Consolidation of Online Shopping: Technology Solutions and Recommendations

3818 words (15 pages) Business Assignment

26th Feb 2020 Business Assignment Reference this

Tags: Business AssignmentsBusinessReportArtificial Intelligence

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Problem Statement

Designer Clothes and Accessories for Less is a company that sells designer merchandise for half the cost. It is a small brick-and-mortar company that specializes in designer clothing, shoes, and handbags. Currently, the company has two full-time employees and three part-time employees. The company right now has a basic website and only sells its merchandise from the store. They cannot reach an array of customers because right now they do not have the technology to do so. Their goal is to increase sales and make shopping on-line easy, so they are looking to expand their business online where customers can shop with ease and at their leisure. The business owner knows he needs to bring his company into the future where shopping online is a way to increase customers and increase profits. The problem the company is having it cannot reach many customers because they do not have the technology to do so. The company is looking to grow, and it also wants to focus more on their customers by enhancing their online presence and be able to offer the online purchasing. They are looking for a technology that is going to meet all of the company’s needs. The technology will have to be able to integrate online shopping, manage the inventory, shipping of items to customers, provide order status to customers, and online payment processing. The technology will need to be able to facilitate internally and externally with the staff and customers. It must also be able to manage the current brick-and-mortar company to process sales, payments, inventory, and customer contact information. The company is struggling with the managing of customer information and has no way of helping them make any informed decisions in their business.

Two Technologies

Mobile computing and mobile commerce is one technology that is available to consider to be used. It will allow wireless transmission of voice, data, and video without having a physical link. Buying and selling of goods and services through wireless handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets were plugging in are not required. Intelligent systems provide a connection and remote manageability allowing retailers to focus on giving customers old and new positive experience when they access that website to shop.

Business Requirements

Objectives

The objective of the project is the consolidation of online shopping, management, the technology will need to take care of all inventory and shipping, providing order status to customers, have an online payment processing, and most of all make shopping online for customers easy. Managing customer contact, providing reporting, and being able to use the new technology to control the brick-and-mortar processes (sales, payments, inventory, and customer contact information).

Project Description

The company wants the entire physical goal starting from when the customer places their order until the order is physically delivered to them to be all handled online. Inventory and accounting must be able to be accessible online to be addressed anytime. There should be a live listing of all items, listing of everything that is available on the portal with all specifications site with all stipulation along with their stock levels. It must rise online with the measure getting updated with every sale and every item added to the stock. Customers being able to shop online will help the company to increase the revenue and by doing this, it will give the company (Designer Clothes and Accessories for Less) a better chance of surviving. The store owner will need to implement the technology he will need to make all this happen. If the technology is not used to increase his profits to give his store a fighting chance, it will not survive, because the completions it too fierce.

Technology Requirements

Specifications of the project are as follows

  • Complete listing of all inventory and what has sold. Must keep updating stock as it is sold and update when stock is replenished.
  • Update the client’s preferences and choice based upon the surfing done by them on the site.
  • Must keep track of any expected out of stock merchandise and merchandise that is not selling.
  • Take care of all billing statements.
  • Should provide accurate customer feedback and provide customers up to date notices on their order.
These technologies should also be considered because of their flexibility to the company and the customer. Everything should be easy to use and access whether at the store or on the go.

Competitors and Technology

Mobile Computing and Mobile Commerce

Nordstrom Rack is a fashion retailer based in the United States which is owned by Nordstrom and has both brick-and-mortar stores and an e-commerce website. Nordstrom Rack offers brand name clothing and accessories for worm, men, and kids at a significant discount to consumers across the United States. The internet is Nordstrom’s fastest growing channel and with $1.5 billion cash on hand it is spending a lot to support its growth.  It’s also testing a local same-day delivery service for a possible broader rollout, and it’s expanding its merchandise assortment online to give customers more selection. “If you’re listening to customers, they’re telling you that their expectations around how they want to shop are evolving,” Jamie Nordstrom, who oversees the company’s website as president of its direct division, said in a recent interview at his corporate offices. “Many customers today don’t have several hours to shop like maybe previous generations did,” he said. “They’re looking to be efficient, and they’re looking for help.”

