Week 12 questions.

Notes: “The data logged by servers can be analyzed to help optimize network infrastructure, improve web site architecture, measure the effectiveness of site design and advertising campaigns, and much, much more.” Sourced from: (http://digitalenterprise.org/metrics/metrics.html)

Questions:

Answer the questions that you can having completed the Google Digital Analytics Fundamentals :-

1) Looking at the site usage, what does the terms visits, page views and pages/visit mean? What does the bounce rate mean and does it vary much from day to day?

Visits: Is used to describe how many times people access a person’s site. It could also be described how many sessions are occurring on the site. Visit numbers can be recorded by cookies, or other means and can help chart growth patterns and site progress. The behavior report tracks the amounts of visits (according to Google analytic course). You can see the frequency of views, new and returning customers, as well as engagement!

Page views:  Can be concluded that it counts the amount of times a single user accesses that page. It can also track other things like which places within the website that they access whilst on their visit. It shows how “engaged” users are, this feature is installed on Facebook analytic for pages.

Page/ page visits: ‘Pages per visit is a Web analytics measure of how many pieces of content (Web pages) a particular user or group of users views on a single website.’ (https://www.techopedia.com/definition/27983/pages-per-visit-pagesvisit)

Bounce rate: Bounce rate is the percentage of sessions with only one user interaction. If certain regions have a higher than average bounce rate, your website may need to be optimized to appeal more to your given audience. I.e you should translate your site into their language or place more advertising there. Bounce rates count when users land on your site and do not interact with anything and leave, no matter how long they stay on that initial page for. Measures landing page effectiveness. Eg blogs may have high bounce rates because their initial page is their entirety.

2) Now look at the traffic sources report. What are the three sources of traffic and where has most of the traffic come from? There were a few reports for example, the Goal view report indicated the path users followed to get to a web page’s goal/site. The location report lets you see where your traffic is accumulating from and which country it was accessed in. It can also show where emerging markets are coming up (creating new traffic).

A dimension of a session is the traffic source that brought a user to your site. Helps you define your next marketing campaign, source and medium of where the user comes from will help establish that.

The three types of traffic are: 1. New vs returning customers. You can track their e commerce and compare their ratios. 2. Frequency and recurrence report, (how many days until users return to your site etc.) 3. Engagement rates: show you much time users spend on your site.”In Analytic, the search engines, social networks, ad campaigns, and other sources that send users to your property are collectively known as campaigns and traffic sources.” according to: (https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/6205762?hl=en)

3) What was the most popular web browser used to access the site?

Records all the mediums and tags you used. Within the ‘Collecting campaign data section’, Google / organic was the most popular source or web browser used to access the site with a score of 121,000 visits. YouTube came in third place. These are the places in which traffic clicked onto your sites link and we can establish that the most effective form of advertisement were in Google Organic.

4) How many countries did visitors come from and what were the top four countries?

Within the ‘Reporting Overview’, there were 10 differentiating countries. In terms to the Countries with the most views, the following consisted of- United States,

5) (a) What you can track: You can track qualitative and quantitative data from your website and the competition, according to: (http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/rethink-web-analytics-introducing-web-analytics-20/). You can track new users, geographic locations of site access and purchases, demographics such as age or gender, active users, interests and much more.

(b) What you can track over time: Visitor trends, longevity of site, customer loyalty, life time value, business data, effectiveness of decisions, measuring outcomes, consumer trends,

(c) What you can’t track: Customer wants, when there are no campaign tags (if you don’t tag your campaigns properly.)

6) What do the following terms mean? These are just a few, you may like to add some more yourself.

high bounce rate: If certain regions have a higher than average bounce rate, your website may need to be optimized to appeal more to your given audience. I.e you should translate your site into their language or place more advertising there.

Bounce rate is the percentage of sessions with only one user interaction.

Average Page Depth: In Web analytics, including Google Analytics, It measures how many number of pages on your website or page, that a visitor views whilst on a single session on your browser. (https://analyticsacademy.withgoogle.com/course/1/unit/4/lesson/5)

Click through rate: Is the amount of visitors to a web page who follow a hypertext link to a particular site.

Click: When users on your webpage access a part of your website by selecting with a mouse.

Cookie: The linking of data between a user’s browser and the webpage. They are used to track how users got to the site and also have some authentication services from current browsers (to see what type of people are visiting the site).

