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(Image Number 1 from http://organisationcommunication.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/organisation-charts.html)

After much searching on the internet and failing to find organisational structures of these companies, I found a generic organisational chart (above diagram) that from what I could uncover from my research fits the above companies' structures to some degree.  During the discussions of the companies I will add any information I found of their structures.

Morrisons

Morrisons is a supermarket in the UK.  This is the companies basic statement of their business aims.

“Our business is mainly food & grocery and, uniquely, we source & process most of the fresh food that we sell though our own manufacturing facilities. It gives us close control over provenance & quality as do the number of committed and trained professionals in our stores who prepare our food for our customers. We have more skilled colleagues preparing food in store than any other retailer. Every week, 11 million customers pass through our doors and 117,000 colleagues across the business work hard each day to deliver great service to them. We cover more than 11 million households with our Morrisons.com service. With competitive, permanently low prices and our price matching facility, we are committed to helping our customers save money every day.” (Morrisons, 2016)

The organisational Structure is rather tall, it had 6 levels in the hierarchy, there are 6 departments, which consist of the following:

Human Resources

Finance

Market Research

Accounting

Administration

Production

All of these departments a have a group of line managers, all of these departments have supervisors and a minimum of 20 employees to manage.

These are Morrisons core business aims as of 2016 from their website:

“There are six priorities ahead for the business as we rebuild the company by defining and strengthening the brand:

Being more competitive - We invested £300 million in our customer offer last year and aim to do more this year. We have cut the prices on staple groceries, simplified communication in stores and now have clearer, more impactful promotions. We're developing our “Made by Morrisons” programme - driven by The Morrisons vertical integration model. Our aim is to provide a range of prices that are simpler, more competitive and based on Morrisons strengths.

Serving our customers better - We've recruited nearly 5,000 new colleagues and we're rescheduling a further 10,000 toward the busiest times of the week. We've introduced new express tills and we're scrapping the predictive software for queue lengths. Existing self-service checkouts are being replaced with best-in-class technology and we're reorganising our wine & produce layouts. We're on with these initiatives and they will be complete everywhere by Christmas. We believe a lot of small things together will serve our customers better.

Customers are beginning to notice with our internal customer satisfaction score starting to rise.

Finding local solutions - Elements of each store's ranging, pricing, promotions & services can be localised, be more relevant and more successful. With freedom to make local decisions and be more active in the community, the company can use its knowledge of customers' tastes & needs to tailor an offer to local areas more efficiently and more accurately than a wholly centralised formulaic approach.

Introducing popular and useful services - We already have strong service departments along with 400 cafes, 142 dry cleaners, 120 pharmacies and over 300 petrol stations. With our freehold sites we have the opportunity to add further services - in stores and in car parks - such as phone & tablet repairs and parcel collection that are not capital intensive and will enhance our returns.

Simplify and speed up - A modern retailer needs to be lean, quick and agile. The leadership team has reduced from 110 to 65; head office is now down to under 2,000 from a peak of 3,500. Morrisons is becoming more responsive as a result.

To make the core supermarkets strong again - Improving the shopping trip for customers and making the core supermarkets strong again is the cornerstone of the renaissance of Morrisons. Our new dialogue with customers is helping us understand the heart of what Morrisons stands for. We're introducing a new “Fresh Look” refit programme to upgrade the entire estate by the end of 2018 - including the 200 stores that have not been brightened up in more than five years. We also have a separate “back to best” maintenance programme for each store; inside and out will be completed by the end of next month and will reset the physical condition of the estate. This will all be done within existing capex expectations.” (Morrisons, 2016)

The below link is to an excellent article on the model of supermarket business, which will help if any clarification of what a supermarket is and does is needed. “By identifying the supermarket's complete core process and function structure, this model provides a highly efficient tool for more accurate business process identification, improvement

and design.” (Steeneken & Ackley, 2016): Supermarket Article

Morrisons core business aims are selling groceries and other goods and services.  As with most of the supermarkets they are a click and bricks business and have been concentrating on their on-line offering as a second line service to back-up their stores.  As can be seen from their core business aims statement above they are concentrating on improving their stores and the products and services they offer inside them.  This seems to be a common trend in the supermarket industry, with several of the bigger supermarkets cutting costs and improving their stores to fight the budget supermarket threat. The customers appear to like the on-line services that are available, but more and more people are reverting/continuing to go to the supermarket to shop, as they prefer to see what they are getting before they buy it, this is a common problem with on-line ordering in the grocery sector, and perhaps explains why the growth in on-line sales in this sector, though advertised strongly at one point, is not as pronounced as in other areas, such as clothing.

