured on the site in the extensive Couture Talk community forums. Stylists also feature items of the week, designers to watch, style tip of the week, gift ideas, and the denim fit guide to help women find the right jean for their body type. To keep customers abreast of the latest happenings, Couture Candy also offers an e-mail newsletter. Thus, with an established base to work from, Couture Candy began to explore site enhancements and improvements to aid growth.
Due to a large product line, the internal site search began to play a more important role in helping customers navigate towards relevant products. To expand internal search functionality, Celebros Qwiser Salesperson was implemented to deliver highly relevant result sets with sorting and drill-down capabilities.
With product lines being added continuously, customers may wish to wait and buy the next season’s fashions. Gift certificate functionality was added to accommodate these buyers in addition to gift givers. Gift certificates are available for purchase in various quantities and can be sent via e-mail or postal mail.
‘With the success of the female-focussed Couture Candy site, a men’s site and kid’s site are to follow,’ said Hunter. ‘We look forward to taking online sales of high-end apparel to the next level.’
1. Discuss the challenges faced by Couture Candy in the online retailing of designer apparel. What measures were helpful to remove these problems?
2. What opportunities are offered by Internet-based technologies for the society in general, especially in matters related to government control and their efficient working?
3. Discuss the e-commerce model implemented by the Company on its site.
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