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COMP 1008 E-Commerce Assignment - Middle East College, Oman

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Case Study - A "Gilt"-Free Shopping Experience

Q1. What advantages the Guilt Group Company will be getting by operating solely online offers? What are the disadvantages?

Answer - The e-commerce sales have reached the estimated figure of $434 billion in the year 2017 and the predictions indicate a solid developing base for incremental business prospects in the future. This has repented with the online retailers with a wealth of opportunity for capitalising on and further developing their commercial acumen.

However, irrespective of the advantages of e-commerce, there are certain unique challenges, which the online retailers such as the Guilt Group Company are subjected to, which the brick and mortar businesses are exempted from.

The advantages of E-Commerce are,

Speed and Flexibility

The Guilt website provides the business with the option of changing their products offerings, marketing materials and displays instantly. The site is extremely flexible and provides the business with a structured marketing approach for meeting the needs and demands of the customers and the business environment. There is no need for standing in queue while shopping, for the clientele, this is the most popular convenience provided by Guilt Group Company. E-commerce businesses have the ability to scale up rapidly, as they are not bound by any physical limitations. The inventory management is also superior and the business could managed and control their inventory with tuning the order processing systems. The website could effectively track the logistic, with having the ability trigger and monitor the logistic online. The inventory is also unlimited with the business having the capability to widen their inventory and stock variety of products without being limited to shelf space (Chaffey, 2015).

Data

It is easier to compare the prices, the search engine of the website factors in the consideration of the customers bad present them with personalised recommendations based on their preferences. The use of cookies and other approaches employed for monitoring customer behaviour, the e-commerce website could effectively customise the aspect of what the clients are seeing. The ecommerce website is able to collect the data regarding the purchasing behaviour of the customer, and implement marketing strategies at an intuitive level. The data accumulated helps in gaining a first had insight regarding what the customers want to purchase. The information helps in improving the shopping experience with increasing the chances of successful conversion of a prospect such as the personalised recommendation system employed by Amazon (Li and Karahanna, 2015).

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Lower costs

The process of constructing a brick and mortar store requires considerable expenditure for various resources, which needs to be availed. This includes time resources, construction time, and human labour and financial resources. The e-commerce website, whereas, provides a more efficient solution for marking the product. There is a reduced expenses being expedited in labour costs since the supply chain could be interlinked with the business-to-business e-commerce system, the procurements of products become cheaper, transparent and faster (Laudon and Traver, 2016). Opening a brick and mortar store is expensive on different fronts, the organisation will have to pay to furnish and rent the space and hire employees. Opening an e-commerce website is comparatively less expensive and thus helps the

The disadvantages of operating solely online are mentioned below,

The website is everything

Guilt functions solely as online retailing businesses, the introduction and the interaction of the business with their clientele is through the website, they make their sales and collect payments from the website. The brick and Mortar sites have an added advantage of having a physical presence, and they could further develop a website for their needs. Even if the website fails, the physical store will be the backup. If the website is slow, poorly designed and unappealing, the business could be subjected to depreciation in the sales volume. The existence of an e-commerce store is limited to their website. Similar if the website is not professional or is not credible enough, it will hamper them potential of the business in fostering relationships with the customers. Since the online market place is largely saturated, the business will have to fend off greater competition too for establishing online presence.

The clientele is mobile

The clientele in general, are shifting towards the usage of more hand-held devices and are increasingly mobile. The business has to factor in the growing usage of mobiles and other hand-held devices in their business strategy with ensuring that the customer is able to access, brows and purchase the products from their mobile phones (Falk and Hagsten, 2015). Guilt will have to ensure that the website is mobile optimised, with custom building too make sure that the website is able to manage traffic from mobile phones. The website will have to be efficient and reliable proving the customers the information at one touch, if there is a lack of efficacy while using the website through a mobile device, it could hamper the sales.