Business Intelligence

Technology that is used to gather, store, access, and analyze data is all part of business intelligence. There is also artificial intelligence which can make a computer, a computer-controlled robot, or software that think inelegantly like a human. According to kohls.com (2018,Apr 17)  “Kohl’s technology investments support to focus on innovation and setting the path for long term growth in an ever-evolving retail world. The cloud, artificial intelligence, automation, and mobile are four critical components that Kohl’s is using. Both artificial intelligence and artificial intelligence is helping Kohl’s work smarter, faster, and more efficiently while innovating how we interact with customers and do our jobs. Just as we all use GPS to navigate from place to place Kohl’s is using artificial intelligence across their networks trying to establish a simple engaging experience for customers and employees”.

Technology Benefit

Nordstrom Rack is benefiting from mobile computing and mobile commerce. They can reach more customers and customers can shop online with ease. Since using mobile computing their sales have increased because customers can go shopping right from their cell phones if they want to. Designer Clothing and Accessories for Less can benefit from mobile computing and mobile commerce because it can make shopping online for customers easier and more convent. They will be able to shop online and not have to go to the store if they do not feel like doing so. They can shop online in the convince of their home, on their cell phone anytime or anywhere they chose.

Technology Solutions

Designer Clothes and Accessories for Less would like help in determining what technology would be beneficial to the company. They want to integrate online shopping, process payments, keep track of inventory and customer contacts. They want to be able to handle all the information; that their customers and staff need. The new technology must manage the brick-and-mortar process. Mobile commerce can provide easy store access that can attract new customers, create new marketing strategies that can help sales and grow the market. Certain Apps play a similar role in accelerating the use of mobile for the work environment making decisions no matter where they may be at the time, Tasks and any meeting that need to be addressed can be done anywhere. The business owner will be able to access customer information, real time operational reports from the system, the owner will have all key performance indicators to be able to monitor inventory levels, purchases, and the availability of stock will all be at his fingertips. Since mobile computing is considered human computer interaction, the business owner will be able to access any information from the business as needed, like online sales, whether it be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Mobile computing will involve mobile communication, mobile hardware, and mobile software. Communication issues will include ad hoc networks and infrastructure networks and communication properties, protocols. Data formats, and concrete technologies. The equipment will consist of mobile devices and include device components. When it comes to showing the business owner what technology is available and being that this is all new to the owner I suggest going over everything step by step, so it will be understood. This will be extremely beneficial to the business owner to ensure that the business is successful.

Technology One

Mobile Computing

One suggestion is mobile computing because mobile computing is considered human computer interaction the business owner can access anything he needs when it comes to the business like online sales, weekly or monthly reports, and how products inventory is doing. Mobile computing will involve mobile communication, mobile hardware, and mobile software. Communication issues will include ad hoc networks and infrastructure networks and communication properties, protocols, data formats, and concrete technologies. Equipment will consist of mobile devices and can also include device components. The advantages of mobile computing are the increase in productivity because mobile devises can be used out in the field, it reduces time and cost. Mobile devices can be used for entertainment purposes, presentations, and is also portable which is a significant advantage because you are not restricted to just one location to do your job, email, etc. The disadvantages include the quality of connectivity, this can make your internet access limited, you most likely won’t be able to have the access you need to conduct your business the way you need to. There are also security concerns like mobile VPN are considered unsafe way to connect to the internet, and when it comes to syncing devices this too lead to security concerns. The power consumption, because of batteries used in these devices they will not last a long time and if you are out in the field there will be no power source to plug into.

Technology Two

Business Intelligence

The next technology to be considered is business intelligence. Business intelligence can leverage software and services that can transform data into actionable information which in turn informs an organization the strategic and tactical business decision. Business intelligence tools can analyze data sets, present analytical finding in reports, summaries dashboards, graphs, charts, and maps that can provide users with detailed intelligence about the state of your business. Business intelligence is used for business growth and has a competitive advantage. Technology analyst Gartner described Business Intelligence as including “the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance.”  Business intelligence can power up productivity by doing this it can bring new levels of organization and prioritization to everyone’s work. Business intelligence can tighten up data accuracy and compliance A recent article on Forbes.com identified some of the most complex elements of implementing business intelligence as discovering precisely where your data resides, deciding what is important, and who should have access to it. The article states: “Without addressing those issues, the business is at risk through poor decision making based on inaccurate data and from increasingly strong data compliance regulations.” Disadvantages to business intelligence include the cost. The cost of business intelligence cost can be high, for example: maintenance cost, software, hardware, and personal cost to mention a few. Negash cites “maintenance cost for business intelligence software as typically running at 15% of the purchase cost”.

