E-commerce provides many new ways for businesses and consumers to communicate and conduct business. The history of e-commerce dates back to 1970, when for the first time, electronic data interchange (EDI) and electronic fund transfer were introduced. Since then, a rapid growth of e-commerce has pervaded almost every other aspects of business such as supply chain management, transaction processing, internet marketing, and inventory management. E-commerce and related technologies are playing an important role for B2B transactions where the buying decisions are not reading automated. Internet network provides an end user interface, and gives those end users global access. E-commerce can be used to search, purchase and after sales services. Organization can search for goods and services that are not available from their existing suppliers. Search may not be successful but there is no harm in trying. There are lot of sites where organization can find supplier for goods and services. Organizations can purchase or sell goods and services over the Internet. After sales services are very expensive and required a lot re-engineering, but with the help of e-commerce these services are to be effectively and economically delivered via the Internet.
www.gap.com Clothing Industry
According to research made, it was noted that over 60% of orders made in clothing industry are ordered via their website. So due to that, the use of their website has been made use of greatly. Qualities of usefulness, usability and desirability play a central role in the good design of all digital products and digital environments such as websites (Buchanan, 2000). In the literature of e-Commerce website development, qualities of usability and usefulness have received the main attention of researchers, which were mainly based on the work pioneered by Nielsen and his associates since mid 1990s. Since then, web designers compete to provide higher functionality and features to simulate the physical shopping environment. However, as e- Commerce sites intensify their effort to provide persuasive shopping experience for their users, it is then necessary to look beyond usefulness and functional usability. As evident from previous literatures, the element of product desirability (Norman, 2004; Spillers, 2004; Desmet & Hekkert, 2002) has been shown to have an important decisive role in the product selection. Similarly, product desirability can offer an emotional connectivity in e-Commerce websites to portray positive experience in the digital shopping environment. For example, in the physical world, retailing businesses concentrate on store design and layout to portray positive experience to attract consumers. It is unlikely for a potential consumer to go into a dark and messy store, to look for a product no matter how good the quality of the product offered. Correspondingly, e-Commerce businesses should stress on how to deliver the best experience at first glance to potential consumer by providing a desirable digital shopping environment. An e-Commerce website that embeds affective appeal is seen to offer consumer a positive experience visiting the website.
This idea is supported by the pragmatism in e-Commerce existence up to date. As technology advances and e-Commerce rapidly matures, most e-Commerce websites are demonstrating equally good design features in terms of functionality and usability. Consequently, with all other factors being equal, what may allow an e-Commerce to stand out is its ability to engender favourable consumer experiences and affect (Li & Zhang, 2005). Moreover, due to the luxury they get in cyberspace, today's e-Commerce websites users have become sophisticated and sceptical. They are now looking for emotional connectivity in everything they see. Norman (Norman, 2002) and Desmet (Desmet & Hekkert, 2002) have also supported that it has now become more and more important to include experiential and emotional quality in designs. Therefore, e-Commerce websites should induce desirable consumer experience and affect that influences its user's perception of the website. This is ultimately seen to enhance the success and outreach potential of their online business.
Furthermore, a good website design does a lot of good for the company as the name implies. It is very essential that a website has got a good design to attract its customers to enjoy their time they spend online rather than their physical shopping in the traditional stores. A good website should have these features:
Ø The background of a good website does not interrupt with the text.
Ø The text is big enough to read but not too big.
