E-commerce is the latest way of doing business. E stands for electronics meaning transactions are done through an online mediums. In this report, there will be a discussion on how e-commerce can be helpful to the London School of Science and Technology in growing its business. The institute is an online platform that provides education in various niches. A suitable plan for the same would be proposed that can help the school achieve its aim and objective in the most efficient way.
London School of Science and Technology is a very renowned and prestigious institute based in the United Kingdom. The institute deals in providing quality education to the students for their overall growth and development. The main function of the institute is to cater to the educational need of anyone who has a desire to learn and grow. The institute allows students to take online courses without attending college. This allows the student to learn without the hassle of attending college through the medium of online studying (Chiu.et.al.2014). This is very beneficial for people who are working or cannot attend the college premises for some of the other reasons. The institute offers courses in various fields such as Business, Hospitality, IT, and Computing, to name some.
There are quite some business functions that the London School of Science and Technology need to integrate into their work for their successful journey. The majority of them are:
- Marketing- This is a core function without which any business or institute can survive for long. This is because this will help the London School of Science and Technology to market itself as one of the unique and convenient educational institutes of London, giving it immense publicity that will attract more students towards it.
- Sales- Sales is the ultimate business goal. This is necessary to keep up the functioning of the institute. This business function will be used to attract students from various disciplines to the institute (Turban.et.al.2018). This will promote the business along with getting it the revenue that is desired for its functioning.
- Accounting- This business function of the London School of Science and Technology will keep a note of all the expenses and income received by the business. If the accounts are in favor of the institute, then more courses for the betterment of the students can be started by the college.
- Administration- Day to day working and function of the institute is very important to keep a balance on the overall activities. The administration is the part that will look after the admission and all the other related aspect such as fees, timings, exam schedule, etc. for the institute. This will allow the management to focus on the other very important part of the institute.
- Operations- No business, irrespective of the niche, can function without the proper balance of operations. This business function of the London School of Science and Technology will look after all the planning regarding exams, their fees, course duration, teachers required along with the entire online requirement that the institute would have for conducting it (Andam, 2014). This will be very useful in the planning of resources and their effective utilization.
- Management Information System- As the institute deals with data and information related to students, it has been collected over the years. The data collected needs to be recorded and stored in a manner that can be used for further reference. This is where the management information business function comes into practice. This will keep a record of everything which can be used by the business as and when required.
There are a lot of responsibilities, both regarding technical and non-technical, that the London School of Science and Technology need to face for successful functioning. It includes:
- Integration of recent and new technologies: As the name of the institute is the London School of Science and Technology, which suggests that it deals with courses related to information and technology. This makes it very important for them to keep a note of all the latest happening in the field and make sure to use it in their studies and courses in some way or the other. This will help to make the students believe that the institute is up to date with their courses.
- Social networking: As the institute and its courses are online, they need to have a strong presence in a social medium. They also need to be very active in them. The reason behind this is that students will mostly contact them on social media for all the queries and issues that they are facing (Rutherford.et.al.2016). Also, this will help in the promotion of the institute across the region.
- Cultural and ethical topics: As the London School of Science and Technology is an educational institute, students from various cultures and ethnicity would be part of their course. This makes it very important to keep a hold of all the cultural and ethical topics so that the feelings of anyone are not hurt in any form.
The mission of the London School of Science and Technology is to be a renowned name when it comes to providing reasonable and quality education without any barriers to it. They want to expand the level of education to make every student complete their education successfully.
The major internal stakeholders of the London School of Science and Technology are the management that helps in the running of the institute and the students. The external stakeholders include the government that helps in the running of it and the parents of the students.
These stakeholders play a very crucial role in the achievement of the mission of the business.
- Management- The objective of being recognized as a prime institute is very much in the interest of the management as this will make the institute famous, which is what the management wants.
- Students- Every student wants to be a part of such an institute that provides good education and is famous (Da Costa, 2016). The objective of the institute will help the students in achieving this interest of theirs.
- Government- The main aim of the government is to promote education that helps in the development of the students without much ado. The London School of Science and Technology will help in that fulfillment making the government achieve their interest.
- Parents- Parents being a strong force in deciding the children’s course of action in studies, want them to get admission in a renowned and famous institute (Zhao.et.al.2016). The objective of the London School of Science and Technology will help them in fulfilling that part of their interest quite easily.
The plan of the London School of Science and Technology to open a new food hygiene course can cause a bit of issue among the stakeholders of the institute, such as the government and the management. The objective of the institute is to provide the best studies while maintaining the interest of the stakeholders (Li and Karahanna, 2015). The opening of this new branch without their proper support and health risk can be risky for the institute.
Any stakeholder conflict can be solved by finding a donor who would be ready to support the course financially. This will help to settle the matter with the government as they are not capable of providing sufficient fund for the course. The benefits and advantages of the course should be highlighted in front of the management. This will allow them to know the good points of the course which will encourage them to support the course and help in building the proper classroom with the required security and safety, which are necessary for the course.