Morrisons only mention of their on-line service is to state that they have 11 million households being covered by them, and as such points towards them being content with this at the moment.  Again this signals that supermarkets are going to prioritise their stores rather than their on-line sales, for the foreseeable future at least.

AO.com

AO.com is a purely on-line seller of electrical equipment.  This is their statement of their basic business aims from their website:

“Who we are

Re-defining retailing through a devotion to happiness and amazing customer service.

AO isn't a normal company. We like to push boundaries and do things differently.

We're on a mission to become a leading European online retailer of electrical products. We also want to change the world of retail and be at the forefront of online retail innovation.

We want our customers to demand more from every other retail experience as a result of the way we treat them. We want consumers to become intolerant of poor service. They have worked hard for their money and we believe that they deserve better than most retailers provide. We want to be at the heart of driving change for retail good and to make the journey an enjoyable one.” (AO.com, 2016)

After a great deal of research into the organisational structure of AO.com I could find nothing about it.  I have assumed that it has a similar structure to other on-line businesses that fit the model in Image number 1.

AO.coms core aims as of 2016 are thus from their website:

“Our mission is to become the best electrical retailer in Europe. We will do this by being exceptional in the moments that matter and simply by caring more. We put customers first in everything we do and engineer the supply chain accordingly to provide the best service possible for them in the most efficient, intelligent and economic way. We aim to be the shortest and smartest link between the customer and the manufacturer and thus to offer the best proposition at the lowest cost. Our unbeatable prices, huge range and availability and great content, complemented by outstanding service means that our customer satisfaction levels are exceptional.

Price: We aim to offer the best price and will match any price in the market but we are not a price leader.

Range and Availability: We offer an extensive range of MDA items – over 4,000 SKUs in the UK and we are growing our range of SDAs and TVs. In Germany we have almost 2,000 MDA SKUs and a number of SDAs. Most of our SKUs are available for next day delivery – not many of our competitors can offer that!

Delivery and Installation: Our in-sourced seven-day delivery (six in Germany and the Netherlands) is the best in the market for free delivery. We also offer a wide range of delivery options including next-day and time-slots. We can also install new appliances and remove and recycle the old ones too.

Content: We ensure our content is clear but detailed, explaining product benefits to customers better than anyone else, with feature-led reviews and 3D animation which tells the manufacturer's stories.

Product Protection Plans: We offer to customers, as agent on behalf of Domestic & General, product protection plans. These include a number of benefits and customers pay monthly, with the ability to cancel at any time. The plans can remain in force as long as a customer has the product, giving complete peace of mind. The promotion and sale of these plans provides the Group with additional revenue and incremental profit.

Service: Of course we can claim that our service is wonderful but independent customer feedback scores are exceptionally high. We give customers a flexible and personal approach and make clear commitments to them – that we then deliver on.” (AO.com, 2016)

Ao.com have successfully operated just on-line since they began trading.  They have captured the market in white goods and small electricals.  This is an area, along with clothing, where the internet has taken a large chunk of the trade.  AO.com are currently expanding their business across Europe, with deliveries being offered in several countries as well as the UK and Ireland.  As well as their traditional website they run phone apps on Android and IPhone in line with current trends in m-commerce (see task 2 for a more detailed look at m-commerce).

Sportsdirect.com

Sports direct is a bricks and clicks business trading in sportswear and sporting goods.  Their basic business aims are:

“The Group commenced trading as a single store in Maidenhead, founded by Mike Ashley in 1982. We have now expanded to become not only the UK's leading sports retailer by revenue and operating profit, but also the owner of a significant number of world famous sport, fashion and lifestyle brands.

