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Website Critical Review, Article Critique Example

Pages: 1

Words: 1533

Article Critique

Evaluation of site

Scope:

Currys being a leading UK retail outlet for the supply of electrical appliances and goods has a nationwide chain of stores throughout the UK. The website has been designed to support these stores with the option of providing the customer to purchase online with a free delivery option. Equally, the site facilitates a locator of the nearest store where you can pick the goods up. The site is extremely comprehensive, easy to navigate around and has a pleasing screen design. Currys is an electrical retailer and part of the Dixon Group of companies. The firm has 295 superstore and some 73 retail high street outlets. The firm has a modern outlook in terms of e-commerce but is highly questionable whether this fully aligns with the organizational strategic objectives.  Greater emphasis is placed upon the stores as opposed to the e-commerce site as a marketing and sales driver of the business. (Currys, 2013)

Usefulness:

The site is extremely useful in terms of the ability to browse and navigate around the site. The site portrays good use of scrolling banners and drop down menus. This facilitates ease of navigation over the site. The drop down menus facilitates further decomposition to explore a range of options within a specific subject area. The visual aids provide a brief synopsis of each product before expanding and gaining full information on a specific product.

Authority:

An authority site refers to a reliable site that has trustworthy content. The site is feature rich in terms of the level and quality of content supported. The Curry site places a high emphasis on the quality of content and it does not offer a great deal of links or feeds to other sites. It is intended that most of the information you need to know is available from the site content.

 

Reliability:

Reliability essentially covers five main aspects: (1) The concept of validity which identiofies the authors of the website and the supply of contact information with clear links to the home page (2) Currency which illustrates how frequently the site is updated (3) Content which examines how feature rich the site is in terms of the level, depth and detail of content on the site (4) The purpose of the site e.g marketing focus.

 

Website and strategic approach

The site appears to be in much more of a supporting role to the stores.  One of the main strategy concerns for Currys is the UK being out of the single currency. This creates differences in its pricing models and distinctions between the UK and its operations in Europe. This means the website is purely focused upon the UK domestic market, thereby creating a lack of coordination and cohesion in the group. The prime objective of the site is to provide a marketing outlet for the products located at their wide distribution of stores in the UK. It acts as a vehicle for customers to browse for the items they are looking for and then have the option of purchasing online or inspecting the product in the store before buying.  The website facilitates being able to obtain more technical specifications of the product and compare these with similar products. Computers and Cameras being good examples for this purpose.

Other problems relate to that of Currys being a business intermediary. Most people prefer to buy from source. Hence if I was looking to purchase a Dell computer I am most likely going to visit the Dell website first. In some ways this renders the Currys website as being ineffective. The organizational strategy does seem to be more focused upon store development, merely using the website as a support tool. This as opposed to spearheading sales and marketing initiatives. This does indicate a lack of alignment between Currys strategic objectives and the e-commerce initiatives in the company. (Dixons retail, 2012)

 

Identification of business models

There are clear identification of business models being employed on this site other than Financial models that provide for varying payment options.  These relate to (1) Buy Now, Pay later scheme (2) Infinity Technology for life proving upgraded maintenance plan and ability to purchase a new model every two years with 25% trade in on the old equipment(3) Smartplans that relate to business leasing.  The Dixons Retail business model is relatively superimposed on its subsidiary companies, as illustrated in Fig 1 below.

Figure 1: Dixons UK retail business model

Figure 1: Dixons UK retail business model – Source: http://www.dixonsretail.com/dixons/en/aboutus/businessmodel

The Currys website adequately reflects the Dixons business model in terms of describing Multi-channel operations, Products and the wide range display of excellent products, after sales support.  Most of this is well covered although the latter is somewhat obscured whereas it should be one of the more prominent item. The low cost operating model of value, choice and service is well demonstrated on the site.  In order to maintain a sustainable e-trading policy it is vital to be flexible, like in any supply and demand type model.  It is essential to retain market competiveness if you are to retain your customers.  The Critical Success Factors (CSF’s )for the adoption of e-business initiatives span across three main areas: (1) Strategic Factors (2) Structural Factors and (3) Management Oriented Factors:- (Dixons Retail, 2012)

Strategic Factors (1)
Build of web activities avoiding business disruption The challenge of improving the business operations without wrecking the integrity of the existing business operations
Avoid duplication of business rules online Avoiding process duplication from physical to online environment; cost control.
Performance comparison with competitors in physical and online world The online system should demonstrate performance improvement statistics
Perception adjustment – e-commerce is for the benefit of the customers Get the right slant! This is to improve customer relations and not a luxury for the business

 

Structural Factors (2)
Adoption of internet without impacting core business functions The challenge of introducing the e-business and internet without making the company 100% reliant upon it
Maintenance of E-Business division from core business functionality Restricting the physical impact on the company allowing for phased adoption and growth

 

Management Oriented Factors (3)
Under commitment of resources and allocation of Executives with no e-business experience The firm must be committed to the venture ensuring adequate allocation of resources and Executive training
Lack of in house technical and web skills The right technical skillsets should be applied from the outset
Trying to get the internet to adopt too rigorous company standards Flexibility – Give the online system time to both grow and develop
Acknowledge people contributions in the change transition cycle Celebrate success! – people form the most important challenge to change

 

Key security concerns and ways for enhancement of security

Essentially conducting business over the internet in an unsecure environment is to place your business at severe risk.  Penetration may come from hackers, viruses, spam, communication breaches and various other media. As such, you need to screen from these intrusions by putting in place suitable firewalls, ant-virus/anti-spam software, data encryption and other security measures to prevent unauthorised illegal entry to your system.

Payment for products purchased online is via the major credit card suppliers.  The transaction takes place through the credit card supplier e.g. VISA. As such security and data is maintained through the credit card company’s site. The credit card company validates and approves the transaction and pays Currys who in turn ship the goods to the customer.

There is a considerable threat imposed upon the interception of communications particularly that associated with electronic media.  One of the more common threats relates to that of e-mail. The threat here is two-fold: (i) the interception of messages and communication by hackers and others who are intent on theft of intellectual copyright or business confidential information (ii) incoming messages from the outside that may have attachments and carry harmful viruses that can penetrate the firms firewall and impose serious damage to the computer network.  The first of these represents a criminal offence and is punishable under the law.  The second may be harmless or careless use of communications that have not been checked with anti-virus software.  The policies here become a little more complex but certain precautions can be taken.  The first is for the system not to accept any external e-mails that contain attachments. In addition those that contain any graphics or graphic files which are often used to harbour Trojans.

Only allow access to the network to those that have security clearance and are deemed to be authorised users of the system. Restrict external file attachments to addresses outside of the system (prevention of data transfer or theft).  The job of the Security Manager has been made much harder in recent years because of items like USB Pen Drives that have high storage capacity.  They can be plugged into virtually any USB port in the system and quickly download data.  Providing the person can gain access, they will have the ability to download confidential information files. (Internet security: firewalls and beyond)

REFERENCES

Currys, 2013. Currys Electrical Store. [Online]
Available at: http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/index.html
[Accessed 23 2 2013].

Dixons Retail, 2012. Business Model. [Online]
Available at: http://www.dixonsretail.com/dixons/en/aboutus/businessmodel
[Accessed 23 2 2013].

Dixons retail, 2012. Currys and PC World Fast-Track Roll-Out of Google ‘Shop in Shops’. [Online]
Available at: http://www.dixonsretail.com/dixons/en/mediacentre/mediapressreleases?id=568
[Accessed 23 2 2013].

 

 

 

 

 

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