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Advantages and disadvantages of a Web Presence

The Internet is a world wide market place consisting of transactions and opportunities to digitally interact with consumers. It is a new way of selling. More and more customers expect to find your product news and specifications on the web. But even on the Net, you have to advertise your product. Using Internet as a media to advertise your product is different from traditional media. Through Internet companies can be present all over the world. Using the web as an advertising tool is the cheapest way to be discovered at every time. You can also quickly change your promotional campaign, in order to gain attention that may lead the consumer to the product. Online services become so popular because they provide two major benefits to potential buyers: Convenience: Customers can order products 24 hours a day wherever they are. They don’t have to sit in traffic, find a parking space, and walk through countless aisles to find and examine goods. And they don’t have to drive all the way to a store, only to find out that the desired product is out of stock. Information: Customers can find reams of comparative information about companies, products, and competitors without leaving their office or home. They can focus on objective criteria such as prices, quality, performance, and availability. Customers can expect the advantage to pull the information, to be drained into detailed catalog or other information about products and services for sale that they are looking for. They do not feel forced, they are looking for the information by themselves. Nevertheless it seems that Web advertising is much more price than image oriented. Web advertising does not seem the appropriate way to advert a product. According to BMRB International (annex 1) 37% of UK Net shoppers are not ready to purchase off-line They always fear to give their account number to a company they do not know. Today a well-known brand is a real competitive advantage. BRMB International has shown that 16% of purchases has done thanks to an implicit trust of established brands. Nevertheless it does not mean that it will stay an advantage in the future. Moreover the difference with more traditional media is that customers come to you and not you to the customers. You cannot retain their attention if they feel that it does not worth it. When you wish to expand your market share trough Internet, you have to consider the specificity of your target audience. At the present time people who buy through Internet are young, daily users of computers. But there are not only people used to Internet.

Because e-business is growing up (annex 2), we can assume that most people have no experience in e-business. The audience can be both good Internet users and beginners. Dealing with communication interaction Security The World Wide Web is the fastest growing part of the Internet. Increasingly, it is also the part of the Internet that is the most vulnerable to attack. For users, a secure web server is one that will safeguard any personal information (bank account number) that is received or collected. It is one that supports their privacy and will not subvert browser to download viruses or other rogue programs onto their computer For a company, a secure web server is resistant to a determined attack over the Internet or from corporate insiders. In order to increase security, you can use a system for automatically encrypting information as it is sent over the Internet and decrypting it before it is used.

One of Netscape Communication’s early innovations was its SSL. You can also use firewalls, which is a device that isolates an organization’s internal network from the Internet at large, allowing specific connections to pass and blocking others. Marketing / Communication It is really important to get people inform of the existence of your web site. You will have to shout it from the roof tops! You can use your letterhead, your cards or your leaflets to write your web address. You can also through a TV or board advertising campaign let people know about your site existence. As Jim Sterne says: your web site can be funny, pretty, useful, crisp and clean, but if you don’t promote it, its message won’t be seen. By the way you can also manage to register different key words on browsers in order to put make know your web site when people look for information in your business area. Deliveries and Payment If you use e-commerce on your website, once the buyer has searched through a catalog and made his decision to purchase, the order, the payment, the handle fulfillment and other aspects of order management have to be processed. The order processing must include the ability to group items together for later purchase; this capability is called a shopping cart in the case of retail transactions; it usually includes the ability to modify the contents of the shopping cart at any time. This way the buyer can discard items, add new ones, change the quantities and so on. To the purchase, the buyer will have additional charges such as sales taxes and shipping costs. The order processing system presents the buyer with an itemized order form including all the charges so the buyer can pay for the items. Information effect With the Internet, it is now possible to obtain accurate and immediate feedback from your customers (A daemon can count the number of hits). With access to this information, your business will be able to add the most personalized value to the customer. Tool such as the World Wide Web helps you to build more of your business decision-making based on outside information, and find out more about your non-customers and what non-customers and what they are doing, and why they are not customers. Fiscal and legal implications Internet is still largely unregulated. Because Internet is global (no territorial limits), electronic (no writing) and digital (perfect copies can be made almost instantaneously and repetitively), it is a source of different problems. The state of California tries to regulate e-business in California (annex 3). It seems very complex to set up a world wide regulation and, at the present time nobody knows what to do if something going wrong in the cyberspace. Concerning taxation, applying existing tax rules and system to the Internet world is tempting but does not answer to the needs of this marketplace.

One key aspect to resolving the taxation issue of Internet commerce is to keep tax policies universal, uniform, and neutral. Resources needed to maintain the Site Obviously, resources need to maintain a web site is going to depend on the size of the web site. Whatever the size you firstly need to ask you few questions such as: Will this solution be flexible enough to accommodate change? Do we have the technical competencies to support Internet initiatives? Is this solution customizable to our needs and our customer needs? Do we have the technological infrastructure (network services; hardware, software) required to develop and scale? Do we have sufficient funding for ongoing web site maintenance? Do we have operations capabilities to support our Internet strategy? Web creation There are two different ways to create a web site. You can do it yourself or ask an agency to manage the creation of your web site. If you decide to create yourself your web site, you will need special coding software. But if you decide to delegate the creation to an agency, it might cost you around $750 for a basic web site (annex 4). Web maintenance However you must also take into consideration the maintenance. When you have created your web site, you must care to make it alive. You need to care about your human resources skills According to the Business Marketing Web Consortium the following roles should be filled: • A Web Editor.Depending on the size of the site, this could be a part-time or a full-time person. The Web editor is responsible for content for a site. • A Web Master, responsible for the infrastructure and technology supporting the website. Making sure that links link, and the site performs • An Infomaster responsible for timely response to inquiries • An overall Technology Leader, defining corporate standards and resources required Poor maintenance can severely damage a company’s image Site Design and Structure As we have pointed out since the beginning, e-business is a new way of selling. When a potential customer gets connected to your site, you have not sell anything yet. There are different ways to attract customers to your product. Firstly, you need to care about your web design. It means that you should not forget that if there are too many pictures or electronic animations, download is going to take a while. If your site require downloading applications, they should downloaded in twenty seconds or less.

Users of Internet expect fast and functional site (avoid horizontal scrolling). Web sites must be customers oriented rather than product oriented. Information value is much more important than glizz. Customers stay loyal because of the service, not because they like your web site. Simplicity and speed differentiate your site, making it easy for business customers to order. Secondly, Web marketers must ask if their markets are comfortable with English. Global marketers recommend adding local languages when needed. Thirdly, in order to maintain interest in your site, you have to make it interactive. Internet is both a business and communication tool, you must provide to users a page where you give relevant information on your product but also on your industry area. It is recommended to let customers express their feelings through email. But you do not do it only for the fun, your site must be professional (ie: updated, fast answers), that is why you have to deal with your e-customers as you are used to do with your offline customers. In order to support the design of your future web site, we would like to present this tree structure.