Currently we operate c. 420 sports stores in the UK alone, the majority of which trade under the SPORTSDIRECT.com fascia. The Premium Lifestyle division operates c. 130 stores in the UK, under fascia's which include Flannels, Cruise, USC and Van Mildert. Internationally our growth has proven unrelenting, with our products being offered via wholly-owned retail outlets, joint ventures with other retailers and stores in other retailer's stores. We currently operate c. 270 stores in 19 European countries, and our strategy is to expand into all major EEA countries over the next 3 - 5 years.

From the local SPORTSDIRECT.com high street store to the famous Lillywhites store in London's Piccadilly Circus, there is a sure to be a SPORTSDIRECT.com store right on your doorstep, offering an incredible choice of football boots, running shoes, football kits, fitness clothing and much more.

Alongside our retail outlets, www.sportsdirect.com provides a full multi-channel approach to improve your shopping experience. The site gives you access to a huge range of quality sports apparel being sold by our retail partners, which you can arrange to have delivered to your door from our extensive online catalogue. Although Sports Direct do not provide delivery services outside of the UK, these services can be provided to you by Barlin Delivery Limited, an independent third party that you can contract with for overseas delivery via the site.

Whether you are a beginner or a professional, our diverse product range will assist you to train and improve in your chosen sport or activity. Made by world famous external brands such as Nike, Adidas and Puma, as well as internal brands such as Dunlop, Slazenger, Everlast, Lonsdale and Karrimor, the quality of our products is exceptional. Our specialist sports apparel and fashion based retailing ensure that we stock everything that you need, whether you want to master a sport or just remain on trend.

Customer service is at the forefront of our business, and is key in enabling us to retain our position as Consumers' Champion. As we continue to offer excellent value on sports equipment, clothing and sportswear, we are always pleased to receive feedback from you.” (sportsdirect.com, 2016)

“Sports Direct aspires to be a leading sports and lifestyle retailer internationally and to deliver sustainable growth for our shareholders in the medium to long term.

The Group\'s strategy is to offer an unrivalled range of high quality leading brands to our customers, and maximise the efficiency, capacity and effectiveness of our operations to deliver this experience. It is based on four key objectives which are outlined below:

Identify – Brand acquisitions and property enhancement

Invest – Store portfolio and workforce

Develop – Website and m-Commerce, enhanced product ranges

Promote – Broadest range of brands

Strategic acquisitions and investments are an important part of the Group\'s growth strategy. The Group maintains an active search for strategic opportunities, both in our existing markets and in new territories.” (sportsdirect.com, 2016)

Sports direct are a bricks and clicks operator, and have a strong on-line offering, with the full range of their stock available for a quick delivery.  Although this is an important area for them, they also have a large portfolio of clothing brands that they manage and use to help them offer sporting goods at good prices and helps them keep up with the trend for buying clothes on-line whilst still operating out of stores.  Although they have had well publicised problems with working conditions and wages, they are still operating well financially, and expect healthy profits dependant on the strength of the pound.

Identify the main stakeholders in the Organisation and relate the business aims to the different stakeholders. (LO1.2)

A stakeholder is anyone with an interest in a business. Stakeholders are individuals, groups or organisations that are affected by the activity of the business. They include:

 Owners who are interested in how much profit the business makes.

 Managers who are concerned about their salary.

 Workers who want to earn high wages and keep their jobs.

 Customers who want the business to produce quality products at reasonable prices.

 Suppliers who want the business to continue to buy their products.

 Lenders who want to be repaid on time and in full.

 The community which has a stake in the business as employers of local people.

Stakeholders can be split into two groups, internal and external.  Internal stakeholders are stakeholders within the business, external stakeholders are stakeholders who have an interest in the businesses performance.  Note the diagram below to see a few of the stakeholders of a company and what of what type they are.

(Image from: https://www.boundless.com/accounting/textbooks/boundless-accounting-textbook/introduction-to-accounting-1/overview-of-key-elements-of-the-business-19/business-stakeholders-internal-and-external-117-6595/)

From looking on the internet, below is a list and description of some of the stakeholders of the 3 businesses I have looked at, and their relationship to those businesses.

