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Role of E-commerce in flourishing the business: A case study of Wal-Mart

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Type of Academic Paper – Dissertation Proposal

Academic Subject – Finance Management

Word Count – 2773 words

Part one: The Research Topic

1.1. Significance of the Study

With the increased globalisation, the competition within industries has also elevated significantly. In a research study put forward by Xiang, Magnini and Fesenmaier(2015), it has been stated that the use of the internet among consumers has increased.

This is because availability and accessibility among the consumers regarding the use of the internet have increased imperatively. This has generated a need for the companies to focus on targeting the consumers through the internet portals.

It has been specified in the research study of Nisar and Prabhakar (2017) that the sales of most of the retail companies have increased with the use of E-commerce. In this manner, companies can increase their profits with the help of increased company sales. In this study, the use of E-commerce in flourishing the business will be identified in the context of Wal-Mart.

1.2. Problem Statement

The competition among the firms has increased mainly due to globalisation. This has made the competition more intense among the firms operating in the retail sector of the UK. In addition to this, the use of the internet and preferences for online shopping among consumers have also increased over the years.

In a research study put forward by Lissitsa and Kol (2016), it has been stated that there has been an increase in the use of the internet among the young generation, resulting in an increased preference for online shopping.

It has been specified in the research study of Lee et al. (2017) that consumers provide preference to convenience over traditional methods of shopping via the use of e-commerce.

However, there is a lack of literature on the role of e-commerce in flourishing the business in terms of financial growth and market share. In this regard, the study will be able to identify the role of e-commerce in flourishing the business in the context of Wal-Mart.

1.3. Research Questions

Following the study’s aims, this study will focus on answering the following questions throughout the research. These questions are presented as follows:

  • What is the concept of e-commerce?
  • What is the significance of e-commerce?
  • What is the role of e-commerce on the business performance of Wal-Mart?
  • What are the recommendations for Wal-Mart in terms of E-commerce to increase the performance of the business?

1.4. Conceptual Framework


Figure 1: Conceptual Framework

Source: Author (2019)

Part two: The literature review

2.1. Article 1

In a research study put forward by Roy (2016), it has been stated that the usage of electronic technologies to conduct business via the internet is referred to as E-commerce. In this study, it has been emphasised that the use of the internet in the business process can be an effective strategy to market the product and provide the necessary information regarding the product or service.

In addition to this, it has also been identified that the main focus of e-commerce must be on completing the transactions of the business. Moreover, there are various types of e-commerce, among which the most common types of e-commerce include C2C (consumer to consumer), C2B (consumer to business), B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business).

With the help of certain technologies, including electronic data interchange and electronic funds transfer, the term e-commerce in the initial stages was used to define and describe the process to manage the business’s transactions.

In the initial years of e-commerce, the usage of this concept was limited to the interchanges and transactions of the business. However, with the introduction of ATMs, credit cards and telephone banking, the use of e-commerce moved to an advanced level.

Business analytics has predicted that e-commerce is the future for all businesses. Based on this data, in addition to this, it has also been identified that in Europe and the USA, several online businesses were launched. However, most of these businesses were collapsed during a major downturn that occurred in 2000.

Despite this downturn, the e-commerce business within a few years started to improve. This was because the businesses that were affected due to the downturn of e-commerce learned from their mistakes.

In addition to this, these businesses have started making profits. In this manner, it has also been identified that to attract the consumers’ attention, companies need to build a strong reputation for the online brand. However, it was also identified that e-commerce is not stable. At the same time, the businesses have to adjust their business models and revenues to survive in the industry.

2.2. Article 2

The competition among the products has become a symbol of brand performance with the rapid development of economic globalisation. In a research study put forward by Farooq et al. (2019), it has been stated that the increased competition among the firms has forced the companies to develop and support the new industry, which helps support the interconnected sectors of business.

In this manner, this generates the need for the companies to work towards the development of e-commerce. This study has identified that for any business in the world, and e-commerce has a key impact.

In this manner, companies can buy and sell goods or services with the assistance of an electronic network. In addition to this, certain problems are encountered in this new technology. These problems are mainly concerned with the logistics area.

However, the concept of e-commerce has also helped companies develop opportunities in the business related to logistics. The delivery time for the companies varies with the regional variation, and it is difficult to complete timely deliveries in certain areas.

In this manner, e-commerce has helped companies shorten the lead time and save on cost. Due to this reason, the companies can enhance their performance by providing value to the consumers through a faster network of delivery. With the help of this value addition, the brand’s loyalty is increased among the consumers.

In addition to this, it has also been identified that the presence of the company over the internet also generates awareness regarding the brand. In this manner, the popularity of the brand is increased while attracting more consumers via online portals. Moreover, this increased awareness has an indirect impact on the consumer base.