Simplicity, Security and Stability

The website if it is not clear or user-friendly could result in a general neglect from the customers to purchase products. The fewer number of times the customers will gave to click on the website for making a purchase; it will be easier for them to make a purchase. Similarly, the website if it is not stable, crashes frequently and takes a toner time for loading would result in the customers hitting a virtual wall of brick. The website if it not functional enough with the payment section and the transactional components not smooth and efficient could result in a general depreciation of the customers using the website (Kremez et al., 2019). The data breaches, frauds and the multiple hacks will have disastrous repercussions, as evident from the case of Target. The customer wants to be secure while making their purchases and want reassurance that their financial data is not being compromised or misappropriated.

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Q2. What advice can you offer the Gilt Groupe's management team as they continue to develop their e- commerce strategy? What steps can they take to stay connected to their customers and to keep their customers coming back?

Answer - Advices for Guilt Group's management team develop their e-commerce strategy,

Personalisation and Social media strategy

Personalisation of the home page effectively hep the customer in viewing the products which they searched for in their last visit on the website. The personalisation of the home page will be based on the purchasing behaviour of the customer. Amazon is a pioneer in incorporating a customer-centric shopping experience with their homepage effectively helping the customers to view the related products to their last searched item. 59% of the customers believe it is more efficient in finding interesting products on the personalised retail sites. The social media strategy is a crucial part for a business, which operates in the contemporary marketplace. Having a social media strategy accentuates the visibility of the site and helps in generating more awareness regarding the brand with creating more customers. The customers visit the social media platforms for looking at the products, find relevant information regarding the business and read the product reviews. The social media strategy requires creating and maintaining profiles for the business on the various social media site such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. The business will have to be engaging and more appealing for the customer, outing the pertinent information at the first page and responding to the requests and questions promptly (Ramasubbu, 2018).

Interactive visualisation of Product

The online shopping is largely intangible and henceforth there is greater need for bridging the gap in between the customers and the products. The product visualisation helps in presenting the product in a more appealing manner to the customers. The customers will be able to study the details of the products, which will help in making an informed decision regarding the product. The guilt website could incorporate the zoom option on their products, which will allow the customers for zooming in the product; study the details and aid in the purchasing process. In addition, having a demo video inspires confidence, recent report by Invodo highlights that around 52% of the customers are more confident after watching a product video. Interactive 3D representation will also be handy for the customers in processing theft features of the product and help in increasing customer engagement, subsequently boosting the rate of conversion (Rosa, 2016).

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Artificial intelligence

The concept of Artificial intelligence has slowly become the buzzword of this generation, effectively proposing a territory, which is to be, harnessed for incrementing the business purposes. AI has embedded itself in different aspect of human society, the e-commerce domain is appropriate for integrating AI for making a significant influence. The business decision is more data driven and the demand for measurable metrics is increasing. The conversion rate, engagement rate, bounce rate and website traffic are crucial for the online marketers for retaining profitability and sustainability. This is the place AI apparatuses can be of significant assistance for Guilt Group's. They empower a business to accumulate research information progressively and track the manner in which potential clients interact with the website. Computer based intelligence encourages better proficiency and efficiency in management (Akter and Wamba, 2016). The business can adequately investigate client conduct on the site by utilizing algorithms to foresee what items may engage your prospects and give proposals. AI algorithms can be connected to robotize the coordination's and inventory management operations and other tasks.

The customer service provide by the Guilt Group's management team could be improved by

Customer relationship management platforms

The use of CRM platforms help in establishing effective coordination among the team, contributing to minimisation of customer dissatisfaction and aiding the business in streamlining the workforce processes. The use of CRM software help in providing important insights regarding the customer, improves management, interaction, and help in conceiving mire intricate relationship with the customers (Phillips, 2016).

Seeking customer feedback

The most important part of customer service is to ensure that the customers are able to share their feedbacks in an efficient manner. Customer feedback help[s in ensuring that the customer feels valued and their issues are resolved, establishing trust and preventing any negative comments and concerns. The customer feedback system provided by online-based business firm Uber is done through different channels with a dedicated social media page for responding to the requests and questions promptly.

