Assessment for a New Jersey Shore Boardwalk Clothing Store Adopting e-Commerce
In assessing the potential of a Jersey Shore-based clothing store adopting e-commerce there are several considerations that need to be taken into account. First and most significant are the relative strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of choosing to extend the business online. A SWOT analysis is provided as part of this analysis to help guide the business owners. Second, there is the issue of how the store will address the international commerce issues of trust, integrating and serving other cultures, language differences, government and infrastructure issues as well. Each of these factors are explored in this analysis. Addressing the challenges of how the Internet will automatically extend the company's operations well beyond its traditional boundaries is analyzed, in addition to how the company will manage the speed and efficiency differences across its many served markets as well. In conclusion the two more common types of online crime are credit card fraud and identity theft. This analysis also includes a series of recommendations to the store on how to reduce and eliminate these two common forms of online crime from occurring to themselves sand their customers.
SWOT Analysis of the Store's e-Commerce Strategy
One of the most powerful aspects of any e-commerce strategy today is supported by the pervasive nature of social networks and their exponentially growing use globally. One of the most inherent strengths of any e-commerce strategy then is the integration of social networking functionality that allows for direct interactions with customers (Bernoff, Li, 2008). This is a foundational element of all e-commerce systems that are generating above-average sales and profits, in that they attain a level of interaction with customers that engenders trust and over time, customer loyalty (Piturro, 1999). The purpose of this SWOT analysis is the evaluate how the clothing store open on the Jersey Shore boardwalk can become a globally recognized brand, noted for its commitment to customer service and excelling beyond customers' expectations.
The immediate strength of launching an e-commerce site for the clothing store is the opportunity to sell into an entirely new series of global markets. Being able to sell to customers whose preferred purchasing behavior is online often turns out to be one the most pivotal insights a small and emerging business can determine in the launch of its e-commerce sites (Ratnasingam, 2005). A second strength of choosing to open a new e-commerce site to sell the store's unique brand of clothing is the opportunity to further solidify the store's brand locally through search engine optimization (SEO) techniques in addition to advanced website promotion strategies and techniques as well (Nikolaeva, 2006). Having an online store can and often does become a strong catalyst for greater band identity and growth over time.
Any e-commerce initiative will take an exceptional amount of time and effort, in addition to advanced skills and expertise to maintain and add functionality to in order to keep a business competitive. The greatest potential weakness of any e-commerce strategy is not having the best possible technology partners and staff internally managing an e-commerce website or series of online properties (Gotzamani, Tzavlopoulos, 2009). This weakness can be catastrophic if not managed well. A second major weakness in allowing the e-commerce website and related systems to degrade in performance so that is respond times make it unusable (Beatty, Reay, Dick, Miller, 2011).The more content and pages a given website has, the slower it tends to performance if the entire e-commerce platform is kept up-to-date with the latest software patches and systems upgrades (Gotzamani, Tzavlopoulos, 2009). These weaknesses taken together can lead to an entire e-commerce business failing fast over time.
Increasing sales using the e-commerce website will occur as the store attracts the type of customers who choose to purchase products online either due to distance limitations or that they prefer the convenience of using their computers over going down to the store itself. The greatest single opportunity for any e-commerce site is to attract an entirely new segment of buyers that choose to purchase online vs. In person (Ratnasingam, 2005). A second significant opportunity is in getting greater insights into the customers they have, and the new customers they will attract with the website over time. Using analytics to determine the profile of existing customers visiting the site, in addition to entirely new market segments are invaluable. Insights gained using analytics based on successful e-commerce strategies have proven to be very effective in determining future product and service strategies (Farney, 2011).
The most significant threat is that the store itself is compromised, and transaction data stolen, both from customers and the company itself. Hacking e-commerce sites to gain credit card data and the system structure of e-commerce sellers can literally clean an online business out in a matter of days (Piturro, 1999). Security is therefore critical if the store is going to stay in business over the long-term. A second major threat is managing the legal implications if credit card, personal identity or any other customer data is stolen (Reinsch, 2005). The costs of litigation can quickly surpass any incremental gains from an e-commerce site, which means that businesses need to stay vigilant to this threat over time. Guarding against these threats is also one of the most important long-term investments in an e-commerce architecture over time.
Managing in the Issues of International Business from an e-Commerce Context
An e-commerce site immediately turns a local small business into a global one by virtue of the Internet's ability to immediately propagate a website to anyone, anywhere who has an internet connection and a browser. The issues of trust, culture, language, government and infrastructure all critical success factors for the future of any e-commerce website. The ability to carefully orchestrate all of these elements together into a unified strategy is critical for trust to be earned, maintained and grown over time for any e-commerce business (Beatty, Reay, Dick, Miller, 2011). Trust, the most critical asset any business can have, is earned through consistency and predictability of outcomes over time (Ratnasingam, 2005). It is an indispensable aspect of how a business operates and fortunately transfers across cultures well as repetitiveness, reliability and doing what one promises is a universal value all businesses who succeed do, regardless of the culture they operate in (Beatty, Reay, Dick, Miller, 2011). The store will need to use analytics and a continual evaluation of website performance including security to make sure its performance is consistent, and over time earns trust at the performance level first (Farney, 2011). This needs to be followed by the business Model aspects of defining reasonable return policies and seeking to serve customers and exceed their expectations on a consistent basis (Bernoff, Li, 2008).
From a culture, language, government and infrastructure perspective, the store needs to immediately consider which languages the site will be translated into today and in the future. Defining a translation roadmap is going to be critical to the success of the e-commerce site over the long-term and will also need to factor in the government and infrastructure requirements of potentially having sites dedicated to different regions of the world. While all of these elements are integrated tightly with each other from a strategy standpoint, those planning the e-commerce site need to be sensitive to differences in Internet infrastructure speed and stability and choose to have minimalist sites for those regions with low bandwidth (Gotzamani, Tzavlopoulos, 2009). Every aspect of the website's design need to reflect these national, regional and even metro area delineations that occur across foreign nations to a much greater extent than they often do in the U.S. And other westernized nations. Above all, the store needs to be very familiar with the legal implications in each of the countries those choose to operate in (Reinsch, 2005). All of these factors need to be brought together into a single unified strategic plan for their e0comemrce strategies for the short- and long-term.
Addressing the Legal Aspects of Global Reach, Speed & Efficiency of E-Commerce
The need for clarity of audit trails (Farney, 2011), very clear legal precedents including compliance to local, regional and national laws where transactions are occurring from (Reinsch, 2005) and an overarching strategy for minimizing legal risk (Piturro, 1999) all need to be in place prior to the launch of an e-commerce site. These elements or components of a broader plan will ensure the store has a scalable, consistent plan in place to manage their business as it expands past traditional boundaries and the speed and efficiency of the Internet itself accelerate transactions. Triangulating these factors together will give the store a greater opportunity to remain in control of governance, risk and compliance requirements as their business grows on a global scale over time. The foundational elements of having a legal strategy in place, complete with a very clear definition of transaction analysis and reporting across geographies including reporting to agencies of foreign nations, all…