An E-Commerce Evaluation from the point of view of a small organization

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Satelle, David
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BA (Hons) Business Information Management
Dublin Business School
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This dissertation will cover various topics that effect e-commerce venture. The focus will be upon the small business and in particular on a small company which supplies cleaning materials, Dublin Janitorial Centre Limited. It will examine the problems that arise and offer one of many solutions to each of the problems as they relate to Dublin Janitorial Centre Limited. The current e-commerce situation is turbulent. The consideration of the world economy slowdown and in particular the success of very few dot com organisations. The small and medium enterprises therefore need to consider their role in this worldwide economy. After all it is for the globalisation of small and medium enterprises that the internet holds so much potential. Dublin Janitorial Centre Limited main concerns prior to the start of the development, are staffing levels and the cost of outsourcing, if the development staff are not available for hire. The organisation also needs to consider the site will take. Whether they are going to launch a full virtual salesroom or just a brochure-ware site is also a consideration. Particularly with small organisations such as Dublin Janitorial Centre Limited, the cost of launching a site will be contained in the marketing strategy. This needs to be taken into account at the initial planning stage of the project. The potential benefits of the e-commerce venture however are reason enough to ignore some of the potential pitfalls. An increased customer base through globalisation is the most obvious. Most companies are regionally limited to the extent of people dropping in or sales representatives traveling to the customer’s premises. With the development of an e-commerce venture the market potentially becomes anybody who has access to a phone line and a pc. Companies need to have a strategy for marketing their products online. In the cleaning industry the products are the same, so it’s the differentiation of service that provides the competitive edge. With their website development Dublin Janitorial Centre Limited can improve their service by posting relevant information for customers use. This can also lead into new opportunities in that potential customers can view the products without the pressure of having a sales representative in their premises. Other advantages such as a reduction in cost and personal benefits are opportunities that develop over time. The launch is a stressful and costly period; the upkeep however is relatively cheap compared to the initial period of existence. Where there are opportunities there are also potential problems. Problems such as spam mail, viruses mobile commerce and cultural problems will be examined during this dissertation. The key problem for the development of an open e-commerce system is security. Hackers and organised theft of credit card details are the most obvious and from this the trust of consumers is reduced. If customers are not 100% sure that their credit card details are safe if transmitted to a company’s site becomes potentially easier because the site is open 24/7 and has value in the form of credit cards details. Programs that encrypt the information and firewalls reduce this risk but awareness is the primary defence. If customers are made aware of the security protocols in place on a site then they may be inclined to use that site rather then one that the security protocols are not known. Current market trends may turn out to be fads or they may become the market standard. An examination of some of the trends is included in this dissertation. Business to Customer transactions were the original focus of many websites such as and . The decline in these markets due to a number of factors has led to the focus changing to business-to-business transactions. Business to business has developed through niche market strategies, focusing on the bigger players in the industry. For Dublin Janitorial Centre Limited the focus is upon contrast cleaners rather than on consumers. Mobile commerce has not developed into the technology it was supposed to be. To ignore the technology is a mistake however, as the increased use of personal digital assistants and the imminent introduction of 3G networks will transform the potential of this technology. Companies do not have to embrace the technology right now, they should however make a consideration to allow it to be added to their ecommerce venture in the future. How to advertise has also developed a new virtual practice. The development of portals such as has given small and medium enterprises such as Dublin Janitorial Centre Limited another option. Joining a portal gives an organisation access to new markets and the marketing costs tend to be lower than launching a site with a solo marketing strategy. This dissertation will provide a primary research based study of Dublin Janitorial Centre Limited’s current environment. Focusing upon companies in the same market segment, both small and large. The study will be made to compare to attitudes to virtual developments. This study will consider the various analysis methods and the problems that develop with quantifiable measures of a project. The results of the questionnaire will be analysed to give a view of twenty-five companies’ attitudes to e-commerce. From Dublin Janitorial Centre Limited’s point of view, a financial quantitative analysis will be undertaken. Taking the forecasted costs and income the project will be evaluated with the use of cost benefit analysis and net present value methods. The possible downfalls of the methods will also be examined.