Unit 1 Business Skills for e-Commerce

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To enable learners to apply the business skills needed to design an e-Commerce solution for an organisation.

Unit abstract

Organisations of all sizes, structures and aims can benefit from the opportunities made available by the intelligent application of communication based technologies and there will always be a need for practitioners who have a good understanding of those technologies. E-Commerce has become a vital part of an organisation’s ability to reach out to the marketplace and position itself to maximise commercial returns on investment. Poor choices of technology and processes will result in poorly managed opportunities which could lose business, market position and profitability. Learners will investigate the values of business skills by exploring current, topical examples of e-Commerce practices. Learners will consider how to design an e-Commerce solution to the best advantage of the organisation and its stakeholders (for example employees, suppliers and customers). Learners will explore current legislation concerning e-Commerce based trading, organisational responsibilities and finance/payment systems. The first part of the unit considers the structure and aims of organisations to better understand how they could benefit from an e-Commerce structure. Then follows an opportunity to investigate and evaluate the impact of e-Commerce systems on organisations and their stakeholders. Once these areas have been studied the learner will be in a position to examine the process of the development of an e-Commerce presence followed by the opportunity to design an e-Commerce system.

Learning outcomes

1 Understand the structure and aims of business organisations

Organisations: type eg private, public, voluntary, charitable business organisations; aims eg profit, market share, Return on Capital Employed (ROCE), sales; growth, customer service; Political, Economic, Social and Technological (PEST) analysis
Stakeholders: identification of stakeholders; satisfying stakeholder objectives; pluralist perspectives; the concept of corporate mission objectives and policies
Business functions: key internal business functions eg marketing, sales, accounting, administration; Management Information Systems (MIS), operations

2 Understand the impact of e-Commerce

Consumer impact: empowered customers eg online sales, direct communication with customers, greater choice, lower prices, availability of new products; global markets; new marketing models; on-line advertising
Business impact: global business and consumer markets; issues eg challenge of new technology, security issues, impact and implications of dealing with customers on-line, creating new distribution channels, greater competition, challenge to monopoly power, retraining of staff, lower overheads, new selling chains; legislation

3 Be able to design e-Commerce solutions

Objectives: business idea eg unique selling proposition, business-to-business opportunities, business to consumer markets; domain name
Market research: purpose of research eg identifying information sources, online and offline competition; types of research eg primary, secondary
Target markets: market analysis eg size, characteristics, dynamics, competitors, historical background, emerging trends, market share, market segmentation
Key processes: technology requirements eg hardware, software, security, maintenance, back end systems; supply sources; distribution channels
e-Commerce: payment systems eg electronic cheque, PayPal, NoChex, credit or debit cards; start-up capital; working capital; funding sources
Security:key areas eg prevention of hacking, viruses, identity theft, firewall, impact on site performance, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Secure HTTP (HTTPS), digital certificates, strong passwords, alternative authentication methods
Legislation: relevant legislation eg Data Protection Act 1998, Computer Misuse Act 1990, Consumer Credit Act 1974, Trading Standards, Freedom of Information Act 2000, copyright legislation


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Technology,Society ISBN 0135090784
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ViseD – The Google Story (Pan, 2008) ISBN 0330508121
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Business Review Magazine (Phillip Allan Publishers – see www.phillipallan.co.uk)
The Economist (The Economist Newspaper Group, Inc)

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