E-Commerce Learning Modules by Dr. Selia Karsten

Module Two: E-Commerce Web Sites


In Chapter One of your textbook, (pages 2-33), you became familiar with two major trends affecting Canadian Business: technology and globalization. As you know from your reading, globalization means an integrated system of production, marketing, finance and management with little regard for borders or distances. Strategic alliances, decentralization, empowerment and customer focus are among the trends affecting business.

These days, an overwhelming number of businesses are re-engineering in order to respond to the call of the Wolrd Wide Web.

Commercial web sites have a variety of formats. Most have a large data base with an online catalogue from which customers can select goods and services. In some cases, the site acts as a broker for others to display wares or services such as an auction format.  A site may be one of many allied businesses collected in a mall-like site. And some sites are linked from portals - sites that bring together a number of customer related services including newsletters and chat rooms, bulletin boards, listserves, personalization options (you select what you want to see in the way of news, weather, e-mail, and search engines, translation programs, for example).

Resources for E-Commerce Web Sites:

E-Commerce technology Links which is maintained by the Institute for eCommerce at Carnegie Mellon University, gives you quite a few links to the "behind-the-scenes" aspects of electronic commercial sites, for example, security issues, data base maintenance, and payment systems. Just scrolling through the list will give you a better appreciation of the many facets of this new way of doing business.

Corporate Communications - a site that speaks to the corporate culture of Dell
Barnes and Noble University - learning online (for free!)
Schwab's Secret Weapon - How a company and a leader evolved in exactly the right way for the coming of the Internet.
Inside Amazon's culture - A closer look at this amazing site and its workers.
E-Bay Revolution - Auction sites are one of the hottest corners of cyberspace right now.

Ten Most popular Sites (FAC Equities)
1. Amazon.com 2. Bluemountainarts 3. eBay 4. Peapod 5. Classifieds2000
6. Ticketmaster 7. ColumbiaHouse 8. ONSALE 9. QVC 10. eToys


Visit each of the following web sites as listed as the ten leading e-commerce sites by the industry consultancy firm,  Digitrends - June 2000:

1. Computers/Supplies - Dell (http://www.dell.com)
2. Personal Interests - Barnes and Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com)
3. Travel/Entertainment - Sabre (http://www.sabre.com)
4. Investments/Banking - Charles Schwab (http://www.schwab.com)
5. Dept Stores/Mall - Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com)
6. Auctions - Ebay (http://www.ebay.com)
7. Toys/Collectibles - eToys (http://www.eToys.com)
8. Major Purchases - Autotrader.com (http://www.autotrader.com)
9. Fashion - Lands' End (http://www.landsend.com)
10. Consumables - Homeruns (http://www.homeruns.com)

a. Choose two of the sites given above and study the organization and scope of the business being conducted there.
b. Using these two examples, write a proposal for an imaginary company.
             1. Tell the CEO of this company  why the company could benefit from having a site constructed
             2. List the advantages of taking this business online.
             3. Give examples from the two sites you have selected.
             4. Present a clear rationale for how effectively this web site would support the company's mission given the current business trends.

Please submit your completed assignment to your instructor.

Teacher's Notes

Learning Outcomes:

learners will be able to:
1) identify and become thoroughly familiar with a number of leading e-commerce sites.
2) determine strategies for developing a business on the web given a particular site format.

Suggestions: To enrich or extend this learning activity, you may want to give the following as additional assignments.

1. Annotate each site. Write a brief paragraph that could be used to market this web site to potential customers. Tell briefly the type of site, what can be found here and why going there could be beneficial.

2. Discover a Canadian web site that is constructed along the same lines as each one of the top ten given above. If you cannot find an equivalent, why do you think this is true? Give a rationale for a developing a Canadian version of this site.

NOTE to the editor:

To give visual impact to this module, use the logo graphic like a button for each of the listed site links. Each graphic should be approximately the same size. They could be arranged in a table format.