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Chapter 4

Chapter 4. Electronic Commerce Software. Learning Objectives. In this chapter, you will learn about: Basic functions that an electronic commerce package should provide Characteristics to look for in an ISP-hosted electronic commerce solution Types of traditional and electronic store models

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Chapter 4

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  1. Chapter 4 Electronic Commerce Software

  2. Learning Objectives In this chapter, you will learn about: • Basic functions that an electronic commerce package should provide • Characteristics to look for in an ISP-hosted electronic commerce solution • Types of traditional and electronic store models • Software packages available for small electronic sites

  3. Learning Objectives (Cont.) • Software packages suitable for medium-sized to large electronic commerce sites • Electronic commerce solutions for large organizations with an existing infrastructure and legacy software in place • Several electronic commerce sites and their characteristics

  4. Factors of software solution • The expected size of the enterprise and its projected traffic and sales • Budget • Determine your target commerce audience • Use a full-service ISP or host the electronic commerce site in-house

  5. Electronic Commerce Requirements • A catalog display • Shopping cart capabilities • Transaction processing • Tools to populate the store catalog and to facilitate storefront display choices

  6. Catalog Display • A small commerce site can have a simple catalog, which is a static listing of goods and services. • Larger catalog has photos of items, descriptions, and a search feature. • For example, “MP3.com” is a large commerce site and “Women in Music” is a small site.

  7. Shopping Cart • Online forms were used for online shopping. • A new way of online shopping is through shopping carts. • QuickBuy is one company that makes this type of shopping cart software. • Cookies are bits of shopping information stored on a client computer.

  8. Transaction Processing • Transaction processing occurs when the shopper proceeds to the virtual checkout counter. • Software needs to calculate price, volume discounts, sales tax, and shipping costs. • Sales tax may vary in different states.

  9. Electronic Commerce Tools • Inexpensive storefronts that are offered by established portals, such as Yahoo!. • Robust software suites that run on large, dedicated computers and interact with database systems such as Oracle. • B2B systems must be able to connect to existing legacy systems, including ERP software packages.

  10. Marketing Smarts • Visibility of Web sites is important. • Web malls will list your Web site in a portal-style directory. • Registering your own domain name helps visibility. • Also, including a META tag in your store’s home page.

  11. Hosting Services • The total costs of setting up your own in-house Web commerce site are expensive. • Web hosting services allow businesses to start electronic commerce inexpensively. • Web hosting services provide all the services that an ISP does.

  12. Types of hosting services • Self-hosting • Shared hosting • Dedicated hosting • Collocated hosting

  13. Implications of Self-hosting • The online business owns and maintains the server and all its software. • It implies full control, instant hardware access, and complete flexibility. • Business must have additional staff, Web expertise, expensive equipment, and a high-speed direct Internet connection.

  14. Implications of Shared Hosting • Your Web or commerce site resides on the same server as several other sites. • It is inexpensive, requires very little of an online store’s time to maintain. • It has a very high-speed connection to the Internet. • It may lose direct control from online stores. • Security concerns arise from unrelated online businesses sharing the same server.

  15. Implications of Dedicated Hosting • A Web host provides a server for your Web site alone. • More Web and commerce software options, a good high-speed connection, more control to site’s design become available. • Higher software costs and maintenance costs can be incurred.

  16. Implications of Collocated Hosting • The server is owned by the online store but is located at the Web host’s site. • The Web host provides maintenance based on the level of service the online business requires. • Maintenance costs are higher than self-hosting. • “ValueWeb” is an example of a Web hosting service. It provides services of shared hosting, dedicated hosting, and collocation services.

  17. Comparison of Web Hosting • Electronic commerce stores get a variety of services for a low monthly fee. • Web hosting customers have their own domain name and IP address. • Advantages of a shared web host over dedicated hosting or self-hosting: • Low setup fee • No staff and capital costs • Free technical support

  18. Fundamental Host Services • Basic packages are free or low-cost electronic commerce software supplied by the Web host for building Web sites. • The host makes money from advertising banners placed on the storefront’s Web pages. • B-City, BizLand.com and HyperMart are examples of these types of hosts. • Customer purchase transactions are handled by e-mail in this host service.