Ø The hierarchy of the information is perfectly clear
Ø Columns of text are narrower than in a book to make reading easier on screen
Ø Navigation buttons and bars are easy to understand and use
Ø Navigation is consistent throughout a website
Ø Navigation buttons and bars provide the visitor with a clue as to where they are, what page of the site they are currently on
Ø Frames , if used, are not obtrusive
Ø A large website has an index or site map
Ø Link colours coordinate with page colours
Ø Links are underlined so they are instantly clear to the visitor
Ø Buttons are not big and dorky
Ø Every graphic has an alt label
Ø Every graphic link has a matching text link
Ø Graphics and backgrounds use browser-safe colours
Ø Animated graphics turn off by themselves
Ø Pages download quickly.(six seconds rule)
Ø First page and home page fit into 800 x 600 pixel space
Ø All of the other pages have immediate visual impact within 800 x 600 pixels
Ø Good use of graphic elements (photos, subheads, pull quotes) to break up large areas of text
Ø Every web page in the site looks like it belongs to the same site; there are repetitive elements that carry throughout the pages
Also, considering the features of a bad website designs that can put off customers or make the web design look dorky, organisation must do something not to posses this bad features on their website or else, it will put the customers off and thereby cost them loss. Features of a bad website designs are many but here are few of them:
Ø Default gray colour
Ø Colour combinations of text and background that make the text hard to read
Ø Busy, distracting backgrounds that make the text hard to read
Ø Text that is too small to read
Ø Text crowding against the left edge
Ø Text that stretches all the way across the page
Ø Default blue links
Ø Links that are not clear about where they will take you
Ø Links in body copy that distract readers and lead them off to remote, useless pages
Ø Large graphic files that take forever to load
Ø Meaningless or useless graphics
Ø Thumbnail images that are nearly as large as the full-sized images they link to
Ø Graphics that don't fit on the screen (assuming a screen of 800 x 600 pixels)
Blinking & Animation:-
Ø Anything that blinks, especially text
Ø "Under construction" signs, especially of little men working
Ø Animations that never stop
Ø Junky advertising
Ø Too many little pictures of meaningless awards on the first page
Ø Multiple frame scroll bars in the middle of a page
Ø Unclear navigation; over complex navigation
Ø Complicated frames, too many frames, unnecessary scroll bars in frames
Ø page titles that don't explain what the page is about
Ø Entry page or home page that does not fit within standard browser window (800 x 600 pixels)
Ø Lack of contrast (in colour, text, to create hierarchy of information, etc.)
Ø Frames that make you scroll sideways
Also, clothing organisation like gap, banana republic should improve their current websites with welcoming music even it is for few seconds to make the customer feel like as if they are in the tradition store just like the music is being played in there.
Furthermore, there are various ways by which electronic selling might differ from that which goes on in a traditional department store. Recently Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, flatly stated that pure Web-based retail would always offer the consumer a greater selection of products at lower prices than traditional retail stores. A closer look at the factors that drive Web-based sales indicates that many of the attributes enjoyed by traditional physical retail stores may actually prove advantageous for online retail success. Electronic selling is universal, 24-hour-a-day access to a centralized order processing and distribution system. It can be access all over the world at any time. Some websites do ship internationally like Amazon, Ebay.Customers feel more comfortable to go online and search for what they need and buy it at their own convenient time compare to going to a traditional store where there is time restriction. It is obvious that customers tend to have time to make orders mostly when they are back from work and due to this fact, it is more advantageous for them to purchase online rather than them going in to the traditional store. A well-designed Web site provides the customer greater ease and speed in access, shopping, and buying than physical stores do. Customers tend to be motivated by the way they see things online and to some extent spend more than their initial budget which shows they are enjoying the service.
In addition, Web technology allows companies to personalize the shopping experience by guiding the consumer to parts of the site that are in line with the customer's interest profile. The process of online buying allows the business to create a consistent, personalized, and efficient shopping experience. In addition, the automated and centralized business processes of e-commerce allow for a wide variety of highly discounted products. Many customers are attracted to the online shopping simply because of the discount they get which is quite important to them. They tend to enjoy it because compare to traditional store, they are liable not to get the discount at all, so getting the discount is definitely advantageous for them so they decided to rather buy through the websites rather than in tradition store.
Amazon.com, one of the leaders in e-commerce, continually receives high marks for customer service. Their Web site is designed to speed the consumer through the process of selecting and ordering books, music, videos, toys, electronics, and home improvement tools, while giving reassuring, personal service at highly discounted prices. Products are typically drop-shipped using delivery services such as UPS and FedEx. The combination of efficiency, discounted prices, and personal service is why Amazon.com is frequently mentioned as a model of customer service for businesses on the Web. Some customers really find it difficult to carry things down to their home themselves as they don't have car, they now prefer to order it online having looked at different various items and have them delivered at their own convenient time. It is possible to go into tradition store to order and have it delivered as well but considering time factor, customer may not have enough time to look at every item in store, but they can do so on the website so easily. Department stores create a shopping environment through the use of lighting, displays and other various tactics; which I think website can do that as well simply because I had an experience where my friend bought a cell phone in wire fly website and after the confirmation, it congratulates him saying ‘' congratulation for your purchase with us, you should receive your order shortly''; It was a great experience which I do believe a whole lot of website has been doing that as well. Some e-commerce website has adapted to putting welcoming music or jingles on their website after opening their home page.
