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COMP 1008 E-COMMERCE, Middle East College, UAE

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Task 1: Submit a work proposal for this assignment by the end of week 6th, which must include: Understanding of deliverables – a detail description of deliverables, General overview of proposed plan - initial understanding of solution to all tasks.

Introduction

The introduction of the World Wide Web has resulted in E-commerce gaining momentum and it has become the “place to shop” for consumers. As technology has further progressed and security concerns have comparatively been laid to rest, it has resulted ecommerce becoming a go-to market place for consumers. Hence, it is prudent that one understands the challenges and scope for improvement in order to better understand the requirements of consumers.

Various studies on Ecommerce have been conducted and it can be concluded that the rate of consumers purchasing online have increased two fold in the last few years. Further, the study on the online shopping behaviour of consumers conducted by MasterCard has concluded that there has been a huge positive shift in consumption pattern online. A majority of consumers’ purchasing was done on FMCGs or Fast Moving Consumer Goods. According to (Molla and Heeks, 2007), electronic retailing is advantageous to the organizations by way of increasing profits to the organization and resulting in satisfied consumers

There are various businesses that are successfully practicing ecommerce in Oman. A few of them are Amazon, eBay, OLX, Roumaan.com.com, Delivery hero, eBay, Fetchr, Souk.com, Wadi.com.

Task 2: Discuss 4 Business and EC models.

There are different types of ecommerce models that are used by online ecommerce companies and they are:

Business to Business

Also known as B2B, this model involves transactions that are conducted between different companies including transactions between wholesalers and distributers and/or retailers.

Business to Consumer

Acronym is B2C. This model involves transactions that exist between companies and end user consumers. Electronic retailing is an example of B2C model where consumers shop virtually on the internet.

Consumer to Consumer

This model which is abbreviated as C2C involves transactions that occur between two customers where used products are purchased and sold.

Consumer to Business

Abbreviated as C2B, this model of ecommerce takes place when companies want to purchase a product, idea or service from individuals. Crowdsourcing logo, product designs and so on are examples of C2B.

Business to Administration

Also known as B2A or B2G or Business to Government model, this model consists of interactions between business and the public administration where services to the government are offered by corporates.

Consumer to Administration

Also known as C2A, this model involves transactions between consumers and public administration.

Ecommerce models being used by four of the businesses are as follows.

Amazon

Amazon usesBusiness to Consumer model. Amazon is a platform where sellers meet consumers online and sell their products to final consumers

eBay

eBay uses two different models. It uses Business to Consumer model. eBay, like amazon, connects consumers with sellers online. It also uses Consumer to Consumermodel. This is what distinguishes eBay from other online platforms. eBay allows consumers to auction their products online and/or sell them to other consumers.

OLX

OLX uses Consumer to Consumermodel. OLX connects consumers to other consumers where they can buy and sell used products online.

Roumaan.com

Roumaan.com uses Business to Consumer. Roumaan.com is an ecommerce platform where sellers are connected to consumers online.

Task 3: Discuss and elaborate 4 software technologies/strategies/techniques required.

Software used by the above mentioned ecommerce businesses

In order to create any website, the following tools will be required. With MS Visual at the forefront, HTML is used as an interface for consumers to interact and C language is used at the backend. In order to give a better experience to consumers, JQuery is used. This feature helps consumers get a better view of the product with its zoom in and zoom out feature (Salim and Al-Hanshi, 2018). However, a different view has been conclude by (Kolesar and Galbraith, 2000) that whether a consumer chooses to purchase or not depends on how the website looks, depth of information available and not on the experience of the consumers.

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According to w3techs.com, eBay uses JavaScript as a client side programming language. This is a language used for scripting, used mainly within web pages. eBay uses jQuery which is a JavaScript library that makes HTML more simplified and helps with animating and interacting. eBay also uses formats like PNG and JPEG to host their images online. Other software used to host the site include external CSS, embedded CSS, session cookies, www as default subdomain, and https as default protocol.

OLX which is a consumer to consumer portal that enables consumers to buy and sell products online. OLX was erstwhile called as Dubizzle until 2013.

OLX uses PHP as a scripting language to create web pages. Similar to Amazon, OLX uses JavaScript as their client-side programming language. The file format used by OLX to upload images is JPEG which is the abbreviation for Joint Photographic Experts Group.

