The Internet is having a dramatic effect on business today. As companies’ experiences with the Internet mature, their sites move from electronic brochure to distribution channel, support channel, and marketing channel—in short, a direct channel to the customer. In effect, the Web is becoming just another part of business, with its own unique strengths and weaknesses. This chapter focuses on data models that are needed by companies that want to conduct business online. These changes are suitable to businesses that primarily sell directly to customers online as well as other businesses that may use e-com-merce to supplement more traditional sales channels.
Companies that provide e-commerce are concerned with such issues as the following:
- How can we build and support a high-quality, innovative, and interactive retail e-commerce presence?
- How can we improve customer service and satisfaction with our offerings?
- How can we maximize revenues and minimize costs?
- How do we build branding and add value for our customers with our Web distribution channel without cannibalizing our existing channels?
- How can we maximize the Web experience of our customers at our site?
To answer these types of questions, enterprises need to track information about the following:
- The people and organizations they are concerned with, namely, distribution channels, customers, visitors, referrers, suppliers, ISPs, employees, and internal organizations
- The new contact mechanisms and ...