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middleman in virtual world

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1) Compare and contrast alternative online payment systems.
2) How is e-business shifting power to consumers?
3) What should middlemen do to keep their jobs?
4) Give an example of a middleman in the 'virtual world'.

Please list references.

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1) Compare and contrast alternative online payment systems.

There are several alternative online payment systems. For instance, there are the normal credit and debit cards. On the other hand there are digital wallets that enable fast e-commerce transactions. However, these require the installation of specialized software. Electronic Commerce Modeling Language has made digital wallets very accurate and excellent for use in e-commerce. In addition, there is a large variety of electronic money. This includes money that is exchanged electronically, electronic funds transfer, virtual currency, or digital gold currency. Virtual money has not been very successful; however, there are card systems that provide contactless pre-paid travel cards. For example, in Netherlands there is Chpkrip, an electronic money system for general purpose. The contactless payment systems are popular among users and help them make payments easily.

2) How is e-business ...

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Principals of Marketing: Products

Product
Virtual reality was once billed as the next big disruptive technology when it was introduced to consumers through video games in the 1990s, and since became widely used for a wide variety of training applications in industry and government. So one would think that over 20 years after the introduction of virtual reality to consumers, it would be considered a mature technology. However, Microsoft is developing their Hololens product which aims to be the next generation of virtual reality. The Hololens is creating a lot of buzz about being a "game changer" with a potential to change our lives.

Microsoft Hololens is an "augmented reality" system where you can view 3D computer-generated holograms side by side with the real world. Want to see what your house would look like with a different color paint? Want your kids to play video games by running around your backyard with holograms rather than sitting in front of a TV? Would you prefer your science teacher draw diagrams on the chalkboard, or use holograms to illustrate the concepts? These are just a few examples of what Hololens may do if it lives up to the hype.

Review the background materials on product management with a close attention to the Pearson tutorial on products and services, Richardson and Gosnay (2011) and Paley (2007). News about Hololens changes by the day, so make sure to focus on the most recent articles and information that you can find. Focus on articles published in reputable magazines, newspapers, journals, or similar sources.

1. What type of new product do you think Hololens is - is it an innovative product, a replacement product, or an imitative product? Explain your reasoning with respect to the definitions of these three types of new products in Richardson and Gosnay (2010) and the potential features of Hololens.

2. What stage of the product life cycle do you think virtual reality technology is in general right now? Also, what stage of the product life cycle do you think Microsoft's Hololens augmented reality technology is in?

3. Based on the most research you have been able to find on Hololens, what steps in the new product development has Microsoft already completed? Which of the remaining steps that they have not completed do you think will be the most challenging or most crucial? Refer to either the eight stages of the new product development process in Richardson and Gosnay (2010) or the six phases discussed on pages 158-161 of Paley (2007).

Make recommendations for various situations as to what kind of distribution strategy a company should take. For each of the situations below, consider the pros and cons of each type of distribution strategy. Richardson and Gosnay (2010) and Paley (2007) both have detailed discussion of the pros and cons of extensive, intensive, and exclusive distribution and guidelines on whether to an indirect or direct distribution approach.

Give your recommendations on a distribution strategy for the following situations:

4. You have recently developed a very high quality shampoo that is one of the best in the industry. However, it is very expensive and you plan on selling it for $250 a bottle. Only very high income individuals will be able to afford it and you intend on it being a very prestigious product that movie stars and models will use. Should you use an indirect or direct distribution approach? And should you use an intensive, selective, or exclusive distribution approach? Explain your reasoning, and make sure to cite Richardson and Gosnay (2010) and Paley (2007) as part of your answer.

5. You have started a new company that manufactures extremely inexpensive laptop computers. The laptops are not fancy, but still allow consumers to perform basic functions such as surfing the internet or using basic applications such as Word and Excel. You plan on offering the laptops for $150, and wish to reach as wide of a market as possible. Should you use an indirect or direct distribution approach? And should you use an intensive, selective, or exclusive distribution approach? Explain your reasoning, and make sure to cite Richardson and Gosnay (2010) and Paley (2007) as part of your answer.

6. You have started a company that allows consumers to design their own clothes. Using your online technology, consumers can customize shirts, jackets, and other clothing items based on patterns they draw on their computer and their choice of fabrics and size. The designs are then turned over to a specialized factory that manufactures the clothing items. Should you use an indirect or direct distribution approach? And should you use an intensive, selective, or exclusive distribution approach? Explain your reasoning, and make sure to cite Richardson and Gosnay (2010) and Paley (2007) as part of your answer.

Do some research on Amazon and the specific product "Echo" that you use, and also review the background materials on product classifications, the product life cycle, and new product development. When you are done with your research and have thoroughly reviewed the background materials, address the following questions:

7. Briefly describe the company and product you have chosen, and why you chose it. Then explain what type of product it is based on the classifications from Richardson and Gosnay (2010).

8. What stage of the product life cycle is this product at right now? What strategies could this company use to extend the life of the product? Use the concepts from Richardson and Gosnay (2010) and Paley (2007) in your answer.

9. What recommendation do you have for a new product from this company that you would personally use if they introduced it?

In the previous module you chose Amazon's Echo which is a product as well as a service you personally use. Continue your research on this company and find out as much as you can about their distribution strategy.
When you have finished your research, address the following questions:

10. Does this company use an indirect or direct distribution approach? Or both? Do you personally buy the product directly from the company, or from a retailer? Find out as much as you can about what kind of intermediaries this company uses.

11. Does this company use an exclusive, intensive, or selective distribution strategy? Base your answer both on what you find in various articles or company reports that you find, and your own experiences in buying their products.

12. What kind of logistical strategies does this company use for their distribution? For example, do they use third party logistics such as UPS or do they have their own distribution fleet? Find out as much as you can.

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