Hiring and training

The business should focus on hiring and training professionals for improving their customer management skills, with promoting more empathy, knowledge and patience while dealing with customers. The employees should have proverb knowledge regarding the service and products provided with good communication skill for conveying their opinions in a positive manner (Phillips, 2016).

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Q3. What Social, Legal and Ethical issues they must consider while developing the strategy for e-commerce for Guilt Group is so that they must not face prosecution.

Answer - The Social, Legal and Ethical issues they must consider while developing the strategy for e-commerce for Guilt Group so as to ensure that they are not facing prosecution are mentioned below,

Social Issues

Internet technology and its utilization in web based business disturbs existing social and business connections and understandings . Expenses and advantages of innovation must be deliberately considered, particularly when there are so far no obvious legitimate or social rules

Public welfare and safety

The business will have to ensure that there is a strict approach in protecting the children and sentiments of the cultures. The products should not be in more manners complicit with promoting sales of drugs or other illegal materials and promote illegal activities. The social issues include the public welfare and safety. The business should refrain from promoting ay racist, discriminatory and offensive content on the website (Turban et al., 2018). The business should also factor in consideration an environmental friendly, contributing to the environment in a positive manner and being animal safe business approach as employed By Stella McCartney.

Taxation

The issue of taxation in the e-commerce sales illustrates the jurisdiction issues and complexity of governance. The e-commerce firms should ensure that they are updated on the taxation reforms. Since there is lack of rational and uniformity integration in the taxation rules, there meds to be more concentrated effort in ensuring that ta extraction rules and regulations are being adhered to strictly. This will also help in creating an appealing public image.

Legal issues

The business will have to ensure that the legal issues are being considered with a methodological approach and ensure that they are being compliant with the prevalent legal rules and regulations. The internet sophistication and fraud has grown exponentially in the recent year,

Copyright

The copyright laws effectively provide protection of the intellectual property owned by an individual or a group in the various forms, and henceforth cannot be freely sued. It is difficult in protecting the intellectual property in E-Commerce. It is important for taking in consideration the legal issues related with copyrights and unauthorised distribution of protected content. The copying of content also violates the copyright laws and could result in lawsuits (Cheeseman, 2019).

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Fraud

Internet Fraud is a kind of misrepresentation or misdirection which utilizes the Internet and could include stowing away of data or giving inaccurate data to the reason for deceiving victims and casualties out of property, cash, and inheritance. Internet Fraud is not viewed as a distinctive, particular crime however covers a scope of unlawful and illegal activities that occur in cyberspace.

Ethical Issues

In general there are different ethical issues associated with the application of Information Technology, The below mentioned issues are the ethical issues which are faced and are constantly spawning with the growing sector of e-commerce

Web tracking

E-commerce business draw data on how the consumers utilize a site through log documents. Investigation of log document implies transforming log information into different application services or introducing programming that can collect pertinent data from records in-house (Nguyen, 2016). Organizations track person's development through following programming and treat investigation. Projects, for example, treats raise a clump of security concerns. The following history is put away on your PC's hard plate, and whenever you return to a site, the PC knows it. Many shrewd end clients introduce projects, for example, Cookie cutters, Spam Butcher, and so on which can give clients some power over the treats.

The fight between web trackers and PC end clients is continually going on with a scope of utilization programs. For instance, software applications, for example, Privacy Guardian, My Privacy, and so on can ensure client's online protection by eradicating program's reserve, surfing history and treats.

Security and Privacy

The business will also have to ensure that the security and privacy issues are being considered and addressed before implementation of new strategies. The security and privacy issues if not addressed would result in a bad public relation and would depreciate the image of the business in the market. The customer will be scared while interacting with the website; they will have lack of confidence in purchasing from the website because of the lack of security (McMurrian and Matulich, 2016). If the confidential data were being misappropriated by the website, it would result in the business being subject to severe repercussions. The business will have to ensure that any data being accumulated will have to do with consent from the customers, the cookies being managed in a user approved and consented manner and the data is being safeguarded from any potential breach (Raghavan, 2017).

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