Other software used on their website include external CSS, Session cookies, HTTP/2. OLX uses a social widget – Facebook, which enables any Facebook user to log-in and share links and web pages with their contacts.

OLX uses Google Ads as their advertising network.

Just as above, Amazon uses JavaScript as their client side programming language. Amazon uses PNG, JPEG and GIF as different image file formats to showcase their products on their web page.

Other software used by Amazon include External CSS, Embedded CSS, Twitter cards which help in attaching images and video formats while tweeting. Amazon uses their web hosting provider. Amazon’s server was earlier located in the Netherlands and has been recently moved to the United States.

Roumaan.com uses JavaScript as their client side programming language and JQuery to help consumers better the experience of online shopping.

Various ecommerce businesses use a wide variety of strategies and techniques to promote their products and services.

The CEO of Roumaan.com.com, MrAqueelSulaiman, in an interview with MasterCard revealed that a huge number of consumers visit their website every single day. He estimated approximately that the number is as high as 10,000 and at the very minimum, it is 8,000 consumers. E confirmed that ease of shopping online is one of the driving forces for such high numbers.

Roumaan.com uses their facebook page to interact with consumers. Their catchy homepage and easy navigation welcome consumers to browse through their page. Roumaan.com’s updated facebook page gives the latest news about their company and creates a platform where the consumers can interact and expect speedy response from the company and ensure their grievances if any are quickly fixed.

Amazon uses various techniques to attract and retain consumers. Amazon ensures that they do not deliver on a “one size fits all” policy. Instead, Amazon believes in tailoring and customizing their experiences to ensure they increase their sales. Each consumer, when logged on to Amazon’s home page, sees products that they are most likely to shop for depending on the products the consumers have bought earlier and also includes products that the consumer would have searched online elsewhere as well.

Consumers are social being and Amazon understands it and puts it to their use by creating a platform where consumers can rate and share their experiences with the product. This helps shoppers to gauge the product based on reviews and make wise buying choices accordingly.

eBay focuses on building consumer data and use strategies such as data mining and artificial intelligence to understand consumers better and tailor their experiences accordingly by using data to modify their inventory. Their understanding of demand using big data helps them reduce wastage that occurs from holding onto inventory that does not result in sales.

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Unlike other models used by ecommerce giants like amazon, eBay uniqueness lies in the fact that they also have an auction system. eBay uses various tool which help them with automating their sales and result in reduced costs through better accuracy.eBay focuses on creating value for consumers, building trust, improving selection and ensuring convenience. eBay has a lot of advantages for their sellers as well such as building their customer network through good marketing skills and better access to consumers from all corners of the world.eBay believes in continuous improvement and to rectify error and ensure in increased customer satisfaction.
OLX being one of the first of its kind online has been the beneficiary of first movers’ advantage. Having garnered the loyalty of majority of consumers through this, OLX has worked on retaining them while also investing in gaining new consumers through their web page which is easy on the eyes with their catchy colors and easy to browse web design.

OLX uses various social networking applications like Facebook and twitter to get maximum mileage in terms of informing and reminding consumers of their services. OLX also works with advertising agencies to come up with interesting and relevant advertisements on television, newspapers, internet and various other platforms.

Task 4: Analysis of 4 factors responsible for less EC practices.

Factors responsible for less ecommerce practice in the country

1. Logistics

In a market that is not a simple one, it is difficult to outsource delivery to third parties. However, considering to adopt in-house method involves huge amount of expenditure which does not seem like a favorable idea to many new businesses.  (Sanyal andHisam, 2016)

2. Warehousing

According to (Sanyal andHisam, 2016), warehousing is a challenge because it is difficult to find businesses that will provide affordable warehousing solutions. It is necessary to find a good warehousing partner because it will help in reducing the expenses in case of returns and when packages go undelivered.

3. Consumers lack trust due to unethical practices

Unethical practiceslike fraud is a huge risk for online consumption. According to (BBC 2005), one in amongst every ten thousand transactions were fraudulent and this was just in the UK. If this number were to be looked at world over, it would be significantly higher. Forums like eBay try their best reducing risk by establishing the credential of potential sellers and there by ensure low risk to consumers. Companies need to work on building trust of consumers on the safety of online payment systems. According to (Matic and Vojvodic, 2014) lack of trust in the security of online consumption has an impact on using ecommerce as a source for consumption. According to (Vehovar, 2003) the biggest hurdle in front of online consumption is security. According to (Pavlou, 2003) security is at the top most priority.