Technology Solution

Recommendations

I am recommending mobile computing and mobile commerce for Designer Clothing and Accessories for Less. Mobile computer will benefit the company, all the billing and account statements can be handled online which will make it much easier for the business owner. Customers’ orders will be accurate and up to date as well as their inventory. Each of the items sold will automatically be updated in the system and when stock is low it will alert the business owner of what needs to be ordered, what item are out of stock, and what merchandise is not selling. Customers will have complete of their order from the time of purchase until it is delivered to their door. Customers can either do a return online or bring it to the store for a return.

Overall Benefit

Overall benefit recommended to the business owner is mobile computing and mobile commerce. Mobile commerce provides easy store access, attracts new customer, creates a new marketing channel, it helps with traditional retail sales and the growing market. By creating a new marketing channel, their customer count will increase because of offering online shopping, this will also improve their sales greatly. Sometimes customers want the choice of conveniently shopping online at home and having the choice of not going to the store. Mobile computing and mobile commerce would be a great choice for the business owner of Designer Clothes and Accessories for Less. The business owner will be able to access anything that is needed like, his inventory, the sales for the day, and the number of customers shopping online. With Designer Clothes and Accessories for Less moving online it will enhance their future growth. Their customer numbers will increase because of the availability to shop online. The company can have a more extensive inventory, and more of a selection of items they can offer their customers.

Basic Security Considerations

Security Features

According to Moskowitz, Robert (2014, Dec 15) New Mobility Partnerships said “security features need to be in place in order for your business to be successful and to make sure your business is protected from both internal and external theft”. Below is a list according to Moskowitz, Robert (2014, Dec 15) New Mobility Partnerships “Encryption: Mobile devices that do store sensitive data can be protected by means of encryption systems. Automatic encryption/decryption systems exist but are less secure than systems which require the user to enter a password at the beginning of every session. Both Android and Apple iOS devices can be set up to utilize encryption capabilities”. “External Identification: End users should label their mobile devices with their name and telephone contact information so lost devices can be returned to them, even after their battery has gone dead”. “Limiting Data Storage: One of the best ways to prevent the compromise or loss of sensitive data is not to store it on a mobile device. Such data can be stored in the cloud or accessed from a proprietary server. Naturally, means of access must be thoroughly secured, or there is no advantage to be gained from keeping sensitive data off a mobile device”. “Lost Device Locator and Data Eraser Systems: Depending on the mobile device and its operating systems, there are various technologies that enable end users to locate a lost device (even if it's just between the couch cushions). Failing that, there are ways to remotely erase sensitive data. Encourage end users to enroll their devices in a good system, and to learn how to use it”. “Passwords and Timeouts: End users should set a password and a relatively brief timer to shut down and lock their mobile devices when left idle for even a few minutes. Passwords and timeouts prevent—or at least delay—unauthorized users from gaining access to sensitive data not only on lost or stolen devices, but also on devices left unattended in homes and offices”. “Trusted Sources: Mobile devices can add software from a variety of sources, but end users should rely only on trusted sources, such as the Apple iTunes Store, Google Play, or the Amazon App Store for Android. Other sources are less likely to thoroughly search for and prevent software contaminated by viruses or other malware”. “Updates: Hackers and defensive software are engaged in running battles for superiority, so any delay in updating operating systems and/or security systems leaves mobile devices particularly vulnerable. Systems should be set to check automatically for updates, and users should get in the habit of performing manual updates at regular intervals”. “While it may seem like no data is safe in this technological age, users can greatly decrease the likelihood of a security breach on their devices by adhering to these mobile computing security guidelines”.  Eye scan and fingerprint scanning can also be added to the list for protection.

Third-Party Vendors

When it comes to third-party vendors, the business owner should manage the selection process, understand vendor contracts, monitor vendors performance, continue in house monitoring, and use vendor non-disclosure agreements. The company the business owner decides to go with should do regular backups, internal security updates, and regular back ground checks on employees who will have access to client’s data. It will be imperative to catch problems early on instead of later when it might be too late.

Internal Safeguards

Internal safeguards should be put in place in your business to guard against loss or misuse of company data. If proper financial and operational controls are not in place, both employees and owners can manipulate the accounting system to benefit them. This can significantly impact the company. You must recognize and improve weakness by settling the tone at the top starting with the management because employees most often will follow the manner of administration. Assign the same duties to different people so that things can be cross-referenced. The owner should scrutinize everything from bank statements to orders. The business owner must protect his company from fraud so a password policy should be put in place and passwords should be changed every  60 to 90 days.

References

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