CsmartPhone.com’s idea of using the website to sell custom-made cell phones to customers is a viable and feasible business idea. Though many companies producing mobile phones develop products with many features, such as camera, global positioning system, television, video recorder, torch, internet access, etc., not all customers will require all the features to be in their cell phones. Some may require only a few basic features, while others may want to own cell phones with most of the features. For example, some customers may require phones with high processor speeds and large memory, while others may not. The idea will help to meet specific needs of users therefore can be used as a marketing strategy.
With the current improved technology, the use of the internet to communicate and provide mobile phones and services to customers is a great idea. CsmartPhone.com will have a wide customer base as the website will be viewed all over the world. Customers will be using the internet to provide it with their phone specifications, it orders for the manufacture of the phones, and ships them to customers in whichever part of the world they will be in. In this regard, unlike other cell phone manufacturers and dealers that make phones with inbuilt features assuming that customers will accept, the idea will involve users during the design of some features. Users are the driving force of any business and meeting their needs should be the first agenda of any business that wants to prosper. Since many cell phone companies do not make phones that suit individual needs of their users, csmartPhone.com would be very successful if it implements the idea.
The idea will be advantageous to the venture since being an online venture, it will use low capital to start, target a larger population (the whole world), communicate easily and directly to customers enabling it to provide timely user support (Hanson, 1999). This will also be a competitive strategy as many phone manufacturers have not fully integrated their physical businesses with electronic commerce.
The idea will provide clients with pocket-friendly products. Unlike current cell phone companies that make standard cell phones and impose fixed prices to customers, the idea will provide customers with bargaining power through removal of some cell phone features to match the amount of money customers have. The company is also going to utilize middlemen to deliver cell phones to customers. This would help the middlemen to develop positive and long lasting relationship with the customers and thereby with the venture.
Since csmartPhone.com will sell phones with features that are comparable to familiar mobile phones in the industry, such as Nokia, Samsung and iPhone, competition would not be an issue. In fact, since it is coming up with an idea that will enable customers to choose what they want, it would outcompete its competitors.
However, the idea is not without challenges. CsmartPhone.com intends to operate online but many customers are not used to electronic commerce. It will be very difficult for them to accept online virtual transactions since they are used to the normal off-the-shelf shopping. They may not be willing to transact with people they neither see nor know their physical locations. In addition, buyers are used to paying for products they see and carry with them to their homes. Since the idea will require them to wait for some time when the cell phones are made according to their customized requirements, some customers may not have the patience to wait.
Security of data is another issue to both the idea will have to deal with to ensure customers have confidence in it. Currently, hackers work around the clock to compromise online systems and customers will not be willing to provide some of their particulars when security of their data is not guaranteed. Since the venture will be viewed worldwide, customers will be questioning the security of their data and some might not like to transact with the venture unless their security confidence is boosted.
CsmartPhone.com intends to perform most of its transactions online and would utilize various online payment methods with different terms and conditions. It can utilize MasterCard, PayPal, and Money Bookers to transact its payments. MasterCard is a card that is used to make and receive payments online. It links millions of businesses, financial institutions and their members around the world (MasterCard Worldwide 2012). It can be used in many VISA ATM machines to withdraw money, while deposit is done through a wide network of banks available all over the world.
PayPal is an online money transaction system that enables people to make their payments at many websites, purchase securely, send money to many countries around the world, select the currency to transact with and use any of the official languages in the world while performing their transactions (PayPal 2012). People can transfer money from their PayPal accounts to MasterCard and vice versa.
Money Bookers enables people to send and receive money whenever they are through the internet. It processes credit cards for clients and provides them with many options to make their payments (Skrill 2002). It is also used to make payments by individuals and businesses online.
There are various security problems the e-commerce business idea will face. With the current improvement in technology, hackers work around the clock to compromise online systems. Hacking will therefore be a major security problem for the organization. Hackers will continually try to compromise their system in order to access their critical information which can negatively affect the business if shown to competitors. This can be countered by developing and periodically reviewing system security policies to ensure their system is safe.
Since communication and transactions will be taking place over the internet, the business will be vulnerable to eavesdropping, interception, and malicious software. Eavesdropping is a situation where an intruder “listens” to information being sent over a communication network to know its contents, but the information reaches the intended recipient without alteration (Tanenbaum 2003). Interception is where information sent does not reach the intended recipient but is blocked by an intruder. It can be countered by encrypting information before sending and utilizing applications that provide acknowledgements when data reach the intended destinations. Malicious software which includes viruses, Trojans and worms, whose damages range from simple duplication to permanent deletion of files, can be countered by using up-to-date antispyware applications.
E-commerce Implementation Strategy
Since the business is feasible, it will undergo planning, design, implementation, and operations stages to operate successfully.
This will involve gathering necessary resources, including personnel, finance, computers and programs. Personnel required include management, web developers, application developers, network administrators, database administrators, network security professionals and marketers. The planning process also involves developing of the project schedule and setting targets.
The design stage will involve transferring the ideas in a manner understandable by technicians. It involves identification of all aspects and components of the project and their interrelationship with each other.
This will involve coding, setting up networks, and marketing the idea to make consumers know about the idea and gain their confidence. It also involves taking the developed system to users to know whether it meets their requirements or not. In case it does not, it is taken back to the design stage to be designed according to expectations of the users. In case it meets users’ requirements, it is tested if it performs as required.
This will involve making use of the idea and getting returns. It will also involve maintenance.