Introducing an E-commerce system to an organisation:
e-Commerce is now one of the most popular forms of shopping and is rapidly becoming part of day to day living in first world countries, almost everything can be purchased online and be delivered to your home for example groceries, clothes, electronics etc. Apple introduced there first online store over 18 years ago on November 10th 1997, Apple now provides online services to 39 countries and has over 1 billion visitors a year (Mangalindan, 2015)
Risks and Security Threats
Introducing an e-commerce system to an organisation can have certain risks for example a traditional retailer will need to justify the initial start-up costs and this business model might not fit into their work practices, however in the case of Apple there business model incorporates an online sales system into their business plan allowing it to become one of the main sources of income.
There are also a lot of security threats such as hacking and viruses which need to be addressed when introducing an e-commerce system to an organisation and it is pivotal that a safe and secure environment is incorporated for the organisation and customers details. There are numerous technologies available to protect important details such as using digital certificates and SSL (Secure Socket Layer) to ensure there is a secure link between the web browser and servers (Globalsign.com, n.d.). Apple has introduced a secure payment system and has implemented digital certificates and SSL (Fig2).
Fig 2. Image of Apples secure checkout encryption.
It is also important to consider the relevant laws when introducing an e-Commerce system to an organisation in the United Kingdom these are The Data Protection Act (1998), The Distance Selling Act (2000) and The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations (2000). (Britishlaw.org.uk, n.d.)
The Data Protection Act (1998)
The Data Protection Act is in place to protect the customer's details and ensure they are: (Gov.uk, N.D)
' 'used fairly and lawfully
' used for limited, specifically stated purposes
' used in a way that is adequate, relevant and not excessive
' kept for no longer than is absolutely necessary
' handled according to people's data protection rights
' kept safe and secure
' not transferred outside the European Economic Area without adequate protection'
The Distance Selling Act (2000)
The Distance Selling Act (2000) is in place to ensure the customer is not mislead and the products are advertised as accurately as possible, Once an order is placed the customer must receive written correspondence regarding there order to ensure it has been placed correctly, this will then act as a proof of purchase.
The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive Regulations) (2000)
The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive Regulations) (2000) is closely related to The Distance Selling Act and states that the terms and conditions must be clearly stated on the website.
If an e-Commerce business did not comply with the relevant laws then they could be putting the customer's security at risk and ultimately face prosecution from the governing bodies.
The Global Impact of e-Commerce in Society
As addressed in the Introducing an e-Commerce system to an organisation section e-Commerce is becoming a vital part of our day to day living, the report will now concentrate on the global impact of e-Commerce in society.
The biggest impact e-Commerce has had on society is that it has made the global marketplace more accessible to consumers, Allowing customers to buy products online eliminates the distance and time barrier to customers who don't live near or don't want to travel to a physical store. Apple allow customers to buy products online and offer a collection and a deliver service to their door through an external delivery agency. Having customers being able to shop online provides a tremendous opportunity for the business, this is because they are not limited to a physical store transactions can happen at any time of any day throughout the world.
Another key impact is that Apple can communicate with customers directly using there saved email address and create appropriate marketing materials about new products based on the customers past purchases and interests. An example would be a customer who purchased an Apple Mac computer could be sent information regarding accessories, service contracts and new models.
As the popularity of e-commerce has increased new marketing models have been introduced for example PPC (pay per click) adverts, mailshots, newsletters and product review websites. As a result Apple Inc. has become a status symbol (Torelli, 2013) with people willing to pay ''600 for the latest 'must have' devices.
Amazon currently has the highest amount of unique monthly visitors (US sites) which is reported at 188 million followed by eBay and Walmart. In August 2015 Apple.com had 80 million unique visits to their website (Statista, 2015). Although compared to Amazon this figure seems relatively low it is worth noting that Apple is a technology company, whereas Amazon has a wide range of sellers and suppliers selling different items to different niches of the market.
Apple has grown enormously over the last 15 years and is constantly improving their products and services, its e-Commerce status will continue to grow with the company with software such as Apple Pay, App Store, iBook and iTunes as well as new hardware developments such as iPhone 7.
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