Impression: ‘In Web advertising, the term impression is sometimes used as a synonym for view , as in ad view . Online publishers offer and their customers buy advertising measured in terms of ad views or impressions.’ (http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/impression).

Hyperlink: An element in an electronic document that links to another place in the same document or to an entirely different document.

Navigation: The ease and accessibility for users to navigate and search through your site.

Page viewEngagement is tracked through metrics and every time a user views a page on your site.

Session: Page views and events keep user sessions interactive. A session entails the length of time a user accesses your site and can differ according to your content.

Unique Visitors (or Absolute Unique Visitors): Create unique property or digital assets. Gives unique areas for visitors to view.

URL: Can be collected from the JavaScript and sent to Google for analyzing. Can be used as tags, multiples can be created: a specific name and tag for accessing specific sites or parts of a site.

Visitor: Is a metric of how many users visit your site at one time, to understand overall size of your audience. New vs returning users.

Visitor Session: Google tracks the time of your first interaction on your site and compares and subtracts it from the length of time of your last interaction. A sessions persists until the user stops engaging with the site. Can customize a length of a session. Eg a tech site may have periods of engagement that are short where on a video site a user wants to be watching videos at length.

Comparison shopping: An ability to compare and contrast prices from other sites or online stores. Consumers are presented with a range of options for purchasing or viewing information, they will use the site which has the most value.

References: 

http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/H/hyperlink.html

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Week 11 questions.

Web 2.0: According to: (http://www.oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=1),  states that, at the time where everyone thought the internet was not important anymore, web 2.0 found that it was still important and mostly as ever! New applications were appearing rapidly! Web 2.0 basically meant that applications and webpages were upgrading to a more powerful and influential stage in the development of the world wide web. It was progression of tools, personal websites turned into “blogs” and “wikis”, it was getting more and more focused on simplifying processes and buzz names so consumers could more easily use and identify apps! With a focus of continuous improvement and not being “trapped” by the features or problems of web 1.0. Also embeds innovation and the comparison between new and old applications replacing one another.

Web 3.0: Evolution of of the world wide web where machines perform information reading and tasks unimaginable or possible for humans. Artificial intelligence is used and mobility is always prevalent through some sort of device/machine. Has the ability to change our lives, revolutionary discoveries being made. The revolution of computer tech, in-sighting bots and other robots created to not only produce human answers, but be able to perform intense data functions and memory.

Popular URL’s revision notes: 

Exercise – select five applications that you have not heard of before from Popular URL’s and describe on your blog page how they could be useful to a business.

  1. Flickr.com is a Yahoo app! It is a photo sharing application that can aid businesses in their marketing scheme. It is a photo sharing and editing app, so businesses can create images of their business products or service and share them with consumers. It also has built in storage so multiple files can be saved and produced at a time. For blogs and online, businesses could utilize the quality of those edits by using them as headers or images contained on their own webpage.
  2. 500 PX. Is also another photo sharing application that businesses can engage with and use online. It allows you to license your own photos online and also share them with friends. By businesses utilizing the form of social media sharing, they can reach a greater pool of customers. It is very similar to the app, Instagram and can be downloaded from the app store or on Google Play store.
  3. Pinboard. Is a bookmarking site that allows you to connect multiple accounts of varied sources whilst still being able to bookmark each link individually. I think this is a very useful tool for online businesses who need to constantly check for dead links and have multiple accounts running at the same time. It can also be effective in never losing contact details etc.
  4. Reddit. Is a social media and news site where entertainment and news headlines are sourced. I think Reddit could be relevant for any business to see what kind of products, services and stories are impacted the public, especially in relation to new innovation and marketing in a way consistent with the like of the public. In relation to Reddit’s popularity, businesses would be wise to create adverts and pay for them to be featured on this site.
  5. Dzone: Is a very large website with a giant amount of users of the web. It is aimed at the publishers of technical content for software users so it is perfect for businesses! It is an educational site, it provides tips and strategic advice to these businesses. It would be a perfect learning tool for any professional, with multiple communities online willing to improve your expertise.

Week 10 questions:

Questions
1) What is meant by the following statements?

