Starting a Business
In this paper I will be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of taking my small business online by performing a SWOT analysis. I will also be discussing key issues that a company faces when it conducts international commerce. Then I will be discussing the complicating factors that come with e-Commerce to comply with the law. Lastly I will describe 2 online crimes prevalent in e-Commerce and what I would do to prevent these crimes. Starting a Business Online Advantages and Disadvantages of Taking a Small Business Online
With the current economy decreasing, I have contemplated with the idea of taking my local clothing store on the Jersey Shore boardwalk and making it available online. While contemplating this idea I began performing a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat) analysis to see if this would be a good or bad idea. The strengths that I realized I would have would be the fact that we have been in the local area for over 15 years and the loyalty we have from our customers is outstanding. A lot of our customers are from out of town and has often hinted that we should put our store online because of our prices.
Another strength is with being a local company we can keep our cost below the competitors which would be a huge advantage because of the current economy. One of the weaknesses of me taking my store online would be the amount of competitors’ that are offering the same products. Another weakness could I am older in age and don’t know much about the internet so I would have to hire information technologist to manage my site. As for opportunities for me taking my business online would be a chance in the winter when business has slowed down because of the cold weather.
Another opportunity is taking my company online could create a powerful name for myself. Allowing my company to grow incredibly and eventually opening more chains in other locations. The threat of taking my business online is the competition. By facing a company like Wal-Mart that offers very competitive prices and the same brand names offers a huge threat to my company. Another threat could also be the when the bigger companies such as Wal-Mart, Kmart, and etc… realize the effect I am having because of my sales.
They could easily drop their prices below mine and because of their revenue not be affected but it could put me out of business. While contemplating the idea of taking my local clothing store online there are other factors that must be considered. Like the fact that any business that engages in e-Commerce instantly becomes an international business. I will now explain how I will deal with key issues such as trust, culture, language, government, and infrastructure. I would address the issue of trust to customers by having a feedback section on my website.
This will show anyone who is interested in purchasing something from my company amount of satisfied customers previously. I will have 24/7customer support online and by telephone to show my commitment to my customers. As far as the language issue on my website I would put a language preference list and currency converter. By doing this they can read and exact prices without trying to convert it themselves which I believe would benefit everyone involved. As for cultural issues these would be a lot harder to control.
I would continue to allow orders from different countries but I think by having the language preference list. This will break the barrier of an American symbol meaning something else in another language or another country. By changing it based on the countries native language they know exactly what they are getting without any misunderstandings or any confusion. This would be a hard issue to solve there wouldn’t be just one quick fix for this problem. I would just try to give as much customer support for any questions for concerns.
The government wouldn’t be an issue when for my business in any country because my business would be strictly for sales of clothing items. Infrastructure issues would be the larger orders placed overseas and trying to get order to the customer. I would first see if the profit of completing the larger orders placed overseas is worth hassle. If so then I would research freight forwarding companies to see what kind of rates it would be shipping to certain countries. I was in the military for10 years as a supply chain management specialist and worked with a lot of freight forwarder companies in many different countries.
I would contact them to see if I could get special rate based on the relationship I had with them in the past. The web extends a company’s reach beyond traditional boundaries. Being a businessman my most important thing is my business. With this being said I would adhere to all laws foreign and domestic. The well-being of my company depends on me and actions I take regarding the interests of my company. The web also increases the speed and efficiency of business communications which also could be a complication to overcome.
I would try to overcome this complication by trying to handle all interactions from my customers as a professional and ensuring them that they are a priority. Also ensuring I’m keeping up with all old and new laws so my business will continue to prosper. There are many different online crimes prevalent in e-Commerce. The first is identity theft; I believe this is a very important item when it comes to running a business online. This is an issue that has been almost impossible to stop because the customer is ordering online and you are not sure if it is the person or a thief.
I would try to prevent this crime by ensuring all ordering and checkout is done on a secure website. It would be like the standard credit card number and expiration date to complete the order. You would have to put in full address along with your card number and the cards security code. I know this isn’t full proof but it’s about as much as you can ask for without being face to face with the customer. Another crime is having my online store hacked by someone to get peoples personal information. Such as: credit card numbers, email addresses, and home addresses.
I would try to stop this crime by ensuring I have the most secure website and security software. By having these steps in place my online store will be a safe and secure place to shop. After completing a SWOT analysis of taking my small local clothing store along the Jersey Shore boardwalk and engaging it in e-Commerce. There were a lot of things that had to be considered if I was going to make this transaction happen. With the information gained from this research I believe this could be a great opportunity to put my store on the web and it would be a great investment.