This is because of the purpose that with the increased awareness of the brand, the company’s customer base is also increased. In this regard, the performance of the company is increased in terms of sales and profitability of the company.

In addition to this, the research study has also emphasised communication among the consumers and the brand. It has been identified that with the help of e-commerce, companies can communicate more efficiently with consumers. This helps the companies to identify the needs and demands of the consumers.

By catering to these identified needs and demands of the consumers, the companies can increase the company’s sales. In addition to this, the company’s increased sales contribute towards the company’s increased performance. This concludes that there is a major role of e-commerce in enhancing the performance of the business depending upon the process of that business and its utilisation.

Part Three: Hypothesis Construction

H1:There is a significant impact of e-commerce on business performance.
Dependent Variable: Business Performance.
Define: The dependent variable in this study is business performance. This business performance will be measured through several constructs in this study. These constructs involve customer base, market share, profitability, brand awareness and brand loyalty.
Range: The dependent variable, which is business performance is ordinal. The potential range of this variable is from strongly disagree to strongly agree.
Independent Variable: E-commerce
Define: The independent variable in this study is E-commerce. This is because of the purpose that the role of e-commerce on business performance has been identified in this study.
Range: The independent variable, which is e-commerce is ordinal. The potential range of this variable is from strongly disagree to strongly agree.

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Part Four: Objectivity, Ethics, Sampling

The preconceived beliefs regarding the research topic of e-commerce’s role in flourishing business are very positive. It has been assumed that e-commerce plays an important role in thriving the performances of different businesses.

Based on prior knowledge about the research topic, e-commerce is considered an important component that can benefit the business. Moreover, based on prior knowledge, the practices of e-commerce are viewed as an effective way to bring efficiency in the business operations, increase the company’s visibility, reduce the cost of inventory management, monitor the buying habits of consumers, and maintain high competitiveness the business.

On the other hand, as per the researcher’s beliefs, e-commerce also carries huge importance for the consumers as it provides convenience to them in terms of saving time money and getting information about the business offerings.

Furthermore, regarding the researcher’s preconceived beliefs, the study’s expected results will indicate that e-commerce has helped companies increase loyalty, profitability, and performance.

To ensure the authenticity and reliability of the research findings, the researcher will rely on the results of interviews and survey questionnaires by side-lining personal beliefs regarding the research topic.

Therefore, to avoid biased responses in the survey questionnaire, the researcher will avoid adding leading questions, break down or avoid difficult concepts, use simple language, and appropriately structure the overall questionnaire (Roulston &Shelton, 2015).

Moreover, the researcher will ensure to consider different ethical aspects while conducting the interviews and survey questionnaires. The 10 managers of Walmart will be interviewed in this study to attain the main aim of this study.

In this way, the results of this study also carry out huge importance for those managers, as this study is intended to provide the set of sound recommendations that can help them make the maximum benefits from e-commerce practices and increase the company’s overall performance.

The sample size and respondents selected for this study are based on gathering the most authentic information about the research topic, which will help the researcher answer the underlying questions of this study.

Since this study is related to Walmart Company; therefore, the researcher is aiming to conduct survey questionnaires from 200 regular customers and 10 managers of Walmart.

In this manner, it will allow the researcher to gather the most relevant information to attain the study’s main aim. To conduct interviews with managers, the researcher will be using the snowball sampling method.

According to Etikan, Alkassim, & Abubakar (2016), snowball sampling is one of the most effective sampling techniques where one participant recruits other respondents for the study. This sampling technique is often used in studies where it is difficult to find potential participants.

Therefore, the main purpose of choosing the snowball sampling method for conducting interviews is to easily reach out to the potential respondents. This sampling technique is cost-efficient and simple compared to other sampling techniques.

On the other hand, for collecting the data from the survey questionnaire researcher will be using the convenience sampling method, which is relied on collecting the data from those respondents who are easily available to participate in the research.

Part Five: The Measurement Instrument

5.1 Survey Research: Awareness and loyalty

To accomplish the main aim of the research, the following questions will be asked to the customers of Walmart:

  1. E-commerce platforms of Walmart provide convenience to the customers in their desired products.
    1. Strongly disagree
    2. Disagree
    3. Neutral
    4. Agree
    5. Strongly Agree
  2. Walmart’s E-commerce practices help the consumers gather adequate information about the company’s offerings.
    1. Strongly disagree
    2. Disagree
    3. Neutral
    4. Agree
    5. Strongly Agree
  3. E-commerce allows consumers to save their money in making purchases from the company.
    1. Strongly disagree
    2. Disagree
    3. Neutral
    4. Agree
    5. Strongly Agree
  4. E-commerce helps the customer save time selecting, purchasing, and paying for the product and services.
    1. Strongly disagree
    2. Disagree
    3. Neutral
    4. Agree
    5. Strongly Agree
  5. The platform of E-commerce makes the whole buying process easy for consumers.
    1. Strongly disagree
    2. Disagree
    3. Neutral
    4. Agree
    5. Strongly Agree
  6. The e-commerce strategies of Walmart are highly effective in terms of satisfying customer needs and demands.
    1. Strongly disagree
    2. Disagree
    3. Neutral
    4. Agree
    5. Strongly Agree
  7. The e-commerce practices of Walmart positively influences me to make repetitive purchases.
    1. Strongly disagree
    2. Disagree
    3. Neutral
    4. Agree
    5. Strongly Agree
  8. The e-commerce practices of Walmart increases my trust in the company.
    1. Strongly disagree
    2. Disagree
    3. Neutral
    4. Agree
    5. Strongly Agree
  9. Walmart’s e-commerce strategies positively influence my loyalty to the company.
    1. Strongly disagree
    2. Disagree
    3. Neutral
    4. Agree
    5. Strongly Agree
  10. The e-commerce practices of Walmart helps me to be aware of their different offerings.
    1. Strongly disagree
    2. Disagree
    3. Neutral
    4. Agree
    5. Strongly Agree
  11. The e-commerce strategies of Walmart make a positive impact on increasing customer awareness.
    1. Strongly disagree
    2. Disagree
    3. Neutral
    4. Agree
    5. Strongly Agree
  12. Through their different e-commerce platforms, Walmart provides adequate information to keep their customers aware of their offerings and existence.
    1. Strongly disagree
    2. Disagree
    3. Neutral
    4. Agree
    5. Strongly Agree

5.2 In-depth Interviews

Following are some of the interview questions that will be asked to 10 managers of Walmart:

  1. To what extent do you think that e-commerce plays its role in enhancing Walmart’s position in the market?
  2. Does the e-commerce platform help Walmart increase the company’s customer base?
  3. Do you believe that the company’s e-commerce strategies positively impact the market share and profitability of the company?
  4. What impact does Walmart’s e-commerce practices have played on its customer loyalty?
  5. Does the e-commerce platform of Walmart plays a positive role in increasing customer awareness?
  6. What impact does e-commerce strategies of Walmart have made on the company’s overall performance?

5.3 Other Methods

The researcher will be using online Skype as an online channel to conduct the interviews. This will allow the researcher to save the time and cost to carry out the interviews and gather useful information.

On the other hand, for survey questionnaires, the researcher aims to distribute the questionnaires through different online channels, which will allow the researcher to easily reach out to the potential customer of Walmart and collect information about Walmart’s e-commerce practices.

Moreover, to analyse the collected data researcher will be using different methods for interviews and survey questionnaires. For survey questionnaires, the researcher will be using thematic analysis to interpret the collected information from interviews.

In this manner, the researcher will develop different themes based on each hypothesis and interpret participants’ responses to answer the main research question. In contrast, to interpret the survey questionnaire results, the researcher will be using SPSS to assess the collected data and will be using different statistical techniques like descriptive analysis, frequency analysis, and correlation analysis.

References

Etikan, I., Alkassim, R., &Abubakar, S. (2016). Comparison of snowball sampling and sequential sampling technique. Biometrics & Biostatistics International Journal3(1), 1-2.

Farooq, Q., Fu, P., Hao, Y., Jonathan, T., & Zhang, Y. (2019). A review of management and importance of E-Commerce implementation in service delivery of private express enterprises of China. SAGE Open9(1), 2158244018824194.

Hanna, N. K. (2016). E-commerce as a techno-managerial innovation ecosystem: Policy implications. Journal of Innovation Management4(1), 4-10.

Lissitsa, S., &Kol, O. (2016). Generation X vs. Generation Y–A decade of online shopping. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services31, 304-312.

Nisar, T. M., &Prabhakar, G. (2017). What factors determine e-satisfaction and consumer spending in e-commerce retailing?. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services39, 135-144.

Roulston, K., & Shelton, S. A. (2015). Reconceptualising bias in teaching qualitative research methods. Qualitative Inquiry21(4), 332-342.

Roy, P. (2014). A sociological analysis of theE Commerce Industry in India. Researchjournali’s Journal of Sociology, 2(6), 2347-8241.

Xiang, Z., Magnini, V. P., &Fesenmaier, D. R. (2015). Information technology and consumer behavior in travel and tourism: Insights from travel planning using the internet. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services22, 244-249.

Lee, C. R., Tam, K. Y., Lim, J. Y., Seow, P. Y., Lee, V. P. S., Faris, N. A. M., & Haris, H. M. (2017). Consumer Intention to Use Smartphone for Mobile Shopping. In Handbook of Research on Leveraging Consumer Psychology for Effective Customer Engagement (pp. 221-233). IGI Global.