Internal Stakeholders

Staff Members: The team members that work at these businesses.  They carry out roles laid down for them by their respective companies.  They rely on the businesses to provide them with employment for wages, a good working environment and a secure job.  Any changes in working environment or a threat to the trading ability of the company along with other problems can cause staff members to become unhappy and perform to the detriment of the company, affecting their relationships with customers and fellow staff.

Managers: Including line managers and senior management.  They carry out roles laid down by the company, and generally manage the staff members and lower managers for the company.  Their main job is to instil the company values and ensure that all staff/managers are completing their tasks to company standards and that targets are being met.  They also rely on the businesses for wages and in many instances have shares in the company, so giving them more interest in the company performing well.

Owners: The individual(s) who own the business.  They can be owners, shareholders, board members, partners etc.  They have a full interest in the business being a success and continuing to trade well to provide them with profit/dividends etc.  They have an effect on all the other stakeholders, and need to plan and act carefully to ensure the business flourishes.

Investors: These are people/companies who have put money into the business to make a profit, but have no interest in the running of the business, only its performance.  The continued good performance of the business will ensure investors will not pull their money out and make attracting new investors easier.

External Stakeholders

Customers:  These are the single most important stakeholders of the business.  They buy the products which pays for all the other stakeholders interests.  Keeping customers happy is the driving force behind many of these companies' policies and procedures.  Without happy customers who keep using them, then profits would be hit, and staff members could lose their jobs, stores may have to close which would affect the local community, shareholders would not be paid a dividend, suppliers would lose their trade with the stores and many other knock-on effects.

Suppliers: These supply the products that the business sells to the customers, whether they have to process them or not.  The businesses I have chosen take a lot of time and effort sourcing their suppliers, to ensure good quality goods that provide the company with a targeted profit margin (G.P% or gross profit).  Morrisons and Sports direct take great pains in sourcing their products, using overseas offices to find and organise their suppliers.  Sports direct have taken to buying the suppliers out themselves to make the process easier and cheaper and now own several sports brands themselves.  Morrisons concentrate on sourcing their products from where ever they can negotiate the best deals, even if that means looking abroad or trading with supplier's groups (farmers for milk for example, instead of using one of the big dairies for some of the milk, to help with public perception they also trade with the farmers group to source their milk at a seemingly better price for the farmers).

Local community: This area rarely has a monetary affect except that this is where the customers live.  But the business can affect the local communities in regards to building new stores, attracting other stores to the area, employing residents, effect on traffic and other environmental issues.  All of the businesses invest in ‘helping' in their local and national areas by adopting charities, involving schools in their business (visits to see the business working) and involving themselves with councils and committees to show an involvement in the area other than making money.  This helps them garner good public opinion and put their brands in the minds of prospective customers (e.g. school children).

Government: The government at local and national level have several impacts on all the businesses.  There are the taxes the businesses have to pay, the laws of the land that they have to adhere to, along with the bodies who monitor those laws (e.g. EHOs) who can levy fines and close businesses.  The better a business does then the more tax they pay (unless they have agreed a deal with the tax man (see American companies such as google and Facebook)).  And the better at adhering to laws and regulations a business is the better the public perception (see Sports direct and their problems with warehouse staffing and HMRC and minimum wage).

Unions: “Unions are democratic organisations representing a group of individuals who are workers in a particular industry or industries. Equity, like any other union aims to improve the working lives of its members and represent their interests at a range of levels. To achieve these aims unions may, for example: negotiate with employers, organise industrial action, set minimum pay levels, lobby government departments and ministers, take up legal claims and provide a range of services to their members.” (equity, 2016).  A good relation with unions within their business keeps a company in a good aura in the publics and workers' eyes.  It helps the business to comply with laws that affect their employees and provides a go-between and help with workers' problems with the company.  If a company ignores or treats the unions/staff badly then it can be brought to the public's attention by the unions creating bad publicity and seemingly bad attitude from the company affecting profits and sales (see Sports directs' recent warehouse problems).