Also, using internet as a distribution medium is conducive to sell any type of product. Nowadays, customers buy food on the internet, they don't need to go into the tradition store simply because it's less stressful to go online and purchase easily compare to going to the store. E-tailers are reducing the risk of shopping online because some people tend to hijack their data such as addresses, credit card number and all vital information through shopping online. The growth of broadband internet connections around the globe has undoubtedly boosted online shopping, simply by dramatically speeding up the process of accessing websites, and buying goods. Broadband is at least ten times as fast as dial-up. Having access to broadband means that consumers are more likely to use the internet to purchase everyday items such as groceries. However, faster connection speeds also allow users to download music files, video clips, and movies, or to compete in online gaming, further boosting the potential revenues generated by e-commerce. Traditionally, individuals and businesses have ordered goods or services online via computers, but the increasing availability of broadband on mobile phones has opened up another avenue for e-tailers. Indeed, a report published in March 2009 by ABI Research, based in New York, said that consumers are increasingly using their phones for financial transactions. ABI said that growth in e-commerce is being driven primarily by payment via SMS (short message service), mobile internet, and mobile applications. In industrialized countries, mobile users are becoming familiar and comfortable with using cell phones for more than just voice communication. In developing nations, mobile financial services are popular as an alternative to scarce local financial institutions.
Furthermore, internet can be use to boost the level of customer service by keeping contact with customers through their emails. Every online based customer does have email address, and by the aid of internet, organisation can keep in contact with its customers in case there is any update, sales or new products that the organisation wants to share with its customers. They are number of ways which customer service can be improved through customer relationship management (CRM) via internet. This includes reliability, security, efficiency, communication, quality control and service monitoring. Doing this through internet does benefit the customer by reducing the amount of repetitive form-filling that customer has to do. Customer preferences can also be kept on record, making placing an order quicker and easier for the customer.
The internet offers any business the opportunity to present a commercial image independent of the organisation's size and location. Small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) across the UK have exploited the internet as it has evolved from an interesting medium for the technology-aware to an essential commercial platform. With this increasing importance, and the internet's ability to extend the reach of a business, it is valuable to realise precisely what different internet service providers (ISPs) offer before buying. Internet is widely accepted as a fundamental business tool, the internet has moved far from its academic roots. While many companies in some of the more traditionally industrialised regions have gone online more recently, other regions with more rural expanses show a significant strategic commitment to the internet. Internet communications not only extend the reach for remote areas, many new applications also permit those based in locations where transport routes are congested to switch from physical travel to digital. This includes the use of e-commerce platforms to interact with suppliers, customers and partners. Now British SMBs have embraced the internet and rely upon it for increasingly sophisticated services, it becomes even more important to understand the different offers from providers and look beyond price to added value and regional support. This also places an onus on the ISPs themselves to differentiate their product options to demonstrate most clearly the benefits and business impact of their services, and how they intend to support customers across the UK.
It could be noted that internet or website has been the sector which generates much sales for the selected companies, customers prefer to go online at their leisure time and purchase what they wish to purchase at any time. Also, they can access any sector of the store with the aid of just a click, compare to doing so in the traditional store which will take longer than expected. Customers also do patronise online very much because of the discounts and vouchers they get from their purchase. Also, customers feel very comfortable to leave a feedback about their shopping experience and which areas the organisation needs to improve. More so, it's important the websites posses the attributes of a good website so it can draw more of the customers going into the traditional store to start making use of internet which is very easy for them at their own leisure time. If the chosen organisation above hasn't possessed a good website feature, there will be no such great sales from their website.
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