E-business has become a household name in this 21st Century. The convenience as well as the little capital involved has made it to be very popular among entrepreneurs. With e-business, a company can start even in a bedroom without any overhead expenses. In 2004, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg designed Facebook from his Harvard University Dorm room and today it is ranked as the most visited social site with over 845 million users worldwide. With E-business, it’s all about the strategy used rather than the start-up cost.
According to Wasserman (2011), E-business involves using the internet technology to manipulate and streamline business processes. It involves increasing sales, reducing costs, providing good customer services, etc. E-business is a very broad aspect of business because it covers a wide range of business activities such as e-mailing, online banking solutions, social sites, etc. E-business is all about leveraging technology to achieve the most important goal of every business which is to make profit. The Different Forms of E-business
According to Reynolds (2010), E-business comes in different forms and structures depending on the parties involved and the transaction. It is important to understand these different forms in order to carefully manage or create an e-business platform. The forms are briefly outlined below; Business-to Business (B2B): This is the electronic transactions between businesses. This form of e-business is said to generate the highest amount of revenue, topping its other counterpart by at least 600%. A lot of companies transact businesses with other companies using their online portals.
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B2B sites can be further divided into different categories such as product procurement sites, where businesses go and shop from other businesses, specialized industry sites, information sites, and brokering sites. Example of B2B site are sites like Oscommerce, Adobe and Xerox which has a portal where cooperate organizations or small businesses can go and transact businesses. Learning Management Systems like Blackboard and Angel are also forms of B2B businesses because they allow other schools to use their electronic learning system to manage schoolwork for students.
Business to Consumers (B2C): This is the transaction of businesses between business organizations and individual consumers. This can be seen as the most popular type of e-business platform. A lot of companies use the B2C platform to run their businesses. EBay is a company that uses the B2C platform to transact businesses because some companies sell their products to individuals on EBay. Other major B2C businesses are TigerDirect, Amazon, Geeks, etc. However there are other businesses that have a B2C platform as well as brick and mortar existence.
Such companies are electronic shops like BestBuy which allow customers to also make purchases online. Organizations like insurance companies, banks, and even utility companies now transact their businesses using the B2C platforms. According to Reynolds (2010), B2C Sales in the United States are said to be growing at a rate a 40% annually. This shows how much customers are relying on B2C for their daily transactions. Consumer to Consumer (C2C): This is a more localized type of E-business. It is the transaction of business among customers.
A prevailing example of this type of platform is Craigslist which allows people to advertise products or businesses so that other users can transact with them. Another example of C2C platform is KSL which is a localized site where people can publicly advertise their products, services and offer products for sale. KSL is growing really fast, especially in Utah and other states such as Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming and Nevada. E-government: This is when government uses Information technology and electronic means to manage information between the government and citizens.
Governments are embracing these systems because the system reduces cost used in paying manpower and it is more convenient for citizens. Example of these systems is the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicle) website where people can go to change their addresses and book appointments. Another example is the UTA (Utah Transport Association) website in Utah where commuters can access information regarding transportation. The government sites aim at saving time and money and also providing citizens easy access to government policies and laws.
Mobile Commerce: This is the latest trend in the world of e-business as companies now aim at transacting businesses with their customers through a mobile medium i. e. cell phones. Banks are using this medium to allow customers to view account information and manage funds. Companies are coming up with their mobile software to help their customers to effectively transact businesses from anywhere at any time. People no longer have to wait in line to pay bills; payments are now made using Mobile phones The importance of An Effectively Managed E-Business
According to Wasserman (2011), E-businesses are very profitable for managers and entrepreneurs due to the following reasons 1. Cuts Costs and Transaction Times: In this case, people will save money selling products and services on-line rather than renting a store, employing sales people and paying overhead costs to maintain the infrastructure. Also with E-businesses business can be transacted at all times of the day, whether morning, afternoon and night. This is convenient for the manager because he could manage his business at his own convenience without having to travel miles away for a transaction 2.
No geographical barriers: With E-business, companies are able to sell their products across geographical boundaries without any barriers. Orders can be placed in other countries and delivered from other foreign countries. People will not have to be travelling costs and geographical restrictions 3. Global Competition: International trade makes it possible for companies to compete globally with other companies through their online presence. Amazon is an example of a company that is able to compete due to its strong online presence.