Professional Associations: Companies use these to prove that they are up-to-date with the way the public perceive how a business should be run.  The businesses pay a memberships fee, usually yearly, and they can use the accreditation to prove they are for example butchering meat correctly, by displaying the accreditation in stores and on marketing.  The better the business does the higher standing the accrediting body gets in the public mind, plus any accreditation is seen as a positive thing so helping the awarding body gain more members.

Banks/Financiers:  All the companies use banks in their day to day activities, and they pay for these services.  From money handling to loans and overdrafts, companies need an institution that is reliable and trustworthy to handle their money.  Also under this area I have included the people who handle the share management for the companies and other corporate finance.  They take money out of the businesses too, so have a vested interest in the companies performing well.  If the company is performing well, then banks themselves can invest in shares to provide them with more profit, so making the banks even more interested in the company's performance.  There have been cases with small businesses and one bank where by the bank was found to be forcing small businesses out of business by bad banking practices and buying up and selling off of their property. This is a risk any company takes with the banking sector, if the sector decides it is not worth the risk performing services for a specific company or there is little chance of increased business for the bank form the company's performance then the bank could just walk away demanding all monies owed leading to bankruptcy and closure.

The environment: Many scholars are now putting forward that the environment is a stakeholder.  Indeed, businesses do have an impact on the environment with the waste produced and production processes.  But as this quote from Woodward (2002) shows there is still a problem with how the environmental issues are voiced

“But even those stakeholder theorists that give credence to the natural environment as a stakeholder have nevertheless still failed to address the obvious point that flora and fauna, the biosphere, mountain ranges and the oceans cannot themselves give expression to the matters of concern about corporate activity that would most distress those elements could they but articulate such concern. So the question then becomes: “Who is best able to speak for the environment?” Are Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and other environmental pressure groups best qualified – or do they merely think they are? Who has granted them the mandate they have so obviously assumed? And is there a better way?” (Woodward, 2002)

Until the natural environment has had incorporation into companies' stakeholder management processes and not just mentioned as a tool to help improve public standing and adhering to government policies then it cannot be viewed as an actual stakeholder but of something of key concern.

In conclusion, there could be a never ending list of stakeholders for any business as many areas have an interest in how a business performs and interacts.  Each of the businesses I have chosen has the above stakeholders.  It could be a never ending list, but It does make you think about the level of affect business have on other businesses, people and the environment.  

Task 2 (LO2: 2.1 and M3)

2 Understand the impact of e-Commerce

For each of the 3 organisations chosen identify how each organisation could effectively utilise e-commerce to develop their business and the risks of implementing the developments to the organisation. (LO 2.1)

I will pretend that the three businesses I have chosen do not already have an e-commerce website so as to make my discussion of where businesses could utilise e-commerce to develop their business and the risks of implementing the developments to the organisation a lot easier and clearer.

In this day and age businesses need to be making a concerted effort to have an on-line presence, especially one where their customers can buy their services.  As more and more of the big names on the high street are being challenged by smaller companies setting up on-line businesses without the need for high street stores, therefore being able to provide a cheaper and more personal service, the big names have to up the amount they do on-line.  The days of just having a website for promotional and advertising uses is becoming a thing of the past.  E-commerce and especially M-commerce (mobile-commerce) are driving some of the businesses traditionally on the high street out of businesses or eating away at their customers because the on-line offerings are cheaper and easier to find.  Having their own on-line presence helps them to tap into the on-line market while using their brand names to overcome some of the reservations customers have with security and quality and to try and regain those lost customers.

Areas for e-commerce & their risks.

Morrisons Only

Using a website to promote and advertise their range of products is a basic start but would be missing out on the on-line buying scene.  They could open up the full range that is available in their stores to being delivered to their customers' homes.  This brings costs in the form of a fleet of delivery vans nationwide, because it would not be worth offering deliveries to only a small portion of their customers.  There would be a further cost of extra wages for van drivers and extra staff to pick the orders all affecting profit.  Although on-line sales for supermarkets is an area ripe for investing in, it is still an area with low percentage of overall grocery sales (5%).