4. Lack of Top Management support

In case of well established companies, the idea of changing from brick and mortar form of business to click form of business, seems daunting (Alshawaf. A and Khalfan, 2014). Hence, this is one of the factors why the adoption of ecommerce is slow in Oman

Task 5: Discussion of Any 5 aspects like; technical, social, legal, political, ethical and scholastic etc.

Various measures need to be taken to promote and improve ecommerce practices on following grounds:

Technicalmeasures

Developing better and easily navigable software that can encourage consumers who are new to ecommerce and to start using it for their shopping requirements.
Slow network and substandard coding has sometimes resulted in slow uploading of webpages. In the fast paced world where no one waits for anything, this acts as a big disadvantage since the consumer might shift to the competition if they are inconvenienced by the technology used by the company.

Corporates need to ensure safety of online payments by building firewalls and helping consumers protect their bank details from being stolen by fraudsters. This can be done by collaborating with various security companies and giving a safe platform for online consumption to the consumers. By building faith and trust in consumers, more Omani will be ready to opt for online consumption as their go-to when it comes to meeting their shopping needs

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Socialmeasures

With a huge percentage of people having an online presence, be it Facebook or twitter, companies need to take advantage of this and use it to reach out to consumers and advertise and promote their goods and services. Peer reviews help in increasing sales. By giving gifts or cashbacks when existing consumes recommend companies to their peers, ecommerce businesses can increase their market as well as build customer loyalty. According to (Khan, Hatami, Sasidharan and Al-Roshdi, 2017) ecommerce is the easiest way to influence consumers.

Legal measures

Many companies online sell fake products under different brand names. This results in the consumer losing faith in not only online consumption but also entails in building a negative perception of the brand. With strong Trademark law of Oman, Industrial Property Law protects registered trademarks and thus help in ensuring that consumers are not tricked into buying fake products and also help various brands in ensuring that their identity is not stolen or copied by copycat companies.

Political measures

Government has understood the need for ecommerce in Oman. The resulting changes in law such as legalization of ecommerce through the adoption of Electronic Transactions Law in 2008 has seen a growth spurt in online trade in Oman. Further, with the information technology authority in Oman has been taking giant leaps forward through the incorporation of information technology and communication to ensure the betterment of ecommerce. By progressing at the same pace, and opening up avenues for businesses and entrepreneurial growth of Omani citizens, the number of ecommerce businesses can increase.

Ethical measures

Social media has always been seen in a negative light due to their prying eyes on the day to day lives of the consumers. Many research papers have been written on the dark side of ecommerce. The World Wide Web is rift with unethical practices. Data mining and use of big data are seen as advantages by the corporates. However, this results in social networks leaking data for money to large corporate companies which then use this data to target consumers and sell their products. The lack of discretion while using personal information is seen as one of the obstacles that companies have to overtake in order to ensure to build consumers’ trust in online consumption. This can be done by ensuring that the companies making their policies more all-encompassing to include data storage and usage and persuade the consumers through their actions and deeds to use ecommerce without fear of data being stolen and build trust amongst the consumers.

This process needs to be done in tandem with the government and the corporates need to ensure that they respect the privacy of the consumers and share data and use them only after receiving the permission of the owner of the data.According to (El Khatib and Khan, 2017) young gen z, or in other words, online generation, enjoy using internet to browse since data is reliable. The enjoyable features of ecommerce consumption is more preferred than their privacy and during consumption (Belanger, Hiller and Smith, 2002). Variety and quality of the product are key aspects which influence the consumers and ensure they are satisfied (Alam and Yasin, 2010). According to (Zatalini and Pamungkas, 2016) ensuring privacy of consumers and speedy service are what lead to customer loyalty. (Suh and Han, 2003) concluded that the major issue in online consumption is lack of security. Good security is directly proportional to consumers’ satisfaction.

Conclusion

While Oman is seeing a slow growth in Ecommerce, by ensuring that ethical practices are followed and increasing the data security, we will be able to see a complete shift from brick and mortar stores to click form of business. With the growth of social media and constantly advancing technology, Oman will be seen as one of the go-to markets for business undertakings.

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