E-Commerce Term Paper

Speaking about back end systems of Target.com, it is primarily necessary to point out that the site declares its high responsibility for all operations it deals with. To put it more precisely, on analyzing the basic operations, such as warehousing, packaging and shipping, it is possible to say that the creators of the site attempt to be as reliable as possible. However, on a deeper look, it is getting obvious that the reliability of the site cannot be fully guaranteed.

For instance, the shipping, been an extremely important operations is actually fully outsourced to third parties and the goods the site offers are delivered by different companies. Naturally, it is necessary to admit that the company are quite respectable but still there remains a question how the site that sells a product to a customer can guarantee the delivery of this product undamaged and in time if the site does not really deal with shipping but prefers to use other companies, such as UPS, US Postal Service, Yellow Transportation, and others, to fulfill this operation.

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It is also noteworthy that many goods offered by target.com may be bought either online or in stores that seems to be quite convenient for customers since they have an opportunity to choose how and in what way to buy goods.

Shipping

Obviously, target.com provides full services to its customers from offering goods, purchasing and to shipping them to buyers. However, the latter process is particularly important because it actually shapes the brand image of target.com in public eye since the quality of goods and the delivery time play crucial role in the customer’s impression from the company’s work.

As it has been mentioned above, basically shipping is outsourced and it is a number of quite respectable companies that provide the shipping of goods from target.com to customers. However, it seems to be a bit inconvenient for customers that target.com does not include the shipping costs in the price of goods. In fact, such a situation can potentially create a negative impression since customers may feel being deceived by the site information about the price of goods.
Not surprisingly that target.com uses a flat rate that seems to be quite logical when such complex information about the final price customers will eventually pay.

Furthermore, it should be said that target.com operates within the US practically nationwide. To put it more precisely it operates in fifty states and, consequently, target.com should provide the delivery of its products to customers at any part of the country. As a result, the weight and distance are also taken into consideration when the final calculations as for the price of a product are made.

Naturally, the site attempts to attract customers by a system of discounts. In this respect, the number of items customers buy play an important role and may lead to a significant discounts that certainly stimulates users to buy more products at target.com. In general, shipping charges are based on delivery options customers choose, the weight, size and dimension of items, shipping preferences.

Return policies

Traditionally, purchases via Internet corresponds to certain risks that products sold and delivered to customers will be damaged or not of the quality buyers expect. In such a situation, any e-commerce site should develop simple, understandable and really working system of return.

In this respect, target.com return policy seems to be probably a bit complicated because of a number of conditions which make the return of a product impossible. For instance, music, movies, video games, software and collectibles purchased on target.com must be returned unopened.

Or else, customer should also take into consideration the terms of return which actually may differ. For instance, for target.com products the return term constitutes ninety days, while for amazon.com products bought via target.com the return term constitutes thirty days only. Naturally, such nuances, being very significant, may simply remain unnoticed by a customer and than he/she will have problems with return of the defective or unwanted product.

Thus, it is possible to state that the return policy information being sufficient needs high attention from the part of customers.

The level of integration

Speaking about the level of integration target.com offers to its customers, it should be said that the site may be considered quite advanced since customers have ample opportunities to trace the whole operation when they decide to buy some products on target.com. To put it more precisely, a customer can easily track the order simply by clicking ‘My account’ on the site and than, on clicking ‘Track Packages’ a user retrieves tracking or delivery confirmation number with the help of which he/she can further track the order.

In such a way, the system of integration seems to be quite effective since customers have access to the site’s services and can check their order, its state and even shipping. What is important here is the fact that a customer may use not only electronic sources and Internet to track the order, but he/she also gets phone numbers where the same information may be received on the condition that the customer knows the confirmation number.

Protection of users’ information

Naturally, the problem of protection of users’ information is extremely important and target.com is also concerned about it. First of all, it should be said that the site provides users with ample information about how their information is collected, stored and use so that they are aware what their personal information is needed for and that it is secured and what is more it is really accessible for users. For instance, the site confirms that the credit card numbers for instance are stored in a computer that is not connected to any network and consequently nobody can get access to the data stored in it but only personnel responsible for transactions.

Furthermore, basically customers have a choice while buying goods in target.com. For instance, the product offered by the site may be easily found online as well as in stores. Also, and this is much more important, customers may choose freely the method of payment, notably they may choose credit cards, debit cards connected with either Visa or MasterCard, GiftCards, or e-GiftCards.
As for the problem of security, it should be said that the personnel information is not accessible to the third parties, and, thus, cannot be used otherwise but in site-customer operations. Moreover, target.com even provides its Safe Shopping Guarantee, which actually, as the creators of the site promise, makes the personal information provided by customers to target.com absolutely secure due to the use of the latest and advanced software.

The promotional campaign

Obviously, in order to gain commercial success, any website needs an effective promotional campaign. Target.com is not an exception and it widely uses Internet as the means of promotion and attempts to attract possibly larger number of customers in virtual world. In other words this website uses Internet to promote its services and products and reveal its advantages compared to its main competitors.

At the same time, it is obvious that the use of digital means of promotion is not efficient enough and needs to be supported by additional means of promotion. In such a situation, target.com attracts customers and promotes its high quality and responsibility by offering customers special GiftCards and e-GiftCards, which they may use while paying for products bought in target.com. At the same time, special gifts for regular customers are not rare and are practiced by target.com.
As a result, it is possible to conclude that the commercial achievements of target.com result from a thoroughly planned and structured work and efficient promotion campaign.

Bibliography:

Coyle, T. Surveys and Trends. America’s Community Banker, vol.8(9), 1999.
Lucas, H., and Baroudi, J. The role of Information Technology in Organization Design. Journal of Management Information Systems, vol. 10(4), 2002.
Welanetz, R. The Threat of Virtual Retail. Mortgage Banking, vol. 59(12), 1999.
Whitely, D. E-Commerce: Strategies, Technologies and Applications. 1st ed. Berkshire, England, McGrawl Hill International (UK) Limited, 2000.
www.target.com

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