The primary aim is to evaluate the Starbucks website (www. starbucks. com) and the Greenmountaincoffee website (www. greenmountaincoffee. com) to discover the major customer related activities and their support by the latest information technology. Depth evaluation of what services and functions the websites provide to the various levels of customers. The secondary research is about the e-commerce strategy models that have been adopted for effective functioning of the website for the customers. It includes the business models adopted for servicing the customers.
The first section deals with the Starbucks website discussing the services it provides to the clients and the involvement of the business models. The second section takes up Greenmountaincoffee website and the customer related services along with the business models that successfully implement the business models. The homepage offers a great look displaying all the services that the company provides and are accessible from online site. The various customer related services can be highlighted as follows:
- Browse the Coffee catalog: The Link “Our Coffee” provides an insight to all the items and products that are available with the company and can be used by the customers for their choice.
- Browse store locations: The customers can browse store locations that are near to them. Starbucks is spread in over 27 countries and over 5 continents in the world.
- Customer service options: In spite of selling coffee, the customers can listen to music, read books, access to local events, access Wireless internet and so on at the coffee parlors at selected locations. These are the additional entertainment options they offer at the parlors for fetching more customers of every length and dimension.
- Starbucks card: The various offers and gift cards are available for a price. It helps one to avail discounts, whole bean purchase, brewed coffee refills at no cost. One has an option to regulate designing of loyalty card and also take care of the refills and various gift options.
- Purchase options: The organization has allowed selling of coffee packages over the internet for various groups of customers from individual to institutional customers. It allows customers to use their Credit card, debit card and Paypal options for making any sort of payments.
- Food service: It also offers food service to various businesses and industry cafeterias, hotels, colleges, healthcare and other centers.
- Entertainment Services: It also sells Starbucks branded books, music collections, movies and many more.
- Ancillary services: It also sells brewing equipments, coffee, tea and many more. The store locater search option provides various search facilities for any store within the domain of Starbucks.
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E-Commerce Strategies and Business Models
Starbucks cater to individuals at home and also institutions like education centers, colleges and universities, hotels, healthcare units and many more. It has adopted B2B and B2C model for its online strategy. Legal and ethical issues are vital to online success. Building trust and user confidence is essential to our client, respecting consumer privacy and adhering to data protection legislation. "Consumers are extremely concerned about security and privacy on the Internet" (Trepper, 2003).
Starbucks Safe Shopping
Guarantee means customers pay nothing if unauthorized charges are made to their credit cards as a result of shopping at Starbucks. They use secure sockets layer (SSL) technology encrypting all personal information. "Starbucks takes customer fears about security seriously" (Chaffey, 2004) Starbucks makes clear terms of trade and offer warranties/returns policy. They address copyright, patents and trademark protection. It is authorized by VeriSign Inc for the use of SSL certificates for authentication of user’s data and further implies that it is safe.
It is also certified by HackerSafe which makes sure that enough protection shields is taken into account for safe shopping and information can be trusted as it is displayed for the site. On the web technology side, Active Server pages (ASP) is used for the web pages to exchange information and get the job done. At the server end there is more than one web servers to cater to the business functions namely display of products, promotions on them and their prices, managing the shopping cart, payment system, registration and delivery system, shipment, tracking back of order and many more.
It may use RSS to announce their offers and promotions to web based blogs and news. On the e-commerce side, it has used VeriSign services for protecting data and information exchanged between the sites. It uses a 128-bit SSL certificate to get the job done. The e-commerce transactions can be well protected using the SSL technology (Rayport, 2002). It is very secure for all business deals and offers greater protection for business financial information.
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