Alibaba.com is commonly quoted among the leading 5 websites in the world. Other 5 websites which are competing in the same race are Amazon, Yahoo, eBay as well as AOL, with the help of domestic as well as international media. Hence, in other words, www.alibaba.com is a top rated business-to-business (B2B) as well as business-to-consumer (B2C) website.
The e-business integration system of this website, in general, needs such a tactic, which has a touching appeal in order to produce prompt action. Hence, principally for an expensive products or assistance, this website is required to offer superior depth of information to the customers (both buyers as well as suppliers) in order to assist them in their assessment of this business. This website is useful for both buyers as well as sellers. Hence, one can buy as well as sell products also. This website is basically an English-language website as English is the only language which can be understood by whole world. So, there is no geographical challenge for this website to seek attention of customers. It primarily serves small as well as Medium-Sized Enterprises or in short SME, in the worldwide trade community, and hence, around 1 million users have registered themselves to this site from more than 200 countries as well as territories. Over 300,000 visitors go through this site every single day, among which maximum users are global buyers as well as importers who are looking for trading with traders in China as well as other foremost manufacturing nations all over the world. Hence, the primary customers for this website are Suppliers, Exporters, Manufacturers as well as Importers.
As www.alibaba.com is a website on a broader perspective, millions and trillions of customers go through it and trade accordingly. Now, the main problems while designing this website which needs to be solved are following:
The website must be user friendly, so that it should not be problem for a buyer or a seller to navigate the site and work accordingly. Not everyone is well versed with internet technology; hence, it’s really important to make a comfortable website with not very complicated language. but, on the same hand, the website should be attractive enough to appeal visitors to go through it.
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Secondly, it’s a normal tendency that customers usually like to inspect the merchandise before purchase; hence, they can assume that they are at advanced threat of fraud as they are not able to inspect the product and services physically. There is one more risk of making purchase with the help of stolen credit cards or any other counterfeit refutation of the online purchase. Hence, this website needs to be more reliable and secured from customer’s perspective.
Third problem area is that Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption is a must to be used for secured transaction otherwise not a single buyer as well as supplier will want to use their credit card for this purpose. SSL is a technique which usually solves the difficulty of credit cards which, many times, got disconnected in delivery between the customer and the business. A lot of hackers are there to hack the transaction in between; hence, SSL should be compulsorily used in order to avoid Identity theft. Thus, computer security is really a major concern, now days, for both merchants as well as e-commerce service providers, who install countermeasures like, firewalls as well as anti-virus software, which is essential for protecting the network.
Phishing is one more danger, where customers are fooled by thinking that they are trading with retailer of good reputation, while, they are actually manipulated to feed confidential information to such a system which is controlled by malicious parties. Hence, website needs to be secured enough to avoid the circumstances of Phishing.
One more problem area is privacy. No one wants to share their personal and confidential information with third party or over unsecured network because of risk; hence, registration must be very confidential and secured. Even, a lot of consumers do not like spam and telemarketing also, which can lead to providing contact data to any online merchant.
This research intend to develop as well as design a website with inbuilt e-commerce techniques, such as, B-2-C (Business-to-Consumers) as well as B-2-B (Business-to-Business) features meant for efficient marketing approaches. Moreover, there are few more specific objectives while designing this site, as well. First is to build up such a system which must permit a process of monitoring in order to maintain database interactivity. Second objective is to create such a data-driven application where the contents of the web can be reorganized dynamically. Furthermore, last but not the least objective is to provide as well as improve all the product information and allocation for Alibaba.com.
Alibaba.com is one of the global leaders in the world of e-commerce for small scale business organizations as well as flagship corporations of Alibaba Group. This website offers internet as well as Web-related services to customers all over the world. The services provided by this website are selling different products to its customers. As this website is designed on the principle of Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Customer (B2C), both, buyers as well as suppliers are its customers.
Based on the experience along with expertise in both business-to-consumer and business-to-business sales, this business organization believe that it can offer a unique as well as superior service to its customers across the whole world, in comparison to what is currently available.
The development of this project is based on the phases of System development Life Cycle. All the problem areas have been identified and hence, a user-friendly website has been created. These phases of development will emphasize most of the aspects of this system and the business.
