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According to Richard Trambly, writer for Computer World Magazine, “An e-business model is an approach to conducting electronic business through which a company can sustain itself and generate profitable revenue growth. The business model spells out how a company plans to make money online and how it’s competitively positioned in an industry. ” This paper will examine three websites that are geared to different populations. First, we will examine a business to business site (B2B), secondly a business to consumer (B2C) site and lastly a site for a non-profit agency.
This paper will glance at the different models that each company is using and how they utilize their online presence to generate the offerings desired by their consumers. The increasing complexity of Internet and Web technologies and their rapid evolution are imposing a Herculean challenge for information technology managers. They are expected to achieve optimal utilization of their existing information system for business performance while ensuring integration of the latest Internet and Web technologies in their enterprise information technology architectures.
At the same time, they must meet the expectations of business managers who need to create and sustain innovative business value propositions to keep up with the changing competitive environment and customer needs. Not unexpectedly, companies are realigning their product and service platforms into “e-business solution architectures” that can better address the needs of improved customer relations and enhanced financial conditions for the company overall. The greater levels of service and cost reductions are required across all areas of the business and diversities of technologies.
There are many models that address these needs and the determination of which one to use is as important as who it is being intended for. The three major areas of e-business are business to business, business to consumer, and consumer to consumer. B2B models are not strictly sales oriented they incorporate tools to manage supply chain and distribution logistics, furthermore strict B2B websites are typically a way for companies to interact with suppliers and distributors.
Obviously, B2C sites are focused upon sales from the distributor typically to the end consumer, there is some space added for feedback and customer support but the emphasis is placed upon sales. C2C sites are much like B2C, except many of these sites are auction oriented and maintain little feedback or optional features. This paper will explore the sites of three organizations, Intel, E-Bay and the Boy Scouts of America. Intel’s web site (http://intel. com/business/index. htm) is tailored toward B2B transactions. It is content rich and is an easily understood and easily navigated web site.
The systems offering is also rich giving technology support and vendor support functionalities a key and very non-transparent area of the site. The site is neither flashy nor is it filled with useless media content, it is mainly text oriented which allows for quick downloading and access to desired materials. Intel recognizes that in addition to enabling technology, understanding of organizational cultural issues and their strategic implications is critical to the successful implementation of e-business technologies.
Intel is focused on e-business solutions and deals almost primarily in digital products and services. Intel uses this model as it is predicated on the power of the web to allow them to reach buyers directly and thereby compress the distribution channel. The model used is based on efficiency or cost-savings that may or may not be passed on to consumers, improved customer service, and a better understanding of customer preferences. This model is particularly important as emergent microprocessor manufacturers enter the market such as AMD.
AMD has emerged as a formidable opponent and Intel must do all that it can to ensure that its products are more easily obtained and to make customers completely aware that support is available immediately, if problems were to arise. In sharp contrast to Intel, E-bay (www. ebay. com) makes use of a very graphically oriented web site. E-bay uses an auction “broker model” (Rappa 2004). With this model E-bay conducts auctions for its user (sellers) whether they are consumers or merchants. The broker (E-bay) charges the seller a fee, which is derived from a percentage of the value of the transaction.
The seller takes highest bid(s) from buyers above a minimum or reserve price. Auctions can vary in terms of the offering and bidding rules. E-bay is arguably the most popular online auction site and offers many diverse items to purchase. E-bay utilizes multiple channels to market its’ services, mostly online advertising, email to members, and in pop-up ads on affiliated sites. The vast majority of traffic on the site is from individual consumers, however, many businesses buy and sell on e-bay as well and in that sense e-bay is multi faceted in its approach to e-business.
In this capacity, E-bay acts as a business to business (B2B) site, a business to consumer (B2C) site and finally a consumer to consumer (C2C) site. E-bay is marketed to anyone who would like to buy or sell over the internet and has many different offerings such as seller and buyer feedback, PayPal(r), and many other support features. One of the most impressive aspects of E-bay is the “My E-bay” section of the site. This area requires membership to use, however, it allows for easy maintenance of an account. It gives a quick display on all items currently being offered for sale and their respective status, i.
e. number of bids, highest bid, and winning bidder ID. This service also serves as a resource to manage bids, currently watched items, payment statuses as well as user interaction feedback. In stark disparity to Intel and E-bay, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA, http://www. scouting. org/) is a non-profit group that operates to enrich the lives of young men with the knowledge and power of preparedness. The website is very specialized and is used to disseminate information regarding training, programs available, merit badge requirements and rank advancements to participants, their leaders and parents.
Here the traffic volume is not as important as is the user base. This site attracts mainly scouts, scout leaders and those interested in scouting. This site could be a particularly highly sought after venue for advertisers of outdoor, emergency preparedness equipment and general provident living supplies. BSA attempts to reach their target audience by providing content on their web site relevant to enrollment, starting a new unit, back ground of the organization as well as research that illuminates the value of Scouting. Like Intel, BSA has designed their web site with a very straight forward approach with very few frills or additional media.
It is set up in tabular format and has links for popular items such as the national Jamboree, which is a large scouting get together that is coupled with training and exciting activities for the youth. The national BSA website gives tools in which individuals may look up events that are regionally specific as well as give general contact and Counsil information. Locally, the Great Salt Lake Council, is responsible for the area in which I live. I retrieved a link to their web site (http://www. gslc-bsa. org) from the national site. In conclusion there are many differing models that can be applied to e-business and e-commerce.
There is much to be said about first impressions and a website can be just that for a company. Regardless of how the company is structured many consumers, me included, will often venture to the associated website first. If the website is poorly designed or is difficult to navigate it can possibly turn the consumer away from the company and lose potential business. It is important that businesses give thorough thought to utilize the correct e-business model for their business and provide the content needed to attract and retain the desired clientele.
Regardless of the model chosen, the intent of having an online presence is to provide increased support, cost savings and convenience to the customer and provide efficiencies and cost savings to the company.
References: E-Business Models, Trambly, R. , retrieved online September 28, 2004 from, http://www. computerworld. com/industrytopics/retail/story/0,10801,54589,00. html Business Models on the Web, Managing the Digital Enterprise, Rappa, M. , retrieved online September 26, 2004 from: http://digitalenterprise.org/models/models.html