The technology enabling e-commerce has matured sufficiently. The number of online retailers indicates society’s acceptance of ecommerce. There is however, still a great amount of progress that is being in these areas, both in terms of the technology being developed as well as in terms of the market penetration and method of employment. It is therefore an area that is rich in research topics. Because of the twin issues of maturity and rapid progress, it is very important that careful attention is paid when a research topic is chosen in this area. The research topic has to be relevant whilst not being in an area that is already well-known and in practice. This requires a significant amount of awareness of the state of research in ecommerce, both in terms of technology as well as about what is in practice. To help you prepare for your dissertation on e-commerce, this article provides suggestions on topics that cover the subjects of e-business, Internet marketing, e-commerce security, mobile e-commerce and e-commerce law.
One of the most important things in any business is the unique selling proposition. This is no different in ecommerce. The platform alone (i.e. the Internet) may sometimes contribute to the USP, such as supermarkets allowing people to purchase goods online and provide delivery to their doors. But as the number of online retailers increases this may erode the USP that depends greatly on the platform. Possible e-commerce dissertation topics in this area are:
Marketing or advertising for an e-business is a very important part of the overall strategy for e-businesses. The development of Internet marketing techniques such as paid advertisements for keyword searches, banner advertisements and also the use of Web 2.0 applications that make use of social networks for advertisements, have all changed the way marketing and advertising operates. The amount of information available today has made it possible to carefully target customers based on profiles, networks, etc. A good knowledge of the mechanisms of the technology is required in order to take full advantage of the opportunities available. Suggested topics for your e-commerce dissertation include:
Security and trust are extremely important issues in e-commerce. One of the major perceived threats of e-commerce is the issue of security. Security and trust threats come from two areas in e-commerce – threat from third party attacks on legitimate transactions between a retailer and the customer and threat from fraudulent retailers to customers.
The threat of third party attacks is an ever-present one. Hackers may try to gain access to sensitive information stored in the web servers, such as credit card information, bank account details and even personal details for identity theft. Retailers have a legal responsibility to keep any personal details they collect safe. Technology such as SSL, firewalls, intrusion detection etc. are all used to secure the website from unauthorised access. Third party attacks are also facilitated by lax security from customers. Some e-commerce dissertation topics in this area are:
Trust is an important issue in e-commerce, because unlike real world transactions, the retailer is not present in person during the transaction. It is much easier for an entity to set up a website and an electronic payment processing system than a real world storefront. It is also much more difficult for customers to determine the authenticity of websites. This makes it very difficult to trust that the retailers are who they claim to be. Some of the topics you could research for your e-commerce dissertation in this area are:
Legislation has also been enacted throughout the world to ensure that computer networks remain safe from external threats and attackers are brought to justice. In the UK, legislation such as the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and the Police and Justice Act 2006 help prevent and punish acts of computer security breach. Some e-commerce dissertation topics in this area are:
Usability is important for online retailers because their ‘shops’ are not physically manned. Customers have to browse the items for sale and make their purchase by themselves. The websites themselves therefore have to be very user-friendly; the layout and design should strive to achieve the balance between simplicity and presentation of all information. Technology has been employed to provide effective customer service, such as having 24/7 support over the phone, live chat on the e-commerce website, etc. The new generation of Internet applications, such as the semantic web, natural language search etc, collectively termed Web 3.0, holds great promise for progress in customer service in e-commerce. Some of the e-commerce dissertation topics in the area of usability are:
Mobile e-commerce is the next frontier in e-commerce. An increasingly networked and mobile world means that the Internet is no longer shackled to the desktop and a landline. It is now available in many mobile devices such as BlackBerrys, PDAs, etc. Savvy e-commerce retailers have been quick on the uptake, providing content and delivery mechanisms more suited to the new platform. There are various opportunities for mobile e-commerce, from profit-seeking through customers’ calls and texts to custom-designed applications for mobile platforms. Some e-commerce dissertation topics for mobile e-commerce are:
Governments around the world have been slow to react to technology, not to mention e-commerce. Hence the online retailer can be thought to be making his way to the wild, wild west of the legal world in terms of e-commerce. Laws are generally made at the behest of lobby groups behind large profit-making organisations, and customers are generally left in the cold. Some examples of this are:
Some e-commerce dissertation topics in these general areas are:
Data mining is another area that has tremendous applications for e-commerce. Because a huge amount of information is made available through digital systems, and this information can be collated from various sources to glean more information than the individual would expect, customer privacy issues have come to the fore. Legislation such as the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000 are aimed at protecting the interests of the lay citizen. Technology such as RFID tagging has further enabled data mining in an unprecedented scale. Some e-commercedissertation topics in this area are:
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