Planning is something which is very important for any organization to do as it will help in organizing things in a planned manner. We can be successful in what we are doing if proper planning is done. We need to understand the purpose of planning the things. This will help in going in the right path. There are many important things which have to be taken care when planning for a task. Planning a website is again the most important thing as it is used by the users of the organization. This is something which has to be taken care seriously. Proper planning will lead to the success of the company. It is always advisable to design a website with the help of experienced people. There are two main steps in planning for a task.
Project intention: This is something which helps in understanding the importance of the project. The value of the project should be known properly. Our final intention of creating a website is to increase the revenue of the company. Website should be planned in such a way that it is user friendly. Users should be able to use the website and should get the required information from it. Website planning is an important task and should be taken seriously. Details about the company should be included. Search options should be very friendly. This will help in navigating properly across the site. We should design the website in such a way that customer can get all the information that they are looking out for. We should look into minimizing the work and should think of saving money. Website should be designed in such a way that customers are visited quite often and can be impressed with the website’s information. This will increase the number of users and also helps in increasing the revenue of the company.
Project management: Project management is very important as it will help in understanding the requirements. We should be very careful when designing the website. We should a proper planning of how to create the website. Care should be taken that the size of the website should be enough to get into it as it may slow down which will in turn increase customer’s frustration. Designed website should be virus free which will increase customer’s visit and also will ensure that the website is safe enough to use. There are many other things which also have to be taken care and are the color, design and the font size. Color used to design the website should be light and should not involve many colors. On the other side we should also make it look attractive. Font size should be normal so that we can easily follow. We should try to create something different on the website which will attract customers and can increase our revenue. Competition is very high in this modern generation. So we should make the difference to tolerate our competitors. We should ensure that the language is English as most of the customer’s across the globe can access the website. In this way a planned website can be created successfully with all the latest features.
Analysis, including descriptions of the requirements or projected features of the Web site by highlighting integration issues
The analysis phase describes all the possible necessities of this website in order to develop it. Requirements are basically the collection of functionalities as well as constraints which the end-user must expect from the site and as alibaba.com has both buyers and suppliers as the customer, it really need a well designed integration of selling and busying over the secured mode. These requirements are collected from the customer by means of discussion. It is really very important to take customer’s suggestion as end of the day our goal is to satisfy our customers. We should be able to analyze what is the problem, where are we lagging behind, what are the improvements to be made, etc. In this way, many things can be sorted. Analyzing the current situation and working accordingly will help in overcoming the barriers. We should be capable to analyze the situation. These requirements are examined in order to check the validity as well as the possibility of incorporating them in the system which is to be developed.
At last, a document providing requirement specification is developed that will serve the intention of guiding principle for the forthcoming phases of model. This website has been designed on the basis of waterfall model under the processes of System Development Life Cycle. The requirement specifications which are included for the purpose of development of website are: proficiency in copy writing, conventional graphics, high-resolution images, consultation regarding website architecture, reasonable web hosting along with the service of active 24X7 customer supports for the domains, domain registration, hosting as well as other services.
This site also requires various development services including ordinary B2C functionalities, such as e-commerce solutions as well as video integration. More features like online catalogs, integrated convincing client demonstrational videos or testimonial videos, and many others, can appeal visitors to view and trade through this website. Local Search as well as Ranking Services may also assist in dominating the presence of local market. This site will also offer various other services like pay-per click services in support of Google Adwords, MSN advertisement Center and Yahoo Search promotion, consulting advertising over the internet, in addition to entire program management in order to get the majority for the budget.
Diagram1: Project Management technique
While every project has different set of requirements as well as challenges as per the project specification, there are several milestones and considerations, which are common in every project. In broader perspective, a 5 stage strategy is developed. These phases comprise of all the necessary phases of a Software Development Life Cycle or in short, called SDLC model.
Requirement Analysis: Before start functioning on the project, an in-depth study of user’s requirements is needed to make the base or foundation of the website. Hence, this will assist in suggesting one of the best clarifications suiting the current requirements.
Design: next phase is design phase which basically starts as soon as the project kicks-off. This phase describes the designs for the front-end along with robust and scalable application structure which includes the database design. This phase is one of the critical phases in the project since; entire application is going to be formed based on this framework.
