The Challenges of E-Commerce
The Challenges of E-Commerce
Today’s business managers face many challenges when migrating a traditional ‘brick and mortar’ company to that which is now known as the evolutionary ‘click and mortar’ business model – that is, a business that operates in the Internet market space. To stand boldly in the face of challenges presented by the networked economy, firms must develop competencies that enable not only high performance market interactivity and adaptive, intuitive customer engagement platforms, but also contribute to the development of sound business strategies that ensure a firm’s competitiveness in the vast web-based business environment. ...view middle of the document...
Four primary business models comprise the e-Commerce market space including:
• Business-to-Business (B2B) – the B2B model is characterized by Internet-based business wherein businesses promote and sell their products and services to other businesses. For example, an engineering firm promoting its capabilities to companies seeking to design and build a new facility is characteristic of a B2B e-Commerce model;
• Business-to-Consumer (B2C) – the business to consumer model is one in which businesses sell directly to consumers, such as that of OldNavy.com which makes its retail clothing available to consumers via online shopping provisions;
• Peer-to-Peer (P2P) – the P2P model enables the exchange of goods and services between consumers, such as that seen in the web-based operations of eBay.com and Craigslist.com; and finally,
• Consumer-to-Business (C2B) – this model supports the exchange, feedback, social networking and advocacy of consumers voicing their opinions, demand or cause directly to businesses in online forums.
While many websites still follow a primary model as discussed above, many are now exhibiting characteristics of all four models wherein e-Commerce sites serve dual purposes in promoting their products and services to both businesses and consumers, allow consumer opinion, ratings and feedback to support the C2B model, and even provide for the exchange of used goods between their consumers.
Regardless of the type of model desired in establishing an e-Commerce operational platform, several key factors must be considered by e-Commerce managers in order to align web-based operations with business or corporate strategy.
Business Challenges Unique to e-Commerce Operations
Managers face many challenges when deploying an e-commerce business model; therefore, it becomes necessary to examine, research, and analyze the different types of e-commerce infrastructures in order to develop and implement a sound business strategy that embraces the networked marketplace. The result of such studies helps managers to “determine strategy, deploy resources, operate firms, manage relationships with their markets, and measure results,” (Rayport & Jaworski, 2003, p.2). Therefore, it is important for leadership to consider the appropriate strategic alignment of such efforts with the firm’s overall mission, values, strategies, and available resources so as to ensure transparency in business operations whether it falls within the physical or web-based operational infrastructure.
The first steps that managers must consider when developing and employing an online business strategy include the ways in which information, goods and services and communications are exchanged in the web-based operational model. In essence, they must realize that technology and digitalization is key to fostering customer-centric user experiences, so as to support transactional, order fulfillment, and information exchange. In addition, an understanding of customer needs,...