ECOMMERCE PROPOSAL PART I
The goal of The Six Pack Consulting Firm, in accordance with Mr. Eric Clapton, Director
of Ebusiness Strategy for Bluesblaster, Inc. is to propose a strategic plan for revenue generation
via the Internet. The Six Pack intends to implement a business environment on the Web that not
only attracts new customers and retains loyal participation, but also will allow Bluesblaster, Inc.
to sell goods and services online. We will provide the guidelines for hosting a site on the Web
equipped with the advantages/disadvantages of outsourcing, domain name and appropriate
software for financial transactions. The Six Pack Consulting Firm is confident that we can help
Bluesblaster, Inc. with putting into operation a successful business concept that focuses on
promotional sales ideas, informational features and online community components.
BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT ON THE WEB
Pertaining to Ecommerce, there are two ways to approach selling goods on the web. The
first is to take a company and sell strictly over the Internet. The second option is to take a
“brick-and-mortar” business and begin selling merchandise over the web. Small businesses seem
to have somewhat of an advantage in competing over the Internet.
The greatest advantage for small business, like ours, is that as we compete in the brick-and-
mortar world against big-box enemies like Sam Goody and Best Buy, small retailers seem to do
best in the virtual world by focusing on unusual products or aiming to give excellent,
personalized customer service.
Last year consumers spent $20 billion online. A new Forrester Research report released
this week predicts that by 2005, U.S. online retail sales will total $269 billion, or 11% of U.S.
retail sales. Forrester upped this year's estimate 16%, from $38.6 billion to $44.8 billion. The
researcher believes that an additional 7 million households are shopping online this year for a
new total of 35 million. (Sep. 2000 Forrester Research Inc.) This holiday season is predicted to
be the largest online shopping event in history. ZDNet has sited three C’s for shopping online;
convenience, context, and cost. Convenience was the largest reason that people were shopping
online, to avoid the long lines in stores.
The primary way to attract customers to your online store is to offer something that they
are actually going to buy. Many of the failed dot.com companies have been disastrous because
they were selling high-research purchases. Cars, homes, mortgages, and expensive appliances are
purchases that require quite a bit of research. The best way to be successful is to sell items such
as music, books, software, travel, events and other known quantities. Also, shopping online is
very similar to shopping in a catalog. If you offer a catalog, invite your customers to come
online and do there shopping there.
CREATING A SITE ON THE WEB
In order to host a proposed site on the web, first a domain name must be chosen. The
easiest way to do this is by going to www.networksolutions.com. A proposed name may be
entered and if it is not taken already, it can be registered. After a domain name has been chosen,
you must host your site on the web. This can be done in-house, or it can be outsourced to
In-house web hosting is a do it yourself way of outsourcing. You must have the ability
and know how to get your web page from your computer to the Internet. This can be a very time
consuming and frustrating way to host a site. It can also end up being quite expensive because a
lot of trial and error may have to be done.
There are several advantages to outsourcing web hosting. One major advantage is that
whomever you choose as an outsourcer should be a professional. The company should have all
the right tools to make your site more user friendly. This will result in a site that loads faster and
has better graphics. A professional outsourcing firm can also keep you away from the hassles of
using something that is copy written. The only disadvantage to outsourcing is that the company
you choose has control over your company’s information. This information is not in your hands,
so it makes changes harder to complete.
For you to be able to conduct your everyday business on the Web, you will need
software, which will allow you to make financial transactions. This also can be done in-house or
be outsourced. Pandesic offers a good example of such software. The SAP R/3 is a powerful
tool for business processing information. This program allows an order to be routed through the
system and creates billing, shipping and tracking of the transaction as it takes place. The
CyberCash Secure Merchant links the transactions to the credit card companies. This is very
reliable software for financial transactions on the web.
There are several advantages to outsourcing this aspect to an outside company.
The main advantage is that setting up and learning how to use the hardware and software
necessary can be costly and time consuming. The outsourced company has a lot more
experience. The costs are minimal, and it will allow you to spend more time on essential
business. The only disadvantage is the same as mentioned before. Control over this aspect of
your company is not in your hands. Options for design and set up of a lot of the business is lost.
After looking at the above information I would suggest outsourcing you business
to a Web host. The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages for a business just getting started.