Today is a world of the internet. Everything from clothing to mobile to everything necessary is available online. This includes education as well. With the scope of education too high and many constraints around it, e-commerce is very important for institutes like the London School of Science and Technology. Setting up an e-commerce solution for the business can be beneficial as it will allow students from across the globe to enroll in the courses provided by the school. This will also keep track of all the necessary information about each student that the business may require, which will help to maintain a proper record of everything (Lee.et.al.2015). It will be very effective for the London School of Science and Technology as it will help the students to acquire a vast amount of knowledge and information in the best way possible, which is the main motive of the business.
Though there are immense benefits of setting up e-commerce for the business, there are quite some risks associated with the same.
- Change in lifestyles and culture- When an e-commerce system is set up, it is made according to the culture or needs of the business. That takes a lot of time and effort. If there is any change in the same, then the whole system needs to be changed and reformed, which makes it a very risky affair for everyone.
- The cost of designing/implementing e-commerce- Setting up an e-commerce system is not an easy task. It requires a lot of effort and money. Another thing that requires is continuous updating of the website. As the London School of Science and Technology is an educational institute, people expect it to always be in sync with the latest news and information, which is not always possible (Hasson.et.al.2014). This makes it very risky for the business.
- Security- The most common risk associated with an e-commerce system is security. As everything is online, there are huge chances of fraud and leakage of confidential information, which is not good from the business point of view. There are also chances that the competitors may use the information from the website for their purpose, causing the school a lot of harm.
E-commerce is the name of innovation in the current day and age. No matter what size or type of business one is running, e-commerce plays a huge role in almost everything. But their impact on a small-medium business is way more than any other format. Its major impact is on the growth of the business. E-commerce can be helpful for small and medium businesses to grow their business many folds across every corner of Earth. It helps them to gather as much data as possible, which can be utilized by them to prepare plans and policies for the business. But the development of a good e-commerce system can be expensive at times which is not possible for small businesses (Pacher.et.al.2018). They also do not have the proper means to fight the risk that comes with e-commerce making them avoid it most of the time which can hamper the growth of the business.
E-commerce stands a lot of benefits and issues in terms of both the business and the customer. The major advantages include:
- Global market- On the global front, e-commerce is very beneficial for business. It helps the business to grow in less amount of time. It also helps the customer to reach far away from the business while sitting at their place, making it very economical and affordable for all.
- Competition- It helps to gather data and information which can be used to learn how the competitors are doing and make plans accordingly for the growth of the business.
- Legislation- The laws can be used by the business and the customer to protect important or confidential data from being leaked or misused.
- Growth- E-commerce is a great booster in the growth and development of the business. It helps to cover a wide area without much hassle. Customers and society can also gain
The major disadvantages by:
- Global market- As all the major companies are switching to some e-commerce, this plays a huge role in the global market. Too many companies rely on it which decreases its importance until and unless the e-commerce system is too strong.
- Competition- The biggest disadvantage of e-commerce for both businesses and its customer is that too many people are using it for their business. This has increased the chances of risks in the market (Myers.et.al.2017). This has also led to too much competition, making people confused about which method is best and what to use.
- Legislation- A lot of rules and regulations need to be followed by businesses while undergoing an e-commerce system. But many times too many rules make it difficult for businesses or society to use the system to the fullest, which makes it a disadvantage for the customer and the business.
- Growth- E-commerce is known to play a very important role in the growth process of both small and big enterprises. But lack of proper system and maintenance can do more harm to the reputation of the business. This can play a huge effect on the growth of the company leading it to suffer major losses.
- Security and Risks- This is the most common and talked about the disadvantage of e-commerce for businesses and its customer. The reason being everything is done online. This makes the process very risky as there are huge chances of risks (Rodriguez.et.al.2014). Loss of data and leakage of confidential information is also something very common in such businesses making it a risky affair for all.
There is a huge market potential when it comes to e-commerce opportunities. The London School of Science and Technology can gain great benefit by entering into collaboration with companies like Dell, with whom they can join hands and sponsor computers for the students enrolled in the school. As the school focuses on providing quality education, this can be a great means of offering various short-term courses in different domains, which can increase awareness about the school. The library of the institute can easily be used to sell online study material to other students who cannot enroll in the school (Tien.et.al.2017). This will not only increase their student base but will also make the school popular among the non-students of the school.
But a lot of other famous schools and educational institutes of the United Kingdom are following some or most of the above ideas. This has led to a lot of competition in the marketplace. Many of them have tie-ups that sell their t-shirt or institute merchandise giving more visibility to them. They are associating with different institutes for some or the other thing, which is acting like tough competition for the London School of Science and Technology.
There are a lot of marketing plans for the online promotion of the London School of Science and Technology, but the most suitable one is a social platform. Now a day’s, everyone is active in some of other social media. This can work in favor of the school. The courses, duration, teachers involved, etc. can be easily promoted through social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. This will give the institute a great brand name and visibility across the world (Smith.et.al.2014). It is also a very convenient and economical method of promotion as it can reach a large amount of audience in just no time with less money as compared to the other methods. The data received can also be used to attract other potential customers making it the best method of marketing for the school.
