E-Commerce is a
massive growth area, were colossal sums of money are being made and spent
every day. This is largely to do with the hype of the Internet and on-line
shopping. The Internet is growing exponentially, and will continue to grow
for some time to come. This, coupled with good advertising, can provide a
solid foundation from which to launch a stake in the Internet and e-commerce
E-commerce is big business. The
fact that people want it is probably the biggest lure for companies to jump
onto the bandwagon, but there are other factors, making e-commerce a good
- Lower transaction costs. If
the site is implemented well, the web can significantly lower order taking
costs and customer service costs after the sale by automated processes.
- Variety for shoppers: It gives
people the opportunity to shop in different ways.
- The ability to build an order
over several days
- The ability to configure
products and see actual prices
- The ability to compare prices
between multiple vendors
- The ability to search large
- Larger catalogues:
On the web, a company can display their entire range. If they were to print
a glossy catalogue to do the same job, it would be too big. E.G. Amazon
sells 3 million books. Imagine trying to fit all their available books into
a paper catalogue. The Web cuts out printing cost and distribution.
- Global availability:
Anyone with an Internet connection, in any part of the world can access
online services, without costing the company a penny, over and above the
marketing costs. This ubiquitous presence is far greater reaching than a
- New business model:
E-commerce allows people to create completely new business models. A mail
order company has high costs for staff and catalogue printing &
distribution. However in e-commerce these costs fall practically to zero.
There are several ways in which
to implement an e-commerce application. Consider the following.
Out of the Box / Server-Based
Out-of-the-box is an ideal that
eliminates, or at least reduces time consuming and complex e-commerce site
building, by providing all of the various functions of an e-commerce
solution from one source. Out-of-the-box is an “instant” low price solution
requiring minimal IT recourses for implementation and operation. It is has a
“Lego” mentality by shielding the user from heavily involved technical
programming and scripting etc, simply by assembling the various software
components into an established framework. This is done using a GUI
interface, where the developer moves the software objects around analogous
to the child with Lego bricks, snapping them into place, and building a
Microsoft’s Commerce Server 2000
provides a comprehensive set of features to let developers quickly build
scalable, user-centric, business-to-consumer and business-to-business
e-commerce sites. Commerce Server 2000 offers robust and easy-to-implement
functionality that makes it the ideal solution for building e-commerce
applications. Its features include the following:
- Commerce Server 2000 gives developers the power to quickly build and
deploy effective e-commerce sites. Developers get a fast start with a choice
of two starter applications that provide comprehensive e-commerce
functionality. - Personalisation, merchandising, catalogue search, customer
service, and business analytics. - Secure user authentication and group
access permissions, purchase order and requisition handling. - Built-in,
online auction capabilities. - Speed up and simplify development efforts
with code samples and in-depth documentation.
- simplify and centralise administrative tasks such as site configuration,
deployment, operations and maintenance, reducing cost of ownership, and
increasing application availability.
Partners – Microsoft in partnership with independent software vendors, ensure
the highest availability and quality possible for solutions, including
credit card validation, taxation, shipping and handling and content
- helps you manage information about millions of users and groups of users.
In addition, it establishes secure authentication of site to ensure users
have access to authorised areas of your site. You also serve users custom
content, such as special pricing or products, based on the user's profile.
- enables one-to-one marketing, determining the most appropriate content
(ads, discounts, up-sells, cross-sells, catalogue data, and more) to provide
to a given user in a given context, based on explicit user preferences.
There are many more features in Commerce Server 2000. For more information,
visit Microsoft’s web site at http://www.microsoft.com/commerceserver/default.asp
The price of this solution is around £6000 with the same being paid again
for each licence required. Licensing is calculated on a per per-CPU basis.
In other words, if the server machine running Commerce 2000 has 4 CPUs, then
expect to pay £24000 for your solution!