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Unit 34: e-Commerce

NQF Level 3: BTEC National

Guided learning hours: 60

Unit abstract

One of the most important developments in business in recent times has been the
increasing use of e-commerce. It has revolutionised many marketplaces and opened
up opportunities never before imagined. Businesses that are not exploring the use
e-commerce are in danger of finding themselves being overtaken by those who are
utilising this technology. E-commerce uses the internet to build and enhance
relationships with customers, partners and other businesses. This can involve
processing orders electronically, handling customer service and cooperating with
business partners.

E-commerce can be conducted using the internet, intranets, extranets, or a

combination of these.

The unit starts by looking at the benefits and drawbacks for society of e-commerce
and then investigates the technologies involved in e-commerce. This is followed by
exploring the security issues surrounding the use of e-commerce, both from the
business and the user perspective.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this unit a learner should:
1 Know the effects on society of e-commerce
2 Understand the technologies involved in e-commerce
3 Understand the security issues in e-commerce and the laws and guidelines that
regulate it.
Unit content
1 Know the effects on society of e-commerce
a) Social implications: changing customer perspective eg providing added
value, providing service, ease and security; impact on business and
society as a whole; economic and social impact due to speed of changes;
bricks and clicks (integrating high street and online presence)
b) Benefits: global marketplace; 24/7 trading; relatively low start-up and
running costs; competitive edge; search facilities; pricing opportunities
eg differences, fluid pricing; gathering customer information;
alternative income sources
c) Drawbacks: consumer trust; lack of human contact; delivery issues;
international legislation; product description problems; security issues
d) e-commerce entities: e-tailers eg Amazon.com, ebuyer.co.uk;
manufacturers eg dell.com; existing retailers eg tesco.com, argos.co.uk;
consumer led eg eBay; informative eg bbc.co.uk, nationalrail.co.uk;
service providers eg easyjet.co.uk, lastminute.com; financial eg
esure.com, bank sites with web-only accounts

2 Understand the technologies involved in e-commerce

a) Hardware and software: web servers; browsers; server software; web
authoring tools; database system; programming requirements; storage
size; portability; download speeds; browser and platform compatibility
b) Networking: TCP/IP addresses, ports and protocols; domain names eg use
of memorable names, multiple registration of domains (.com as well
as .co.uk)
c) Payment systems: services available eg electronic cheque, PayPal,
NoChex, credit or debit cards
d) Promotion: effective use of search engines eg use meta tags, ‘spiders’,
paying for prominence in search result listing; newsgroups and forums;
banners and pop-ups; spam; site name; direct marketing; ensuring an
effective user interface; establishing customer loyalty in a virtual
e) Customer interface: usability issues; contact information eg email,
phone contact, FAQ, live-chat; providing customer account/profile;
order tracking; dealing with complaints

3 Understand the security issues in e-commerce and the laws and

that regulate it
a) Security: prevention of hacking; viruses; identity theft; firewall impact on
site performance; SSL; HTTPS; RSA certificates; strong passwords;
lternative authentication methods
b) Legislation: relevant legislation eg Data Protection Act 1998, Computer
Misuse Act 1990, Consumer Credit Act 1974, Trading Standards; Freedom
of Information Act 2000, copyright legislation
Unit Criteria

P1 describe the social M1 explain the potential D1 evaluate the use of e-

implications, risks to organisations commerce in a ‘brick and
benefits of committing to an click’ organisation that
and drawbacks of e- e-commerce system balances e-commerce with a
commerce continued high street

P2 describe three M2 compare two D2 justify the choice of security

different and current different payment techniques used to protect
e-commerce entities systems an e-commerce system
used in e-commerce

P3 describe the M3 explain how security D3 predict and describe

hardware, software issues in e-commerce potential future of
and networking can be overcome. e-commerce and its impact
technologies on society.
involved in e-

P4 describe how e-
commerce systems
can be promoted and

P5 describe the security

issues in

P6 describe what and

how legislation
impacts e-commerce