“After 15 years, online grocery shopping still hasn't caught on in Europe. Even where it's most popular, in the United Kingdom, online accounts for just 5 percent of total grocery sales. In France, it accounts for 2 percent of the total, and no other country is even close to 1 percent. As a percentage of retailers' revenue, the e-commerce share is similarly low. At leading retailers such as Asda, Leclerc, Sainsbury's, and Tesco, e-commerce today represents 4.5 to 7 percent of total grocery sales.” (Coen de Vuijst, 2014)

As the above statement shows there is little demand in Europe as a whole for on-line grocery shopping, but this an area where a large push by a big player with a proven quality background could take a larger share.  But the low interest of customers means that it would be a large risk to profits and if the service flopped it would not help the image of the company to their customers, future investors and other stakeholders.  But it would not be good for the company if it were seen to be being left behind whilst everyone else is offering an on-line sales portal.

Sports direct Only

As with Morrisons, an on-line website with the ability to order and receive stock is the basic offering that they should be doing.  Although the market for on-line clothing is vastly different to the market for on-line groceries.

“Believe it or not, the apparel market is larger than the gaming market. Sales are estimated to top $1 billion for 2014. Moreover, men's apparel has outpaced total market growth, for the second year, and women's sales have lagged somewhat behind the market as a whole.” (ROLLANDI, 2014)

As can be seen from the above quote there is a substantial market for clothing on-line, and it is still increasing.  The ability to buy clothes on-line appeals to many people because they don't have to go hiking around from shop to shop trying to find things, they can do it from the comfort of home.  And if ordering from within the UK the delivery times are generally very good (1-3 days for most items). But it would be a large risk to profits and if the service flopped it would not help the image of the company to their customers, future investors and other stakeholders.  But it would not be good for the company if it were seen to be being left behind whilst everyone else is offering an online sales portal.

AO.com

AO.com are a business that is performed on-line solely.  They a very successful at what they do and are expending Europe wide at the moment.  They have done the basics and more with their web site including offering a buy online service and other apps and services, whilst gaining custom from other businesses for AO to sell goods for them (e.g. Sainsbury's).  Their website is easy to navigate and finding what you want is simple too.  I have not used them myself, but reviews from the web show that their custom service is better than most offer, and they are using social media platforms to such a good extent that they won an awards

“We're also awarded the prestigious PayPal Best Large PurePlay Etailer, and pick up gongs for our social media campaigns and hit the 1m fans on Facebook mark.” (AO.com, 2016)

Areas all the companies could look into.

Another area of on-line sales that can be exploited is the M-commerce (M for mobile) side.

“More and more people are using mobile devices, especially smart phones, to do their regular shopping activities. Mobile retail sales have increased 25% year over year. Mobile accounts for 70% of time consumers spent on a retailer\'s site, and 20% of sales.” (InternetRetailer.com, 2016)

Image from (https://www.internetretailer.com/trends/mobile-commerce/)

As the above diagram shows, users are trending more towards mobile devices rather than using desktop computers.

By providing an app to use the businesses could tap into the M-commerce side providing another area for profit, especially by rewarding loyal customers, and using it to create a community.

“But as for revenue, only about 20 to 30 percent of a retailer\'s mobile sales come from their app, according to Forrester Research. It's not surprising therefore that Forrester's “The State of Retailing Online 2015” report found that 56% of retailers said mobile apps would not play a major part in their mobile strategy. To be clear: apps can certainly play a key role in retailers' mobile strategies, particularly for their most loyal customers. “(Salvesen, 2016)

Having an app for your customers also brings other problems as shown in the diagram below.

If your mobile app doesn't meet with user's expectations then you will be seen as providing below par customer service, even if your staff in stores are performing well, this will not be seen by on-line users but their views will affect all of your customers.

Security

A big area of concern for any e-commerce site users is security.  Are their details secure and not being used by other companies for marketing or by criminals for on-line fraud?  Are their banking details safe or could they be leaked to criminals for fraud and theft?   These are the top three areas of risk for e-commerce sites.