Trust is not associative (non-symmetric): Trust may be given by an individual but that may not mean that the recipient trusts them back. This can be a one sided affair but if both parties trust each other, it is more likely for a successful business. Customers must trust the business they are buying from but that business may not trust the consumer. This means that set up policies and payment tools that ensures customers pay on time, return items in good condition (if wanting a refund), etc.
Trust is not transitive: Sellers do not automatically gain consumer trust just because they have had previous success or been trusted in another domain name. You have to build trust because without it, you will be unsuccessful at having people visit your site or potentially buy your product. You must earn it by demonstrating that you are a trustworthy site and have consumer interest at heart.
Trust is always between exactly 2 parties: Two separate parties such as a seller and a buyer will need trust in their relationship. Trust may be extended to extra parties such as domain, distribution, postal services all in order to enact a purchase process. Trust can be between two parties, or more, dependent on how many intermediaries there are between a seller and a buyer receiving their product/service.

Trust will involve either direct trust or recommended trust: Direct trust is when a consumer trusts their seller because they genuinely and personally believe that they will do the right thing. Recommended trust merely means when a consumer trusts a business because someone else has recommended it to them and therefore see it as someone they can also trust. Experience of others affects trust levels in new consumers.

2a) Have a look at the following websites. What are some of the elements that have been incorporated to increase your trust in the sites? If there are also some aspects which decrease your level of trust describe them as well.

http://www.opencolleges.edu.au It advertises on it’s homepage that it is Nationally renowned for it’s services. It is very visual with descriptive photos and an easy to navigate home page. There is everything you need to access on the homepage and ;osted below is it’s company and credentials. There are help pages and links to other areas relating to their site. It is also very straight forward and a simple layout.
http://www.creditunionsa.com.au/ It is a recently updated website and lists that below as 2016. It’s colour scheme matches it’s brand and consumers can identify with it’s advertisments from television etc. It also advertises well known brands such as Google which consumers can trust.
http://www.thinkgeek.com Simple layout. Has well known brands that it stocks plastered above in it’s toolbar. Has a well known brand logo. It also is easy to navigate and has large pictures listing their items for sale.
https://stripe.com The fact you can sign in inserts a feel of membership and trust. Blue theme affects viewers in a calm and trustworthy way. The large advert for their service at the top ensures viewers with the notion it is a professional site. Also the amount of direct links and relevant applications for their business help users beleive the site is safe and trustworthy.

2b) Find a web site yourself that you think looks untrustworthy:

I have used an untrustworthy application called audacity, which is a sound editor. It generally is broadly used and is not seen as a poor site. Unfortunately I downloaded it from a site in which gave my brother’s laptop viruses and pop up advertisements. You can also download music from that application that looked very skeptical and also became part of the problem. Since we have downloaded software protection which identifies which websites are safe to use, good work on our part.

Week 9 questions:

Channel conflict: is where any two different marketing channels are competimg for the same sale with the same brand!

How could an insurance firm start selling insurance directly to end customers without upsetting their traditional insurance agent/broker channel? 

It is possible to not upset established retail conflict between the insurance company and their previous channels. By selling directly online they are scared they will lose business! They can do this by: being a newly established retail business (as they don’t have the history with their retailers!) They could also create a site where they directly sell their products but also advertise their retailers, whilst providing links to the retailing sites so consumers cam purchase them from there. As mentioned within mylams.com.au, Dell the computer company started off as directly selling to consumers and then branched out to retailers. This is insurance company needs to set clear goals and outline them to their retailers, so they achieve a united front. Including channel partners in decision making (such as their brokers). Functional conflict can be achieved where each channel understands that the success of one channel dictates the other. Make a deal with the brokers, do not do it blindly. Mediation may be used by a third party to assemble the agreement between the channels. This strategy may be efficient where they should hire someone to do an e commerce distribution assessment such as TechZui.

How would the approach resolve the above situation for the insurance company?

By sharing rewards and creating new synergies between the manufacturer and the brokers. As a team they are more likely to make appropriate decisions surrounding the internet business. It is in both of their interests to make more profit and market more power. I have included this answer in the question above.

Provide another example of channel conflict that you can think of. What style of resolution was used? 

Internal conflict is where new online channels must compete with existing offline channels within the same business! Harvey Norman has received some conflict whilst selling Apple products. They do not in fact make a profit on these items as they only sell at cost price and the profits go directly to Apple. They stock their products because without the consumers will not come into their physical stores but also have deals with Apple as the manufacturer. Apple has incredible market power but by selling it’s products, Harvey makes no financial gains. There is no resolution to this, Apple is the dominant company and Harvey are a retailer. They do attract customers to their store and have a brand deal with Apple so in some ways that is the resolution.