The e-marketing plan of social promotion has its ups and downs.
- It can be used easily to promote the current as well future courses offered by the institute.
- The targeted audience is very active on the social platform, making it very easy to reach out to them.
- Not hundred percent sureties that the targeted audience would be reached out to as there are different algorithms attached to each platform.
- The competitors may be more active, which can attract the audience to their page and hence increase their brand visibility as compared to that of the LSST institute (Dongwei, 2016).
There are various options that the London School of Science and Technology can go for when it comes to e-commerce. All this will help them function better and face the competition in a better way. The major features to be included are:
- Strong payment page- This is the area that creates the maximum issues for any e-commerce system. Keeping a check on it is necessary. This can be done by going to a solid and secure payment page that contains all the necessary information but is still easy to use for all.
- Courses page- The most crucial segment of an educational website is the courses that are offered by them. The e-commerce system should make it convenient for the user to search for any course along with the various sub-categories.
- Additional features- Various additional features such as a search form, a Chabot, other news and update, and webmail access are also great must-haves for the smooth functioning of the website.
The London School of Science and Technology can go for either hosting or in-house web services. But looking at the current condition and need, the better option would be to outsource the thing (Wentker.et.al.2014). This is done as a lot of experience is required for the in-house web services. Also, it is more useful if it is the prime source of the transaction, which may not be the current case with the LSST institute.
A huge variety of payment methods are available, which can be used by the London School of Science and Technology, such as credit card, net banking, mobile payment, direct deposit, e-wallet, bank transfer, etc. What the type of payment must justify for the institute is either bank transfer or mobile payment. This is because a student may not have the facility of a credit card with them, making it of no use. Mobile payment or direct deposit will help the student to deposit the money to the respective institute directly without much hassle (Moon.et.al.2017). This is also convenient for the institute as they have a track of all the money along with the account of the student who has deposited it making it easier for further reference.
This choice of online payment is most suitable for the institute as it is most common among the target audience, students. It is also safe and secure as people with valid details and information is present, which can be easily tracked down if required. This is also beneficial for the business as the students can transact any information or course as per their need without too much issue, making it easy for both the school and the students.
To function in the best way, the London School of Science and Technology requires a few important features on its e-commerce website. The major of them include:
- Home Page: It is the first glimpse of the LSST and should be very attractive and user-friendly, making the student visits it again. It should include all the basic tabs along with a search box that will make it easy to navigate through the whole website.
- Security features: This is the most vital part of any e-commerce system, irrespective of the genre. That is the reason LSST should have a strong security connection (Chao, 2018). This can be done with the help of SSL Certificate services. They will help in maintaining solid encryption for the website. Off-site backup is also a very crucial part of the security feature that is a must for LSST as it will maintain a safe data connection.
- Legal requirement: There can be a lot of legal trouble involved in all this. Therefore some set of legal requirements should be set in advance that can prevent the school from many issues. A payment gateway should be maintained in documents so that there is legal proof of everything. Proper documentation of the money and its related aspects, such as refund and cancellation, needs to be mentioned to avoid any legal complications for LSST (Gluzberg and Dierks, 2015). All this, along with the basic legal documents, should be maintained as it helps the business from falling into any trap.
- Shopping basket and payment method: A proper shopping basket along with a secure payment method is very much a necessity for an e-commerce system. A review of the product should be there as it helps people to make better decisions. A user-friendly payment method is required as most of the audience is students. A facility for order tracking is also included, as it will help them track all the details without any complications.
All these features will make the e-commerce system quite convenient for LSST.
When the proposed design is compared to that of the competitors, it is found that it is better on many grounds. The most viable of them are:
- Searchability- The most important factor which gives LSST an advantage over its competitors is how easy is to search things. This is because the user may not know all the things that the system offers, making the search box their main assistance.
- Shopping catalog- E-commerce is the prime factor because of shopping catalogs. It consists of all the courses and facilities provided by LSST, which is not so convenient in the e-commerce system of the competitors (Laudon and Laudon, 2016).
- Accessibility- Another advantage of LSST is that it is easily accessible from across the globe. This gives it good visibility which is very necessary for the services offered by LSST.
There are various methods of payment available for an e-commerce system, such as mobile transfer, micropayments, virtual currencies, recycling exchanges, etc. All these methods are good in some of other ways. But the method most suitable for LSST is the mobile payment method. This is because the students would have access to it easily (Etesse.et.al.2015). Other methods such as credit cards, net banking, and prepaid cards may not be so easily available to the larger target audience.
E-commerce is the need of the hour. It makes business transactions very easy, making it a popular choice for all types of businesses. Institutes such as the London School of Science and Technology need to have it in their system to grow and fulfill their mission of providing good education to all. With proper features and security, the system can add real value to the school, helping it gain popularity and awareness. E-commerce makes all this very convenient and effective for the school. But proper safety and security should be maintained to curb any harm that may arise.