Assessing the impact of E-commerce on Business growth of Small and Medium Size Enterprises
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1.1 Background to the Study
With the advancement of Information Technology, today in the Global era customers require higher and better services which in turn saves their time and convenience (Kotler 2006). The competitive environment in the marketplace also imposes the need to not only know the customer but understand the customer needs and wants or to generate the kind of services that become their desired wants. Today businesses moved their focus from products and sales to customer-oriented marketing (Lin 2003).
It is important for businesses to design their action plan in a way that improves customer services by offering them what will satisfy their needs and wants. Today, the term customer service emerges as a strong competitive weapon for companies to gain a competitive edge and also for their survival motive (Hanson 2000). So with all this importance of customer service, it is also important for businesses to focus on service quality (Eppinette & Inman 1997).
Every management strives to not only provide but guarantee the sustainability of the quality of services offered to its customers. The different management practices adopted will determine to great extent the kind of needs expressed by the customers.
To understand the customer is a very important method of marketing and good service marketing headed towards profitability. E-commerce is purported to affect the ways in which organization are managed especially with the aim to reach customer satisfaction and improve performance, we will be investigating this experience in Small and Medium Enterprises.
Amongst other several factors affecting management service quality and service marketing such as communication, responsiveness and accuracy of information will be studied.
Advanced studies in the field of Electronic Commerce are becoming attractive with the increasing development of information technology. So now companies can better take care of their customers by offering better solutions that they have never before (Wigand 1997). There are different definitions of E-commerce. According to handling through the internet-based technology.
E-commerce from a service perspective is a tool that adheres responsibly according to the desires of the Government, consumers, firms, institutions and management that fastens the speed of service delivery via the internet resulting to improved customer service. And most important it reduces the cost of the service and makes it more convenient for the customers (Turban et al. 2004).
According to Lin (2003), it includes information exchange about the products and services and the users of the internet for electronic communications. It also includes business transactions for ordering and payment over the internet.
E-commerce brings enormous advantages for customers and suppliers. Benefits for suppliers include low cost, efficiency, 24-hours service, extended market covering, influence customer purchases, adjustments to market requirement and improved customer services. Its benefits towards customers include streamlined process, convenience, low procurement costs, instant private shopping and transactions etc. (Kotler 2003).
Turban et al. (2004) also enlist several E-commerce benefits to business organizations and customers. For a business organization it first leads to the reduction of cost then customization, extended hours, supply chain management lower organization cost, improved customer relations, efficient procurement and rapid time to market.
Customer benefits include cheaper products and services, availability of information, fast delivery auctions participation fewer hassles. Since 2000 there is an immense growth of internet technology users because it is quick and saves time and is convenient as well.
Service Management and marketing are continuously growing drastically in emerging and developing countries constantly day by day. An increasing trend of the service industry is the reason of growing this field in those countries. And today most of the companies are becoming more and more service-oriented (Lovelock & Witz 20007).
Companies are not only offering the goods but the services that these goods are generating and these companies started to associate them as service companies (Edvardsson & Echeverri 2002). Services are the economic activities that are offered by the businesses of its customers which are performed in real-time that satisfy customer’s desire and expectation (Lovelock & Witz 2007).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Not only is the idea of shopping from a supermarket new, but the idea of e-commerce is also equally new; however, with the advancement of new and android technologies, information is more easily circulated through the internet medium than any other. One does not need to be glued to the television or radio or even carry a newspaper around to be informed these days, information floods one from diverse sources right in the palm device.
The usage of e-commerce by supermarkets will not only popularize the idea of a supermarket but increase sales of particular products through such media. The good news here is that the distance that clients are forced to cover to access the different products or at least know of their existence is cut off, home delivery is facilitated and business growth is ensured.
This research seeks to establish how Small and Medium Size Enterprise has been and can used E-commerce to increase sale and ensure business growth. Seemingly very few SMEs in Buea have sufficiently adopted this latest technology in the daily business activities.
1.3 Research Questions
- What is the impact of E-commerce on the Service Quality of Small and Medium Size Enterprise?
- How does the use of E-commerce contribute to employee management in Small and Medium Size Enterprises?
- How does E-commerce contribute to the ways in which clients are managed?
- What difficulties do SMEs fall in adopting E-commerce?
The main objective of this study is to assess the Impact of E-commerce on the Business Growth of Small and Medium Size Enterprises and hence the benefit to other Supermarkets in the Buea District.
1.3.2 Specific Objectives
The main objective here is to find out how E-commerce has affected the way Small and Medium Size Enterprises manages their service quality and marketing.