Bot

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http://www.botlibre.com/scripts/sdk.js

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web.createBox();

Week 7 definitions

Digital automata:

Software programs that need no human supervision, such as bots, recommender systems, agents, avatars, chatterbots, & collaborative filtering.

Semantic Web:

A project created by the World Wide Web Consortium whose goals involve the creation of machine-readable protocols, which are used for conveying meaning about data (metadata and ontologies), and which also allow computers to deal with data independently in performing tasks on behalf of humans.

Autonomic computing:

The goal of autonomic computing is to create systems that can manage themselves to a significant degree without any human intervention.

Distributed denial of service (DDoS):

Use automated techniques, such as worms, for the purpose of compromising and seizing control of a very large number of computers, creating a Botnet, which is then used to shut down targeted Web sites.

Spambot:

Crawl the Internet to harvest email addresses from public Web pages.

Collect (function performed by digital automata):

Programs that gather and store information in databases, such as search engine crawlers. (googlebot).

Filter (function performed by digital automata):

Programs that sort and classify information based on a given set of criteria. (SpamAssassin).

Recommend (function performed by digital automata):

Programs that analyze information such as preferences to make recommendations. (MovieLens).

Find (function performed by digital automata):

Programs that autonomously conduct searches based on a set of given criteria.

Monitor (function performed by digital automata):

Programs that scan information to detect changes and respond, for example, by issuing an alert. (Copernic).

Process (function performed by digital automata):

Programs that perform regularly scheduled processes, such as with basic computer maintenance. (Macaroni).

Transact (function performed by digital automata):

Programs that perform automated transactions, such as with auction bidding. (Auction Sentry).

Simulate (function performed by digital automata):

Programs that simulate human activity such as speech, facial expressions, or motion. The representations may be realistic or stylized. (CyberBuddy, Lauren).

Week 8 questions:

Notes: The nature of (online) auctions has changed from selling mainly collectible goods, to selling everyday items. Businesses can use auction sites in many different ways from selling excess inventory, to sourcing materials to using them for promotional purposes.

Refer to the power point and Managing the Digital Enterprise, then answer the following questions –

Q1: eBay is one of the only major Internet “pure plays” to consistently make a profit from its inception. What is eBay’s business model? Why has it been so successful?

In reference to: http:(//teamcaffeine.wikidot.com/ebay), Ebay employs an “online person-to-person trading community on the Internet, using the World Wide Web.” EBay consistently thrives upon a large market, while targeting over 30 countries. A buying and selling station that has auctions, buy it now and best offer selling tools. EBay has basically replaced catalogue browsing, an online wave has never been more popular due to the ability of consumers to sell to other consumers (as well as), businesses able to sell to consumers. Brand association of EBay is at a all time high, buyers are attracted to purchasing items from legitimate sellers who have high rating feedback associating with their trading on EBay. EBay is even more powerful as it has recently purchased the rights to Paypal, an online site where you can pay for your goods.

Q2: Other major web sites, like Amazon.com and Yahoo!, entered the auction marketplace with far less success than eBay. Are they still offering auctions? How has eBay been able to maintain its dominant position?

In reference to: (http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/052615/ebay-vs-amazon-business-model.asp), EBay is known for its ease of use when it comes to the payment process. Amazon has a more complex structure, as users wanting to sell can list as a personal account or a professional account. In comparison to EBay, Amazon is hard to navigate and has a more technical payment process especially when it comes to add on fees for listing an item and securing the sale. This is why EBay has been able to be more dominant, because of the ease of navigation, customization ability and easy payment methods. Amazon does not offer auctions but does allow buyers to send in best offers or to bargain with the sellers, allowing them some leverage. According to: online-auction-sites.toptenreviews.com, Yahoo! Auctions officially stopped posting auction listings on June 3, 2007, with all auctions terminating later that month.

Q3: What method does eBay use to reduce the potential for fraud among traders on its site? What kinds of fraud, if any, are eBay users most susceptible?

The following answer references (http://digitalenterprise.org/cases/ebay.html). Ebay allows it’s user to search through safety aspects on its website. Within the ‘security center’ you can choose any of the following options;

Welcome to eBay’s Security Center where we’ve provided resources to keep your eBay computing experience a safe one.