Development: As soon as the design is confirmed, reviewed as well as approved in the design phase, now the next stage is the development stage where application development starts utilizing the suitable programming languages based on the requirement of project. Various type of testing is done in this phase, such as unit testing, system testing as well as integration testing at various milestones of this B2C and B2B website development project in order to make sure an error free delivery to the end user. Devotion to various programming in addition to testing standards is stringently followed to make sure the quality of the code and performance.
Implementation & Support: Subsequent to the development phase where various coding and testing is completed, the next stage is the implementation and support stage. Here, the recently developed application is installed in the real server environment to check whether it is working as per the strategy or not. Hence, now, the application goes live. In this stage, support is also provided in order to keep the application forever on the go.
Maintenance & Promotion: The last stage is maintenance and promotion. As soon as any application goes alive, updates are necessary. It helps the application to get restructured as per the need of latest environment. Hence, any and all of these updates are accomplished as a component of maintenance work. Various marketing campaigns over the internet are also done in order to enhance the visibility of the business over the internet.
Project initiation, management and control scenarios, including overall planning and role assignment to each member
To initiate a project of alibaba.com, it’s really required to move on with several careful planning along with projecting. Initially, this business can reduce the cost; however, it will improve the situation, later on.
Following are the five most important control scenarios, which this website has taken in consideration while designing it.
First feature or scenario is its reliable hosting which comprises of more than 99.99% uptime.
Second feature is its user-friendly appearance as well as feel. This appealing appearance is brought with the help of various professional designs or software’s having template storefront.
Third attractive scenario is a gateway for secure payment, incorporated with the feature of shopping cart. Payment transaction is mandatory to be secured and encrypted; otherwise, no user will try this site.
Fourth scenario of this website is to generate a merchant account. This account will help in accepting multiple mode of payment as different users can use different mode of payment in order to trade.
Locating a Niche Market in the world of Online Retail
A lot of entrepreneurs, in today’s time, already have a thought of what they want and are capable of selling over the internet. On the other hand, few of the entrepreneurs still do not know what to sell, however, are familiar with the opportunity and hence, are involved in the planning of initializing a retail business based on e-commerce.
The preliminary phase of business planning is basically an opportunity in order to investigate numerous markets in addition to making sensible and realistic decision on which products or else, services are offering the maximum earning potential. A niche is really important while planning for a online retail as if you don’t know what to sell and how to sell, then it’s not possible to sell products and services properly and run business. Hence, it’s really important to think about all the expenses linked with the product, together with its storage, import taxes, shipping or packaging, in order to obtain a practical projection of the expenditure of selling it.
Projecting Sales, Costs and Profits in B2C E-Commerce Business Planning
Financial projections play a very important role on the planning for business. However, this is also true that it is really impossible to enlighten at the planning phase how well the business will be going to perform. Still, market as well as competition research work as a support and permit entrepreneurs to formulate educated guesses that include various tools like, graphs or charts in this phase of business planning.
Diagram 2: Detail Project Analysis with the help of graphs and charts
This course of action is really very important. As, in today’s world, B2C e-commerce companies like www.alibaba.com launch themselves very quickly over the internet, hence proper research and plan acts are really important to be performed as they work as an authenticity check. A lot of time it happens that a idea which seems one of the best idea from the theory perspective, does not make logic in the live, real environment, hence, its best to have few alternatives so that one can move on to the subsequent possible product. This alternative is basically sinking money into a failed business. It’s a ray of hope to a dead business.
Detailed feature of www.alibaba.com
Design phase is the subsequent phase after the analysis phase in the system development life cycle model. Unlike analysis phase, where what needs to be done is decided, this phase implements the strategies of analysis phase and design the frame work of the website as shown below:
Diagram 3: Screenshot of www.alibaba.com
Diagram 4: Screen shot of www.alibaba.com
The website of www.alibaba.com is very user friendly. As this site has the features of both B2B (Business-to Business) as well as B2C (Business to Consumer), buyers and sellers, both are its customers. One can buy various products and on the same time one can sell various products from here. Below are some key features of this website as per the SDLC approach:
This site has a Buy feature. This tab is needed to be used when the user is planning to buy various products. This tab comprise of all the details which are needed while purchasing: newly added products (detail of fresh products), how to buy, safety and security center and last but not the least is the post buying leads.