As far as software is concerned Pandesic hardware/software would be an ideal choice to conduct
business transactions over the web.
THE ONE STOP NET SHOP
Tired of endlessly searching various web pages for all of your musical needs? Search no
further! Bluesblaster.com will meet all of your online needs. Bluesblaster.com will provide
consumers with information on musical equipment, daily news, reviews, concert schedules and
digital music. Bluesblaster.com will also serve as an Online Community for individuals, groups
or organizations to partake in a website that focuses on their musical interest and encourages
participation, information and contributions from people united by a common passion for the
Online shoppers will have the option to create a personal account. This account will
actively track the users favorite sites, mark specific items of interest, and document online orders
Online reviews of albums and various brands of musical equipment will be easily
accessible to consumers. Reviews will be posted online by various members of the Bluesblaster
staff and by online patrons. Blasterbucks will be rewarded to consumers for admissible music
reviews. Consumers can then use these Blasterbucks toward their next purchase of any good or
service offered on the Bluesblaster web site over $15.
Chat rooms will be set up in relation to different genres of musical taste. Simply choose
your favorite type of music with the click of a button and you will be instantly connected to other
online users with the same interests. Every Thursday evening a different featured artist will be
available online from 8 pm to 9 pm for discussion to answer questions related to their newly
released music and tour information.
Bluesblaster.com will offer musical albums at a lower then average cost. This is possible
because Bluesblaster Inc. can buy these tapes and CD’s wholesale, with little overhead cost.
Powerful search engines allow customers to find their favorite musical equipment online
and read up to date information about their favorite artists. Selected musical songs can be
downloaded for free, in order to preview the album before purchase. Video and sound can be
accessed through Bluesblaster.com with the proper equipment.
The Six Pack Consulting Firm is dedicated to satisfying all of Bluesblaster, Inc. online
ventures by providing adequate solutions to generate revenues on the Web. By implementing
this systematic plan, Bluesblaster would have a fundamental website capable of conducting
transactions, providing substantial musical information, highlights and reviews, incorporating
multimedia interest and providing merchandize for sale while simultaneously improving traffic
and prospering business.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BLUESBLASTER, INC.
The Six Pack Consulting Firm has prepared some recommendations for the Bluesblaster, Inc.
that will be beneficial in hosting a functional website. It is suggested that Bluesblaster approach
selling form a “brick-and-mortar” perspective to give the company an advantage of being a
smaller organization that can offer goods and services in a more personal and customer-oriented
fashion. When assembling and operating the functional website, Bluesblaster should outsource
its functions to a professional organization to save time, money, labor and energy while at the
same time acquiring the best technology available. On the issue of software, the Six Pack
recommends Pandesic software, the SAP R/3 capabilities of maintaining orders both in coming
and out going and also the CyberCash Secure Merchant is beneficial for controlling financial
transactions. The BroadVision One-to-One Enterprise is helpful in generating web development
and provides consumer profiling system, electronic wallet, content management system and
transactions management. The Six Pack also recommends the IBM Websphere Commerce Suite,
Pro Edition to assist with the framework and solutions for merchandizing goods and service with
the advantages of a secure payment processes.
ECOMMERCE PROPOSAL PART II
The Six Pack Consulting Firm in accordance with Mr. Eric Clapton, Director of Ebusiness Strategy,
plans to implement an electric commerce strategy that will not only generate outstanding revenues for the
company but will also expand the array of goods and services that Bluesblaster, Inc offers worldwide.
With the knowledge and expertise of The Six Pack, Bluesblaster Inc. will fully understand what Electric
Data Interchange (EDI) is, its benefits and future and the roles of Value-Added Network (VAN) and EDI
standards such as X12, XML, and OBI.
WHAT IS EDI?