There are not only options for users to browse safely, the reporting of fake accounts is a major player in protecting people from fraudulent sellers or buyers. You can either alert EBay through email and have them deal with fraud, throughout the buying and selling process they also provide secure transactions through reliable payment services such as Paypal. There is also a rating system where all buyers and sellers have all of there prior feedback levels displayed for all consumers. People will only buy from sellers who have high reports of good feedback thus eliminating the chances of fraud.

Q4: eBay makes every effort to conceptualize its users as a community (as opposed to, say “customers” or “clients”). What is the purpose of this conceptual twist and does eBay gain something by doing it?

EBay intends to invite buyers and sellers to the site. There is no discrimination against large, small or independent businesses. A ‘community’ is a way of encouraging the ‘eBay community’ to trade with each other but only through the E bay platform. It means that a person using the site views themselves as not only buyers, but also potential sellers and in hence of that, more revenue will be generated through more engagement by community members.

Q5: eBay has long been a marketplace for used goods and collectibles. Today, it is increasingly a place where major businesses come to auction their wares. Why would a brand name vendor set-up shop on eBay?

Brand name vendors are always looking new selling platforms and it is free to join and sell on eBay! That means more views and traffic to their brand and potentially their site. Plus businesses may not have an auction tool for their products on their original site. eBay can allow them that freedom and the possibility of achieving a higher price for their goods (due to consumer competition within auctions). Businesses can sell more products and gain a broader eBay market by gaining great feedback from it’s buyers, thus strengthening the business to customer relationship as well as selling business to business.

I have a few businesses, and I have used eBay for about 14 years on and off. Currently I have about 300 books listed on eBay (seller name ozrural), and I also use it to promote my framing business (by advertising a few frames for sale (seller name Kazbaah). I stopped selling (books) on eBay for a few years but they changed the rules in July 2014 and it is viable again (for me) in a limited way  What do you think changed?

 

Ebay probably wanted to regulate how many large brands or businesses listing a higher amount of items, so that they could not outsell all other buyers in the category. As it promotes a real community feel, they want to make smaller sellers feel as if their products are also going to be sold alongside businesses who can mass produce products. Also they may have removed the option and re-added it once other sites such as Etsy or Amazon, had the option so naturally e-bay needed to compete with these other communities.

 

Week 7 questions

I have embedded the bot onto my site. I have also provided a link to the bot under week seven titled “bot”. Hopefully the bot is up and running for visitors on the site as it worked for me while using http://www.botlibre.com/embedtab.jsp.

2) Write a one paragraph describing the Turing test and another paragraph describing an argument against the Turing Test, known as the about the Chinese room.

The turing test is the ability of a computer or machine to think for itself, becoming automated when it comes to solving problems. This comes along with the intelligence of computers and technology alike. This was discovered by Alan Turing in 1950. The more alike a machines responses are to a human, the better the machine will perform on the turing test. Evaluators  will mark the following criteria dependent upon how much they can tell a machine or it’s automation against what a human would say. It is all about how a machine “can think”.

An argument against the turing test is that it is hypothesizing that a machine can actually “think”. People have critiqued that evaluotors could be buyest within their judgement (while marking the test). The test only tests a machines compatibility to a human response, it may not be an “intelligent” human response though. If machine solves a problem that is too intelligent for a human to solve, it will do poorly on the test yet it would probably be a better bot and able to aid customers more effectively.

The video (linked in the Powerpoint) ‘Creativity: The Mind, Machines, and Mathematics: Public Debate’ is a debate which asks the question ‘will machines one day achieve consciousness’. Following on from this debate consider the following question –

3) Can virtual agents succeed in delivering high-quality customer service over the Web? Think of examples which support or disprove the question or just offer an opinion based on your personal experience. Write you answer on your blog page. Create your own virtual agent on your web page. Try botlibre.com or find an alternative bot.

Apple has a pretty successful virtual agent called Siri. It’s design fares well within the turing test because it’s replies are very human like. When Siri is asked a very complicated question she simply redirects you to the internet, as a human would. She has a very intelligent data base and can even reply with humour and sass. Apple successfully provides it’s customers with an easy way of providing customer service, without an actually human there. I remember on my older Windows computer there was a simple bot in the form of a paper clip and it was a very unreliable form of customer service. It did not need the internet to operate but it’s programming was very limited, even entering titles of programs would sometimes not register. As time has gone on, obviously so has the quality of these virtual agents. Personally I still think that there needs to be a human element to webpages aswell, because while automated robots are clever, they still lack the emotional connectivity of a real person (even if they are sitting behind the computer).