Fraud: E-commerce transactions are much more likely to result in fraud than face-to-face ones. The reason is that, when in doubt about the legitimacy of a particular transaction, web merchants cannot physically verify the validity of the card or verify that the cardholder is an authorized user by requesting other identification (e.g. passport). E-commerce fraud can take many shapes, including:

 A stolen card number is fraudulently used for an online purchase.

 An order is placed by a family member who is not authorized to use the card.

 A legitimate order is disputed by a customer who falsely claims that he did not receive the delivery.

 A credit is issued to himself by a criminal who has hacked into the merchant's system.

Data Breach: Criminals are always looking for ways to circumvent the e-commerce merchants' data protection mechanisms and steal the stored cardholder information. Sensitive data can be stolen online or at a physical location:

 Online data breach. Hackers can steal sensitive account information by:

 Intercepting transaction data during transmission to or from the merchant services provider.

 Accessing the insufficiently well protected payment processor's system.

 Physical site data breach. Criminals can get a hold of credit card data from a physical location by:

 Breaching a credit card processor's physical site.

 Having one of the processor's own employees steal data for them.

 Colluding with a driver for the company that provides document-shredding services for the processor who delivers the un-shredded documents to the criminals.

Customer Disputes and Chargebacks: Customer disputes and chargebacks are usually the top risk concern for e-commerce. They can be reviewed separately, but I prefer to place them in the same category, because customer disputes, as harmful as they are on their own, do the most damage when they deteriorate into chargebacks.

It is true that a data breach can potentially be far more damaging and fraud is a much more clear-cut threat, however customer disputes and chargebacks are, on the whole, much more time consuming. There are many causes for customer disputes and chargebacks, but the most common ones are:

 The merchandise is never received.

 The service is not provided as expected.

 The delivered item is defective or different from its description on the merchant's website.

 The transaction is fraudulent.

 The cardholder is billed before the item is shipped or the service provided.

 The cardholder is billed twice for the same transaction.

 The transaction amount is incorrect.

 A recurring transaction is processed after being cancelled by the cardholder.

 A credit is posted as a purchase.

 A credit is not processed when the customer expected.

 The cardholder does not recognize the merchant's name on their credit card statement.

 The card is charged without the cardholder's approval.

A number of resources offer advice on how consumers can protect themselves when using online retailer services. These include:

Sticking with well-known stores, or attempting to find independent consumer reviews of their experiences; also ensuring that there is comprehensive contact information on the website before using the service, and noting if the retailer has enrolled in industry oversight programs such as a trust mark or a trust seal.

Before buying from a new company, evaluating the website by considering issues such as: the professionalism and user-friendliness of the site; whether or not the company lists a telephone number and/or street address along with e-contact information; whether a fair and reasonable refund and return policy is clearly stated; and whether there are hidden price inflators, such as excessive shipping and handling charges.

Ensuring that the retailer has an acceptable privacy policy posted. For example, note if the retailer does not explicitly state that it will not share private information with others without consent.

Ensuring that the vendor address is protected with SSL when entering credit card information. If it does the address on the credit card information entry screen will start with \"HTTPS\".

Quality seals can be placed on the Shop web page if it has undergone an independent assessment and meets all requirements of the company issuing the seal. The purpose of these seals is to increase the confidence of online shoppers. However, the existence of many different seals, or seals unfamiliar to consumers, may foil this effort to a certain extent

Most large online corporations are inventing new ways to make fraud more difficult. However, criminals are constantly responding to these developments with new ways to manipulate the system. Even though online retailers are making efforts to protect consumer information, it is a constant fight to maintain the lead. It is advisable to be aware of the most current technology and scams to protect consumer identity and finances. Product delivery is also a main concern of online shopping. Most companies offer shipping insurance in case the product is lost or damaged. Some shipping companies will offer refunds or compensation for the damage, but this is up to their discretion.

Task 3 (LO2: 2.2 and M1)

Produce a report discussing the global impact of e-commerce on society in relation to both shopping and commercial uses.  (LO 2.2)

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