Also E-bay and Dell are able to compete globally through their strong online presence. Companies will not even need to set up branches in that country to be able to compete effectively in the country, they just need to make sure that their website is accessible and people are constantly visiting the sites. Other businesses with a very strong global recognition are YouTube, Facebook, Google, etc. 4. Improve Customer Support, Communication and Relationship: Many companies now make their sites very interactive for visitors, so as to give them a very unique experience.
Companies build support from their customers by having a very user friendly web base where customers are properly serviced. Amazon is popularly known for advising customers on what to purchase based on preference determined from the customer’s previous purchases. This act of assistance helps the company communicate properly with their customers. How to effectively Manage an E-business According to Wiley, Comer and Vacondios (2010), There ways in which a manager can run a successful E-business Platform.
Those ways are listed below; Know the Objective Before Going into Business: E-Commerce and E-Businesses are created on daily basis, but not everyone gets to succeed. It is important to know the objective before rushing into business. Always focus on the audience to create an objective, try to make sure that the objectives are strategically aligned to the needs of the customers. Understand the Audience: It is important to understand the customer’s needs by listening to the audience. This can be done by engaging the use of bloggers.
According to Gasper (2011), BlogHer reported that people tend to be more influenced by the opinion of a blogger than that of a celebrity when it comes to learning about products or making a purchase. The study went further to state that 78 percent of female American adults online actively use social media, of which, 20 percent are moved to buy a product promoted by a blogger rather than a celebrity. Not only has the use of blogging become very popular, but it is also successful that people keep going back for more information on products.
Dedicate the necessary resources to achieve the objective: Designing an E-business platform may require investing in some software tools and manpower to make sure the site is interactive and user friendly for the consumers. Always try to invest in resources to achieve the objective because that may be the only chance to attract customers. Always be Updated: This requires constantly updating the contents of the site and adding new contents. This is important because the customers are always looking for new things when they visit. If they keep coming back to old products, they will eventually stop visiting the site.
To keep attracting customers the contents must be fresh. Integrate the Platform: This is trying to mix it with some sort of social appeal to attract people to the business. ACS Xerox uses different slideshows on their home page to make the site look more attractive. Some companies make use of other interactive tools such as flash videos, music, chat, etc. to help make the site more appealing. According to Martine (2010), chatting is the best form of interaction that is used on an e-business site. Dell uses chat to communicate with online customers.
It is aimed at better understanding the need of the customer, serving those needs and making sure they visit again. It is a good technique to create customer satisfaction and ensure they come back to the site. Common Problems with E-business While people try to attract more people to their sites and develop a good business strategy using an online platform, some businesses encounter problems with these platforms. Examples of these problems are outlined below; Pushy sales: These are aggressive posters and pop-ups on the websites. This can end up irritating the visitor rather than appealing to them.
Businesses should control the way pop-ups appear on the sites (McKay, 2010). Improper arrangement: In this case the site navigation is complicated and the interface is not user friendly. Customers should be easily directed to what they need and the tabs should be properly grouped and sorted to help the customers identify their needs. Lack of Information Management: It is important to control the flow of Information and the availability of information. If information is not properly managed, it could lead to untargeted advertising and wrongful advertising.
Too little information leads to poor market segmentation and too much information may cause a breach in customers’ privacy. Conclusion-IT and E-business The concept of IT and E-business cannot be separated, To successfully run E-businesses managers need a proper knowledge of Information Technology and how to leverage it to achieve organizational goals and objectives. Manager must have the knowledge of how to design the site in way that it attracts the customers, how to maximize the site efficiency to make sure that it responds promptly when accessed.
The manager should also know how to protect the site from any security breach or unauthorized intrusions as well capture data and cookies from visitors so as to use it in data analysis and market research. After these analyses it is obvious that the management of E-business strongly requires a full knowledge of IT, which is why it is relevant for managers understand all the concepts in Information Technology as it relates to business management.
Comer, T. , Wiley, C. , & Vacondios, M. (2010, August 27). 6 best practices for growing a successful online community. Retrieved from https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/opinion/2064531/link-marketing-strategies-online-retailers
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