 

References: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_test#Weaknesses_of_the_test

STORE:

CANVAS IMAGE: PRICE: SIZE:
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 IMG_0873 $22.00 14 by 14
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 IMG_0830 $22.00 14 by 14
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 IMG_20150301_213933 $22.00 11 by 11

(Was unable to link a ecwid shopping cart to this wordpress, because e commerce plugins no longer work on the site). (I would have pasted the following links in this to activate the site): 

Product browser:

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categories_per_row=”3″
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Categories:

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Mini cart:

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Search bar:

[ecwid id=”9330717″ widgets=”search”]

Week 6 questions

Digital markets.

When you think of the term ‘market’ what comes to mind? I think of physical gatherings and exchange of food, products and service. It is a very sensory and close relationship with the sellers and people.

Question 1

a) What experiences have you had with shopping online? I have had good experiences with the likes of Ebay, Mura boutique, Our botanicals and in general. I have always had reliable service and parcels have always arrived in satisfactory condition.

b) Describe a good experience. Once I ordered some products from Brown Cow tanning and they provided a very fast shipping for their product, a reasonable price and was an ethical business that sold products that were vegan and non evasive to the environment. They individually wrap their products and hand write the order in a card, encouraging you to keep buying from their online site. They included a free product for ordering with them for the first time.

c) What did you like about the online store you used? It was easy to navigate, simplistic layout and attractive fonts and pictures. The buying process only had a few steps to process your purchase and had a reliable feel, where I felt safe leaving card details on the site.

d) Describe a bad experience. I have not had any bad experiences with online stores, there was one site that sold basketball shoes (supposedly meant to be real brands alike: Kobe shoes), they were actually fake branded shoes with very low quality. The site was overloaded with pictures, had a weird layout and did not send verification emails until days later. I actually forwarded them too much money (luckily they refunded) but it was not a standard shopping cart at all.

e) What problems did you have with the online store? Answered above.

f) What features make an online store more appealing? Simplistic layout, design and font. Relevant pictures and easy to operate. Good feedback and forums.

g) What features make an online store less appealing? Confusing layout, difficult shopping cart, poor layout and overall design,

h) Should we expect to see the prices of goods and services rise or fall due to the migration of consumers online?

When a business is based online that generally means there will larger amounts of stock available for consumers thus meaning less fluctuation in prices. Businesses can afford to have a lower price with bundles or large orders, rather than at a physical market stall. Customers who use online services, are able to choose from a variety of sellers, thus prices must be competitive to stay active in sales. Nearly all offline businesses have converted to online businesses so that they can have more sales. Prices will still fluctuate but often decrease online because large amounts of stock being bought by businesses can mean discounts at lower prices for consumers.

Marketplace elements include:
Communications infrastructure
Structured environment
Transaction mechanism
Delivery

Ease of communication is both a strength and a weakness because of the huge volume of information and excess noise such as SPAM

(Understanding Digital Markets). indicate if you agree with them or not.

Question 2

a) The dispersion of prices (that is, the spread between the lowest and highest price for a particular product) will narrow. I think that initially there will be a low contrast in prices for particular products, once the market for the product expands I expect that larger companies will be able to provide cheaper products than smaller competitors. Once they product match what the small company is providing, prices will have high contrast between those who can produce them cheaply.

b) The importance of brand names will decrease. I disagree, I think there is a genuine link between a brand and a consumer and this is outlined through it’s brand. The brand name must represent the culture of the organisation, a simple name will penetrate the consumer market not just a number.

c) Price competition will make all products cheaper. As they speak about low cost price equilibrium I think that products will become cheaper and cheaper until a wider organisation is able to minimise product producing cost with innovation.

d) Digital markets will become dominated by a handful of mega-sites, like Amazon.com. Initially yes, but the internet is a vast place and I think it has the potential to provide more competition for online stores.

e) How do you think the balance of power between buyer’s and seller’s will change? Buyers obviously have the power to research between stores online. They are prepared to find the best deal and to not buy a product if it is outrageously costed on one site, they will switch to another. Sellers will have more market power if their site is too attract a larger pool of customers.

f) Prices are clustered online. I think that prices will fluctuate between online businesses initially.

g) Online prices are elastic. ( i.e. immune to change up and down with demand). Online prices will not be excluded from price elasticity, the more popular they are the more consumers will exercise their research rights or buy from someone else or at a physical store.

h) Online prices are generally transparent (the extent to which prices for a given product or service are known by buyers in the marketplace.). They will continue to be so.