  19. Banner Advertising Exchange Sites • Banner exchange sites (BESs) are Web sites that help electronic merchant promote their stores online. • The BES organizes the banner exchange among members, enforces rules, and collects statistics of banner advertisement. • Examples of BESs are BannerExchange.com, Eurobanner, Exchange-it, LinkExchange, etc.

  20. Full-Service, Shared Mall-Style Hosting • Full-service shared hosting sites provide online stores with good service, good Web creation tools, and little or no banner advertising clutter. • It charges a monthly fee, one-time setup fees, and customer transaction fee. • Yahoo! Store, GeoShops, ShopBuilder, and Virtual Spin Internet Store are examples of this type of Web hosts.

  21. Yahoo! Store • Yahoo! Store is a good value among full-service shared hosting sites. • Merchants can create, change, and maintain their Yahoo! storefronts through a Web browser. • On its own site, Yahoo! Holds all the stores’ pages in a proprietary format. • Yahoo’s management page contains many management, reporting, and global site setting tools.

  22. Bigstep.com • Bigstep.com provides a well-designed storefront package without charging hosting fees. • Bigstep enables merchants to create, change, and maintain a storefront through a Web browser. • Bigstep’s reports provide data mining capabilities. • Data mining can help business find customers with common interests.

  23. ShopBuilder • ShopBuilder provides the electronic commerce tools you need to build a shop on its site. • ShopBuilder automatically generates and sends receipts by e-mail to customers after completing transactions. • ShopBuilder supports real-time transaction processing, including credit card authorization and verification.

  24. Estimated Operating Expenses • The first-year operating cost can vary depending on the Web host selected. • A good guideline for processing fees is to multiply your expected annual gross sales by 3%. • Setup and Web site maintenance costs include; equipment, communications, physical location and staff.

  25. Midrange Packages • Midrange packages allow the merchant to have explicit control over merchandising choices, site layout, internal architecture, and remote and local management options. • Midrange software has connectivity with database systems and store catalog information. • INTERSHOP enfinity, WebSphere, and Commerce Server 2000 are examples of this type of software.

  26. INTERSHOP enfinity • INTERSHOP enfinity is produced by INTERSHOP Communications Inc. • This software provides: • search and catalog capabilities • electronic shopping carts • online credit card transaction processing • connection to existing business systems and databases, such as DB2 and Oracle • It has setup wizards and catalog and data management tools.

  27. WebSphere Commerce Suite • IBM produces the WebSphere Commerce Suite. • It comes complete with catalog templates, setup wizards, and advanced catalog tools. • It can be used both for B2B and B2C applications. • This system runs on AIX, Solaris, and Windows NT operating systems.

  28. Commerce Server 2000 • Microsoft creates the Commerce Server 2000. • Commerce Server 2000 provides tools for: • User profiling and management • Transaction processing • Product and service management • Target audience marketing

  29. Commerce Server 2000 • Microsoft pipelines model a series of business processes: • The Commerce Interchange Pipeline for B2B • The Order-processing Pipeline for B2C • Commerce Server 2000 has tools for advertising, promotions, cross-selling and customer targeting and personalization.

  30. Enterprise Solutions for Large Firms • Enterprise-level commerce software is called e-business software. • E-business software interacts with a wide variety of existing back office systems, including database, accounting, and ERP systems.

  31. Enterprise Solutions for Large Firms • An enterprise-scale solution requires: • A Domain Name Server (DNS) • An SMTP system to handle e-mail • An HTTP server • An FTP server for upload and download capabilities • A database server

  32. Enterprise Solutions for Large Firms • Examples of e-business systems: • IBM’s WebSphere Commerce Suite, Pro Edition • Netscape’s Netscape CommerceXpert • Oracle’s iStore • Pandesic Web Business Solution (Intel and SAP)

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