E-commerce incorporates the processes of buying and selling products and services and transfer of funds or information through electronic especially by use of networks (Eisingerich & Kretschmer, 2008). In planning for electronic commerce initiatives one must identify and set specific business objectives and also link these objectives to business strategies. In doing so one must consider the strategic objective of the initiative, the capacity and the availability of resources to undertake the project, and measure benefits and costs. This enables an effective and efficient implementation of an electronic commerce initiative (Laudon, & Traver, 2014).
It emerges that many people undertake electronic commerce business for multifaceted reasons and different business have different objectives. Therefore, it is upon the business plan initiator to identify the specific objectives of one’s business in planning for an electronic commerce (Laudon, & Traver, 2014). Some of the objectives may include boosting the sales volume in the market, open and discover new markets, satisfy and maintain customers demand, acquiring new buyers and customers, maintaining good business relationship with existing clients and engaging effective and performance oriented employees. The objectives to utilize depends on the size of the company (Laudon, & Traver, 2014)
Linking Objectives to strategies
There are various strategies that a business can incorporate in planning for electronic commerce initiatives. For instance, upward stream and downward stream strategies. Downstream strategies boost business value while upstream strategies enable price reduction and creation of value through suppliers and freight and shipping services. The business can also use the web as a marketing channel, as an aid to linking business strategies and maintaining a competitive edge in the market (Fazlollahi, 2002).
Good planning of electronic commerce provides multifaceted opportunities for ones business and one can as a result, engage in various business activities. For instance, one can engage in upgrading brands, empowering existing marketing patterns, selling goods and service, undertaking advertisement services, acquire good listening skills of customer needs, bettering after sale services and support to clients, buy goods and services, ensure efficient supply chains, undertake auctions services and develop virtual communications and website terminals(Qin Z, et al,2014).
In planning electronic commerce initiatives it is vital to come up with an evaluation plan that can help one in measuring performance of the electronic commerce initiatives. The approach to be used must enable one to measure tangible and intangible benefits. This is because some benefits are tangible while others are intangible. For instance, one can measure the exact amount or level of increases of business sales or the exact amount costs have reduced. Other benefits are intangible and can be hard to measure for instance, evaluating the exact level of customer satisfaction. For instance, in regards to intangible benefits, one can evaluate the number of customers who after initial buy return to the business and buy again (Fazlollahi, 2002).
There are companies that create websites to help them in branding their commodities. Such companies must come up with an evaluation strategy to gauge the brand awareness in the market. For instance, they can make use assessments and opinion polls, as accurate evaluation methods. There are other companies that buy and sell products and services online. Such companies can measure electronic commerce initiatives through sales levels in form of units and also in terms of dollars. Making use of marketing officers is also vital and effective in measuring effectiveness of electronic commerce initiatives because such officers can help the business arrange and evaluate the goals and objectives of electronic commerce initiatives (Fazlollahi, 2002).
Administration of expenses
Good planning and administration of costs in one’s business is vital. One must therefore, evaluate various costs for instance; the entire cost of ownership, the cost of managing change, prospective costs and websites costs. Planning these costs before implementation stage is very vital to enable effective running of electronic commercial initiatives (Qin Z, et al, 2014).
Change management and implementation
Change management encompasses dealing with changes in a good manner to avoid system failure. To successfully manage change one must follow various steps for instance, define change management performances and processes, review change requests, develop good implementation program, closely monitor the implementation, evaluate and monitor the implemented changes and make changes and modification of necessary changes (Fazlollahi, 2002).
Costs versus benefits
Comparison of costs and benefits is of paramount importance. This is because ones the business begins it will; at one point in time make capital investments and capital expenditures. Different companies use of different calculations methods of calculating costs and benefits. Regardless of the mode used if the benefits to be derived seem to exceed the costs to be incurred by a satisfactory margin the investment is worth undertaking (Laudon, & Traver, 2014).
Return on investments
There are various method of accounting for returns on investments for instance the pay back method, the net present value method and internal rate of return. These methods help measure the income that can be realized through certain investment especially at a given future date. These evaluation techniques are necessary especially for companies and businesses that approve electronic commercial initiatives because of fear of being outsmarted by competitors. As a result of the fear, these companies and business may invest large amounts of funds in certain investment whose eventual gain is little margins of profit or sometimes loss (Laudon, & Traver, 2014).
Eisingerich, A.B, & Kretschmer T (2008) In E Commerce more is more: Harvard Business Review
Fazlollahi B (2002) Strategies for E Commerce Success: Hershey: IRM Press
Laudon, K. & Traver. C (2014) E Commerce: Business Technology society: Boston: Pearson Education Publishers
Qin Z, LI, S., Chang Y & Li F (2014) E Commerce Strategy: Berlin: Springer Berlin: Heidelberg publishers