I have also included some key points below which may help your understanding.

Market characteristics
In any given marketplace, a buyer who is seeking out a particular product or service has to undergo a search to understand the various offerings. Who’s selling what? How do the products of different sellers vary along dimensions such as quality or price? And search takes time, so that there’s a cost incurred by the buyer to discover what is available in the marketplace in any given segment.

Online may also increase or decrease switching costs. It can be expensive for large businesses to compete with say AMAZON, but it may be for smaller niche businesses eg a seller specialising in Classic Car books.

Sources of price dispersion on the Internet

1) The first, and most obvious, source of price dispersion online is product heterogeneity. If the products being compared are different in some way, then it should not be surprising if their prices are also different. You can take this a step further and note that even when the products are physically identical, they are not always good substitutes. For instance, they may be available in different locations or time periods — a bottle of wine in a supermarket is not a perfect substitute for the identical bottle in a fine restaurant. It is easy to extend this kind of argument to goods that are accompanied by different levels of customer service, advertising or even customer awareness. For most purposes, a reasonable approach is to consider product heterogeneity as relating only to the tangible or essential characteristics of the product. These characteristics include differences in the product’s physical characteristics or differences in retailer services that must be consumed with the product(e.g., return policies).

2) Product information used to evaluate homogeneous goods is typically separable from the physical product. Just providing better information on a homogeneous good should not provide a retailer with strategic advantage. It is possible, however, that product information is a useful strategic tool because of substantial search costs or switching costs in Internet markets. Customers may be drawn to a site because of its outstanding product information and then choose to purchase from that site because of the high search costs to find the good (at a potentially lower price) at another site. Offering a compelling shopping experience may also effect competition in Internet markets (Novak, Hoffman, and Yung 1998). Web design may influence consumer purchase behaviour.

3) Awareness: The three critical success factors for conventional retailers are sometimes said to be location, location, and location. Geography largely determines the set of potential customers that know of a store and that make purchases there. Many Internet retailers aggressively purchase premium locations on Internet “portals” and spend hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising through online, print and traditional broadcast media. This suggests that customer awareness may be just as important in online markets as physical real estate is in conventional markets. The importance of awareness can be traced to the high search costs to locate retailers in Internet markets. These search cost result from the sheer volume of information available. At times, searching for retailers online takes the form of the proverbial search for a “needle in a haystack.” While some retailers such as Amazon.com have used strategic marketing and large advertising budgets to develop high brand awareness, it can be difficult to locate other, more obscure, retailers among the millions of Internet sites available online.

4) Product information may also serve as a signal of trust and reliability in online markets. Retailer awareness is, in part, reflected by a Xerox study that found that just 5% of the websites online receive nearly 75% of the hits (Adamic and Huberman 1999). Consumers may be willing to pay a premium to purchase a product from a retailer who they trust in favor of an unknown retailer. Therefore, heterogeneity in retailer trust may lead to price dispersion in online markets.

5) Studies suggest that there are a variety of ways retailers may be able to signal trust in an online world including online communities, reputation systems, consumer reviews, and links from other trusted sites

6) Switching costs on the Internet can also be an incentive or disincentive for a customer to change allegiance to a particular site. For example, switching costs may be created through familiarity with a retailer’s site. Given the differences in interface design among Internet retailers, a customer who was familiar with an Internet retailer’s interface well may face a switching cost when shopping at a new retailer whose interface is unfamiliar. On the other hand if two sites are very similar, the switching cost would be low.

Some competitive features of eCommerce may include

Ubiquity (market space, transaction costs)

Global reach

Universal standards (market entry costs, search costs)

Richness

Interactivity

Information density (price transparency, cost transparency, price discrimination)

Personalization/Customization

Key concepts include

Information symmetry

Menu costs

Dynamic pricing

Disintermediation

New markets have also emerged for digital products. These include:

Digital goods: for example software delivered over a digital network.