Second feature is the sell feature. This tab is used by the end user when its time to sell products. Hence, this tab is mainly used by suppliers who supply products. This tab comprises of all the details while selling products, such as, newly added buying leads, how to sell and display new products.
Third key feature is the community tab. This tab is basically a support tab in order to help both buyers and sellers while dealing with their trade. It comprises of :Ask it, where one can ask any question regarding this site and the answer will be provided to them as soon as possible, forums, price watch which gives an idea on the prices of different products and trade shows.
Fourth feature is the registration feature. As this website deals with genuine trade, fake peoples are not allowed to enter here. Thus, a proper registration is done here before buyers and sellers move inside to trade. This consists of a proper unique login id and password, which help in maintaining the secured environment.
Fifth key feature is the search tab. This tab is also very different unlike other search engines. Here, various products can be searched out. Moreover, suppliers as well as buyers can search for different products for selling and buying purpose, separately. Searching can be done as per the geographical location also.
The next key feature of www.alibaba.com is the “ask it” section. Here, both buyers and suppliers can ask any type of query related to dealing with this website. For example, a customer can ask a question like should he has to make payment before the delivery or after delivery, etc. this site consist of three sub features which means question can be related to trade, safe trading as well as finding different suppliers.
Next feature is the “price watch” tab. This gives an idea of updates in the value of different currency, different product prices, etc. hence, while trading, customers do not have to go through other websites to check all this and they can get the updated information from here, only.
Next feature is the “success stories” tab. This feature helps in providing success stories of this website. It’s just a strategy to promote this website as customers definitely want to be aware of this, when they are trading here. Hence, they need not check various news sites in order to get the latest report. Each and every success story related to www.alibaba.com is available here.
One more unique feature of this website is to provide a detail of products which are highly eye-catching. This tab is known as “featured products”. At present, which product is leading the market, can be known from here. This gives the customer an idea to go through them and buy as per their requirement. This feature is very similar to “today’s special” in restaurants.
Next feature is the advertisement section. This section advertises one of the best products of this e-commerce site.
Last but not the least feature is the section from where one can easily surf all the details about the website, from company information, partners, to buying, selling, safety and support and other services as well as tools.
Detailed description of features and functions of www.alibaba.com
Alibaba.com is basically based on quite a few requirement frameworks that include strategic advertising branding, consultation for web designing, creation of professional contents, robust features of ecommerce, management in addition to administration of site, managed services, systems integration, as well as hosting. Below are the details of all the features as well as functions, which have been the part of the alibaba.com.
Custom Site Design
This feature include customized or traditional designed banner, navigation buttons or links, logo, site layout as well as color scheme as per the choice of the customer for the website. It basically works as per the customers need, requirement as well as choice.
Second customized design is that the home page of www.alibaba.com must have various links, such as, view account, buyers and suppliers account login, , checkout page, shopping cart in addition to site map
Management of various products
Customized products are making entry and hence, get managed with the help of built-in merchant tools
This website includes pages with unlimited number of grouping, sub-categories as well as detailed information related to products.
Products are assigned to multiple different categories as well as sub-categories
One more function of this website is to upload products in bulk or product feeding which means importing product details from other websites or databases by the help of files of XML data feed.
Internal products can be searched with the help of various keyword related to products along with search query archiving.
Technique for dynamic imaging is used which helps in enlarging image view, zooming image as well as multiple views of the image from front, side and back in order to provide most favorable user experience.
Selection of Color swatch is done which allow end users to select from a variety of available colors.
Notification for Out-of-stock is provided. This basically produce an out-of-stock notice on that page where the product detail is mentioned along with an anticipated in-stock date
One more feature of this site is such that it can mark products as “Unavailable”. This means, products which have been removed from the catalog, although not from the database, are marked as, not available.
Playback of video is also available to give attractive look to end-user. Videos related to any product can be uploaded on the site and played on the page of detailed product.
Order editing can be done here, which means all the components of order can be edited.
Searching for Order can be done which includes searching orders by the name of customer, corporation name, date, state, and order ID as well as order status.
This business works on the principle of partial as well as back-order shipment which means shipping of in-stock items are done first and items which are out-of-stock are shipped later on.
