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Evaluation of Music Website

Describes how the "look and feel" differs for one Web sites for the music industry. Include an evaluation of the ease of navigation of the Web site. The paper should describe at least 2 key aspects that make up a good Web site. The paper also needs to reference a minimum of 1 academic sources.

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The emergence of the World Wide Web and the Dot Com boom during the 1990's has seen the growth of many Internet retail companies. Many of these companies have been able to gain a competitive advantage over their high street rivals by reaching a global market through the Internet, and offer lower prices due to a cut in costs compared to their competitors.
The Internet is an increasingly important channel for businesses to reach their potential customers. It is predicted that the volume of online retailing will be nearly $105B in the USA by the 2007, where Internet Retailing was pioneered (VNU E-Media, 2003). It is now being adopted world wide and in some parts of the world, investments by national governments have created a broadband technology infrastructure to help Internet commerce grow.
Many of these successful Internet Retailing companies do not require a high street shop that is very costly due to the recent rise in property prices, and can therefore offer a much larger range of stock, as it does not have to be displayed in their stores.
Buying books over the Internet is one of the earliest applications of business to customer e-commerce and the Internet giant, Amazon is a good example of this success, launched in 1995. In the past they have outsourced to warehousing and delivery companies to allow them to sell a large range of stock over the Internet. If a high street store tried to sell this amount of products in their shop they would not have the space or the ability to hold it all.
Other Internet stores have followed suit, in particular low involvement product sellers, including the introduction of music and DVD sales over the World Wide Web. E-commerce companies such as Play.com and Amazon (who have diversified into this market) have enjoyed success in recent years.
This has lead to the more established music and film retails to join the so called 'bandwagon' and begin selling their merchandise over the internet to compete with these internet based companies, for example HMV and Virgin have both recently set up their own websites.
In today's market though, the music industry's Internet strategy is turning the corner. With the recognition that more and more people are downloading songs illegally and file swapping across the internet, these internet companies are having to not only compete with each other but also with this major global problem (IFPI report, 2004).
According to Jupiter (Borland, 2001) record sales online have increased by 3% between 2000, and 2001, and are rising steadily each year. It is believed that more traditional retailer's websites had control of the market like TowerRecords.com and BestBuy.com, the newer e-business's like Amazon and Play.com are taking a larger portion of the market share than before. During 2000, Phil Leigh, an analyst who covers retailing for brokerage house Raymond James, believed that these coming years could be the peak of CD sales, and "if retailers let someone else displace them online, they'll lose their market share." (Borland, 2001).

CD-Wow.com Website analysis:

A fairly new player in this market, cd-wow.com, is an online retailer of CDs, games and DVD's. More recently they have set up two sister companies, one that sells beauty products and lingerie for women, and the other offering communication services.
They were launched in February 2000, and have a successful website which sells these products online. But why, due to the high level of competition in this market, is E-business like Cd-Wow.com, Amazon and Play.com doing so well, when they offer similar products to their customers at a relatively standard price.
The website of a company and all its E-commerce operations differentiate each E-business.
Therefore what makes a good website and its related e-commerce operations?
This report evaluates one of the new market companies, Cd-Wow, and its related e-commerce operations in the CD, DVD and games retail industry.

Evaluation Techniques

There are many types of evaluation techniques and models for websites. Many have specific areas or functions of a web site they concentrate on.
I aim to draw upon some of these models and create my own set of evaluation criteria to analyse the website.
Because many of these Internet retailers offer similar products, e.g. CD's, DVD's and games, it is important then that they differentiate themselves from their competitors using other methods rather than product or price.
Researchers in marketing drawing on work in sociology and psychology highlight a variety of influences on consumer purchase behaviour (Robertson et al., 1984). They suggest a variety of relationships among perceived product quality, perceived relative price, perceived value, and willingness to buy.
Service quality has been recognized as an important strategic retailing weapon (Chen & Dubinsky, 2003). Many successful product retailers differentiate themselves not through the product they sell but through the service they offer.
Therefore a key criterion for the evaluation on Cd-Wow.com would be the quality of service they offer. Tools such as Webqual, Servqual and Grönroos's Perceived Service
Quality (PSQ) model, all attempt to evaluate the service offered in different e-commerce industries.

Evaluation Criterion Selection

Webqual

Webqual is a method for assessing the quality of Websites. It has been applied in various domains including internet auction and Internet bookstore sites.
This model looks at three key aspects of website quality: Web site usability, information quality, and "service interaction quality to provide a rounded framework for assessing e-commerce offerings." (Barnes & Vidgen, 2002).
Because some research has been done on Amazon, a provider of both books and other entertainment mediums, e.g. CD's and DVD's like Cd-Wow.com, I will be using some of these models by Webqual and data from their research on Online Bookstores to evaluate part of Cd-Wow.com's website.
Initial evaluation criteria will concentrate on the websites usability. According to ...

Solution Summary

The emergence of the World Wide Web and the Dot Com boom during the 1990's has seen the growth of many Internet retail companies. Many of these companies have been able to gain a competitive advantage over their high street rivals by reaching a global market through the Internet, and offer lower prices due to a cut in costs compared to their competitors.
The Internet is an increasingly important channel for businesses to reach their potential customers. It is predicted that the volume of online retailing will be nearly $105B in the USA by the 2007, where Internet Retailing was pioneered (VNU E-Media, 2003). It is now being adopted world wide and in some parts of the world, investments by national governments have created a broadband technology infrastructure to help Internet commerce grow.
Many of these successful Internet Retailing companies do not require a high street shop that is very costly due to the recent rise in property prices, and can therefore offer a much larger range of stock, as it does not have to be displayed in their stores.

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