Internet business models (pure-play, clicks-and-mortar)

Communication and community (banner ads, pop-up ads, social networking sites)

Digital content, entertainment, and services (such as podcasting, digital hosting services and syndicators)

The main categories of eCommerce are:

Business-to-consumer (B2C)

Business-to-business (B2B)

Consumer-to-consumer (C2C)

Mobile commerce (m-commerce)

G (Government) can also be substituted for (B) in the categories above. C2B is becoming more common particularly price comparison sites, but there is still a lot of resistance from businesses reluctant to get into price bidding wars.

Business-to-Business Electronic Commerce:

There is an opportunity for new efficiencies and relationships. Examples include:

Electronic data interchange (EDI)

Procurement/E-procurement

Private industrial networks

Private exchanges

Net marketplaces

Exchanges

M-Commerce Services and Applications

Mobile commerce has been slow to take off in Australia, partly because of high data costs. The introduction of the iPhone and other smart phones will probably see a huge increase in M-Commerce in the new few years. There is an increasing amount of free and commercial content already available to Australian mobile subscribers. In many countries it M-Commerce is regularly used for-

Mobile bill payment

Content and products

Banking and financial services

Wireless advertising

Location-based services

Games and entertainment

Question 3

a) What types of m-commerce services does your cell phone provider offer?

  • Financial services, which includes mobile banking (when customers use their handheld devices to access their accounts and pay their bills) as well as brokerage services, in which stock quotes can be displayed and trading conducted from the same handheld device. EG Commbank, netbank savers
  • Telecommunications, in which service changes, bill payment and account reviews can all be conducted from the same handheld device. EG Telstra contact on #125#
  • Service/retail, as consumers are given the ability to place and pay for orders on-the-fly. EG Scoopon services for travel or service vouchers
  • Information services, which include the delivery of financial news, sports figures and traffic updates to a single mobile device.”sourced from:  (http://searchmobilecomputing.techtarget.com/definition/m-commerce).

b) Which of these services do you use? Commbank, Telstra, Scoopon, Google plus

c) What types of transactions do you perform through your cell phone or other wireless device? Commbank, paypal and ebay services.

d) What types of transactions would you like to perform, but are currently unable to? I generally like to visit sites such as booking.com or certain retail stores online so I know that I have receipts etc.

e) What is your opinion of wireless advertising/mobile marketing? It’s inevitable. It will be the major form of adverts once the rest of the world catches up.

Mobile challenges currently include

Awkwardness of keyboards and screens

Data transfer speeds

Cost

Limited memory and power supplies on devices

Content

Electronic Payment Methods

eCommerce payment methods have excluded many potential users from engaging in eCommerce. This situation is improving but it still needs a lot of improvement. Payment methods include:

Digital credit card payment systems – common, but many consumers do not have a credit card. This prompted the introduction of Debit cards (Visa, Mastercard) in recent years

Digital wallet – The digital wallet was first conceived as a method of storing various forms of electronic money (e-cash), but with little popularity of such e-cash services, the digital wallet has evolved into a service that provides internet users with a convenient way to store and use online shopping information. As up to two thirds of purchases are abandoned before final checkout digital wallet technology individual allows searches on a site to be saved.

Micropayment – for very small payments such as fares. The main issue is how to charge the customer, without incurring credit card fees.

Accumulated balance digital payment systems – like a City Link eTag for toll payments.

Stored value payment systems – enables consumers to make instant online payments based on value stored in a digital account.

Digital cash – not common but one good example is Hong Kong’s Octopus card system, which started as a transit payment system and has grown into a widely used electronic cash system.

Peer-to-peer payment systems – Paypal is the best known. PayPal operates in 190 markets, and it manages over 175 million accounts (70 million active accounts)

Digital checking payment systems – Electronic version of a paper check, including date, payee name, payment amount, and signature. Electronic checks (e-checks), currently being tested by several large banks, are meant for paying bills, transferring funds, or any purpose where a paper check is used today. Paypal calls an eCheque a transaction where payment is withdrawn from a user’s bank account rather from a Paypal credit balance or credit card.

Electronic billing presentment and payment systems – Bpay is a good Australian example.

Further research
Chris Anderson, the editor of Wired Magazine, wrote a book called ‘The Long Tail’. Anderson’s theory of ‘The Long Tail’ has been widely acclaimed, but there has also been recent research which questions it’s veracity. Conduct your own research about ‘The Long Tail’, and state your opinion in favour or against the theory. It is also worth reading about Pareto’s Principle, the 80/20 Rule. How do the two relate to each other?
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