Electronic Data Interchange is defined as the transfer of structured data by agreed
message standards from computer to computer by electronic means. To full understand the
meaning of EDI it is beneficial to break down the definition into smaller, more comprehensive
parts. First, the structured data that is being described is the language that a computer system
itself can easily generate and process messages. The data is formatted strictly for computers,
which implies that it is not legible by humans. Second, trading partners must agree on the data
that is being exchanged, so that is the purpose of message standards. EDI is concerned with
exchanging messages in an open environment, therefore anyone can participate and no one
company can impose its own data standards on other companies. The inter-company exchange
of data will only work if a universally agreed standard structure to the messages is established so
everyone partaking in a particular EDI community must agree. Finally, the electronic means
being described refers to telecommunications. Since the 1980’s this has been the preferred
method for EDI, but this method suffers from a few problems in the areas of timing, cost,
unmanageability and incompatible computer systems. The best solution is to join an EDI service
run by a Value Added Network Service (VANS) supplier.
WHAT IS A VALUE-ADDED NETWORK (VAN)?
A VAN is a third-party network that offers the basic service of transmitting messages
between point A and point B. A third-party network can be used in two distinct ways: (1) an
electronic mailbox or (2) for many of the additional services provided in the TPSP's (third-party
service providers) expanded role of a VAN. The VAN is structured into three main components:
(1) The technical component, which provides message formatting, establish communications
protocol, and determines and maintains line speeds
(2) The mail component, which establish the electronic mailbox in which EDI transactions are
held before they are forwarded to there intended destinations
(3) The link component, which coordinates the transmission of data through the VAN network
VANs offer numerous advantages that telephone connections and point-to-point
communication cannot propose. In a point-to-point network, all computers are linked directly,
typically through dial-up circuits. Here we have an example of a point-to-point network:
The main benefit of VANs is their flexibility. The operators know all local rules, regulations, etc,
and can provide the best service. Basically VANs provide the following features:
A direct communication link to any trading partner
Knowledge of EDI standards and evolving EDI technologies
Economy of scale
Ability to support multiple data format standards
Value-added component -training, software, consulting, ...-
Ability to support varied protocols and access methods
24-hour a day message transmission
Ability to provide tracking and control information
Dial-out services, to connect to companies that do not subscribe to
Here we have an example of EDI messaging environment via a VAN mailbox service:
Value-Added Network- Mailbox
WHAT ARE THE EDI STANDARDS?
The EDI is an interchange between computers of a sequence of standardized messages
taken from a predetermined set of message types. It is the standardization of message formats
using a standard syntax, and the standardization of data elements within the messages that makes
possible the assembling, disassembling, and processing of the messages by computer.
Computers cannot correspond with one another if they are not structured with a standard
language in which all parties involved in the communication can understand. Listed below are a
number of standards used in the exchange of electronic data:
TYPE OF EDI DESCRIPTION
X12 The X12 standards may be used for any
XML XML provides a standard framework to
exchange different types of data, so that the
information be it in a transaction, exchanged
via an Application Program Interface (API),
web automation, database portal, catalog, a
workflow document or message can be
searched, decoded, manipulated, and displayed
consistently and correctly by first
implementing EDI dictionaries and extending
our vocabulary via on-line repositories to
include our business language, rules or objects.
OBI Online Buying on the Internet’s underlying
design relies on the notion that buying
organizations are responsible for the profiles of
those who request goods and services,
accounting procedures, tax status information,
and internal approval processes.
UN/EDIFACT The UN/EDIFACT standards may be used for
any application, domestic or international
HC7 The HL7 standards are adopted as an
alternative for certain healthcare applications,
specifically for transmission of patient records
and of clinical, epidemiological, and regulatory
THE BENEFITS OF EDI
EDI. brings substantial savings and benefits to organizations that implement it. Effective
use of EDI:
Reduces the delays caused by postal paper chains
Avoids the need to re-key data and therefore saves time and reduces errors
Avoids the cost of the creation, recording and storage of paper documents and records
Facilitates shorter lead times and reduced stock holdings, which allow reductions in
working capital requirements (i.e. just-in-time policies).
Provides the opportunity to improve customer service
Provides the opportunity to reduce administrative costs
THE FUTURE OF EDI
The opportunities for EDI in the business world are limitless. EDI has outstanding
advantages over the old fashioned methods of paper transactions, because the electronic
transmission of business information now available can be passed almost immediately between
business partners irrespective of geographical boundaries. Electronic trading not only surpasses
the dilemmas affixed with international communication, but can save companies’ valuable time,
expenses, labor and energy. EDI is becoming more and more an integral part of the business
strategy of companies and is unquestionably changing the way business is done.