Order history is available which helps registered end users to view a catalog of formerly placed orders in addition to transferring selected orders to the online basket, known as shopping cart.
Tracking of order status can also be done which means registered users are able to keep a eye on the condition of current orders as well as partially shipped orders.
Shopping cart is basically an online basket. Hence, a normal shopping cart or a drop-down is really needed and hence, designed. The customer can select among any of these two which appeared on the page where product detail is given in order to transfer the product to a shopping cart.
The feature of this function is such that it can sum up all the items automatically inside the cart.
Editing of shopping cart can also be done like consumers can delete items as well as update product items as per their requirement.
Processing of instantaneous credit card permit order payment by majority of the credit card.
Payment processing is done at the point of sale or for the duration of order fulfillment
Order notification – consumer get order confirmation along with order tracking number as well as shipping confirmation as soon as the order ships.
SSL is used which means secured encrypted transport of order as well as credit card information is done.
Secured HTTPS/SSL as well as password protected entry is done in order to enter to the admin section.
Complete log-out capabilities is provided for site administrator as well as customer.
Website is PCI compliant which means the servers are firewall protected. Numbers of credit card are no longer stored than necessary, susceptible data is encrypted in addition to restricted access. Audit logs are also created.
Account management is done where site administrator has to login and revise the information related to customer account.
Product management as well as order management is done.
Pricing updates are provided which gives flexible interface for various price information related to all product items or for definite categories.
Generation of sales reports for sales is done with the help of date, type of product, customer, location and order size, etc.
Content management is done.
Reviewing customer reviews, making those reviews on or off, are done here.
Customer account registration is done.
Account information can be viewed. Customers can login to go through and update various and can check status of the order.
Onsite blogging- end users can put their comment on various blog posts.
Onsite product reviews can be done which means customers may rate as well as share their personal experiences regarding any product.
Social media optimization in addition to integration provides link to social media sites such as Digg and Reddit, and on the other hand, two-way incorporation with different social networking sites such as Facebook as well as Twitter.
Diagram 5: Testing
Testing is one of the important parts of designing and development of web based application for the reason that this application all the time works as a multi-user system along with limitations of bandwidth. Few of the common testing are integration testing, Scalability testing, Stress testing, resolution testing, load testing as well as cross-browser compatibility testing. Testing is a broader term which basically divided into two parts: automated testing and manual testing. Both of these testing can be performed without any failure. For instance, it’s really essential to test the speed of uploading of graphics, in order to calculate this loading time, as they plays a very important role in the appearance of any website. In today’s time, there are a lot of testing tools available over the internet which assist testers to test the web applications.
After complete of all the short step-by-step testing, a final testing is necessary. This testing will be done in a live environment. Hence, the basic policy is that as soon as the site is uploaded, there must be a complete testing.
Various Inputs to the phase of testing
Technical specifications, along with
Various outputs of the phase of Testing
Reports on testing,
recurrent interaction along with developers as well as designers
This stage of system development life cycle is applicable only for websites. This phase consist of preparing Meta tags, steady analysis in addition to suggesting the URL to various search engines as well as directories. It’s generally an ongoing process because the different strategies of search engine usually changes quite often. Hence, one of the ideal policies for submission will be to submit the website URLs once in every two months. Moreover, if the end user is willing, paid submissions as well as paid click can also be performed with extra cost.
Various Inputs to the phase of promotion
A website along with content,
Mails from client notifying the competitors
Few Output to the phase of promotion
Site submission is done along with essential Meta tags.
Maintenance and Updating
All the e-commerce websites like www.alibaba.com basically require frequent updates in order to look fresh and adjust with any situation. Hence, a need for analysis is there so that application can be well maintained as well as all the phases of life cycle must get revised. Bug or error fixes are also done throughout the period of maintenance. As soon as the website is functional, ongoing promotion, content management and updating, technical maintenance, reports for website visit, mentoring as well as staff training are considered necessary on a normal basis depending on the intricacies of the website as well as the needs within the business organization.
Various Inputs to Maintenance along with Updating
Site or the application,
Content as well as functions which are needed to be modernized,
Reports for Re-Analysis
Various Outputs to Maintenance along with Updating
An Updated application,
Various supporting documents developed to
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