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  1. Format of session • E-Commerce Site creation tools • start of discussion of how to establish an E-Commerce prototype – a shop front end • Example tools available • You need to make a choice • Summary ©Staffordshire University

  2. Setting up a <something>site • I often get asked how to do this by businesses; the media etc • Convert a website into an E-Commerce site • So we need to be clear about what this means • What to use etc • Spectrum from template led (low £) to bespoke (high £) • Build an E-Commerce site • So we need to be clear about what this means • B to C – virtual shop • You have seen what I use to gather these requirements earlier in the module ©Staffordshire University

  3. Before you start • Review the important technologies and standards which need to be considered a pre-requisite to developing e-commerce sites • Understanding the options available for the architecture of a site - review • Understand why this is important • as an entrepreneur or e-business co-coordinator within a firm it is important to take ownership of the above • Make an informed choice • Future proof as best as possible • Get value for money • Design the site first with a view to either passing it over to a 3rd party or doing it yourself – this the assignment ©Staffordshire University

  4. B to C or B to B site creation • E-Commerce Site creation - start of discussion of how to establish a shop front • Shop front model awareness • An understanding of the development options you have in order of difficulty • Bespoke development e.g. Visual Studio ASP.Net;Coldfusion;Dreamweaver;PHP;JSP etc • Instant mix package e.g.Actinic, Mal’s E-Commerce • Simple hoster service provided by firms like Freecom • User allowed to update site in an easy manner ©Staffordshire University

  5. Which path to take? • the problem? - what criteria can you use to decide which path to follow • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of the options I have mentioned? • skill set; time; budget; customisation;modification; brand - there are lots more to come up with • Let’s have a look at each option in a bit more detail…….. ©Staffordshire University

  6. Options - what are they? • Decisions to make before the project starts! Do you…... • Go In-house - grow your own team without any help? • Go In-house with some help from an organisation like the University or a internet services firm? • Link a shopping cart package to your existing web pages? ©Staffordshire University

  7. Get some else to do the work • Outsource - internet services firm - hire a 3rd party – not an option for the assignment! • Involves a cost (could be substantial) • Usually bespoke and integration in other systems • Local firms specialise in this type of work Staffordshire examples: • Newebia • Limelight ©Staffordshire University

  8. DIY - Simplest • Go for the simplest solution and use one of the hosting services like 123.reg? • May be use an off the shelf solution to begin (usually involves the use of standard templates to choose from) and then replace it with a design of your own when appropriate • You build up the skill set • Gain experience ©Staffordshire University

  9. Options - Site building by numbers! • There are a number of free service providers providing help on setting up an E-Commerce site • Example Tripod.com - and apart from wizards to set up a web site, you can E-enable it as well • For those who have chosen a B to B scenario then this site will interest you Alibaba ©Staffordshire University

  10. Options - Site building by numbers! • Using any of these services is certainly easy and you need very little technical knowledge • The free simple website offerings are easy (although basic) • But remember - it would helpful before using any of these tools to have some idea of what the site is trying to do - strategy! ©Staffordshire University

  11. Options - Site building by numbers! • Without doubt setting up shop has never been easier or cheaper • Inexpensive off the shelf on-line stores can be provided by a number of vendors including British Telecom • Back to what we discussed two weeks ago - depends on what your strategy is • you can have a website for £25 set up which may then account for 25% of your business! ©Staffordshire University

  12. Options - Site building by numbers! • So one option is to use an off the shelf solution to begin with • (usually involves the use of standard templates to choose from) • Yahoo! • then replace it with a design of your own when appropriate • Using a more sophisticated tool • Or developing bespoke ©Staffordshire University

  13. DIY - Part involvement • Go for the template solution and use one of the hosting services • Examples • freecom.net ; Examples Tripod ; E-bay shop or Google Sites • In the tutorial review the services offered by this firm • usually involves the use of standard templates to choose from and maintain • Does involve a cost • I’ve used this approach in the past as an “off the shelf” solution to get a user involved • Suits those with little technical skill • Can replace using a different approach when experience of e-commerce has been acquired ©Staffordshire University

  14. DIY! A bit more complicated • What skills are needed? • Web page building skills from the Simple to begin with using anything e.g. Word or one of the templates like Google Sites • Use of open source (free) software for the Shopping bit • Mal’s E-Commerce (JCW’s favourite) • Let’s examine a practical example • Staffordshire University prototype shop – see link • Suits those who are prepared to spend the time get hands dirty and prepared to work at it…I must stress this ©Staffordshire University

  15. DIY - package options • These are the well known shop cart technology packages on the market • Not free but low cost – have a trial period and so could be used for the assignment • Actinic • ecBuilder Pro • Clickcart Pro • All the above are rich in functionality/advice • Often sneered at by “programmers” but the ubiquity of the packages says something about the success of these packages ©Staffordshire University

  16. Grow your own staff/CPD skills • Given the right conditions it may be advantageous for a company to develop the e-commerce project in-house • Quite expensive in my experience but….. • it is a question of risk and looking long term • It demands an infrastructure of hardware and suitable software • Skill set of staff needs to be considered • Example skill set to develop • LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) • Visual Studio.net/SQL Server/IIS ©Staffordshire University

  17. Summary • E-Commerce tooling up is influenced by many aspects • Size of firm • Budget • Expertise • Willingness to get involved • Costs and return on investment (ROI) vary • A B to C firm is looking for minimum outlay for maximum return ©Staffordshire University

  18. Summary • How much to spend? • Is the low cost option the best solution – from my experience, not necessarily • So, the conclusion could be that if you want to test the water, then a cheap solution may be good but if the conditions demand something much bigger from the off, then start up costs are much higher ©Staffordshire University

  19. Summary • A firm has a number of aspects to consider before making a choice about setting up an E-Shop • We have reviewed them and these can help you in the assignment which is a design but include a simple set of prototype pages • The aim is to develop a design document which include a mock up of the shop pages • A tool can be used for this purpose • This document would then be used to develop from • This is the assignment for this module ©Staffordshire University