Application of technology in business is undergoing rapid development in the current technological world. Shopping has been made advanced and easier, thanks to the introduction of the internet. Current business technology has advanced from simply using the internet on computers to access shopping websites to the introduction of shopping applications. The shopping applications have been introduced by companies owning the shopping website to ease up the process of shopping. Research shows that shopping applications have become superior to the website (Wu, Chen, and Ke, 2016). It is because most people today own smartphones and can easily download the shopping applications on their phones.
This project aims at exploring the business idea of creating a shopping application, identifying its growth nature, protection of the concept, and the finances needed to bring the idea to the market. The business idea at hand is the creation of a mobile shopping application. The applications name is E-Soko. The name of the application finds its origin from the African Swahili language; soko meaning market.
The application is equipped with a logo, login box, search box, shopping cart, icons for payment systems, and sections for items on sale. Items for sale are categorized depending on the nature of the good, i.e., food, groceries, fashion, electronics, computers, mobile phones and accessories, and kids. A section for promotion is also included in the application. The logo of the application is illustrated by a bag full of items; fruits, vegetables, cooking fat, and beef steak. Besides it, there is a set of electronic gadgets; laptop and a smartphone. This logo illustrates a wide variety of shopping options offered by E-Soko.
The application allows users to create shopping accounts. Shopping accounts help to improve customer experiences because the customers preferences are saved. The shopping cart allows customers to select multiple items before checking out. New users can always create their accounts by clicking on the create account button below the login box. The account is accompanied by users basic information and the payment details. The options accepted by E-Soko are Neteller, Skrill, Visa, MasterCard, and Payoneer. The application also allows the users to pay for delivery.
High growth Nature of E-Soko
The growth rate of the application is targeted at 10%. Since it is a new application in the market, it is not expected that it will be popular at once. App marketers face a low market awareness during the introduction of the application which contributes to the slow growth rate experienced. For a start, the mobile shopping application concept would employ a few workers to deal with sourcing and delivering goods to the customers. It is not expected that when starting, E-Soko would have a warehouse to store goods. E-Soko would grow depending on the market. Good reception by the public is expected because of the offers in the application. To increase the growth rate of the application, the following will be done.
The deep linking advertisement is a strategy to be used for the application to find its way in the shopping application market. The deep linking advertisement is where the application uses the users emails to advertise itself. When a user signs up on the application, the application stores the information. (Natarajan, Balasubramanian, and Kasilingam, 2017) If any offers or new products arrive, notifications are sent to the users emails. Other mobile deep linking solutions to be employed are everything-to-app, email-to-app, social-to-app, and QR-to-app.
Social media can also be used to advertise the application. Most people today are on social media platforms and spend their leisure time browsing on the pages. Providing links to download the application on the social media pages will increase the number of E-Soko users. Television ads, posters, brochures are also forms of advertisement to be used.
Offers and Discounts, Prizes
The high growth rate of the application will be driven by the offers and discounts on the goods sold. Offer provided on the goods attract new users to download the application, sign up and get the offers.
Mechanisms for Protecting E-Soko Intellectual Property
Business owners have to understand the basic law of intellectual property to ensure their creations do not face unfair competition. In this case, the application is termed as intellectual property because it is a source of economic gain. Methods of protecting intellectual property are copyrights, patents, trade secrets, and trademarks. The hard-earned E-Soko idea will be protected by copyright, patent, and trade secrets.
This method of protection is chosen because the work being protected is a mobile application. Copyright will give the application ownership panel rights to create, modify, perform, distribute and copy the work. The descriptions of the application have to be put down on a tangible paper. The existence of a copyright starts when the application starts being developed. Before registering a copyright, we have to go through the copyright database to ensure that the E-Soko idea is not infringing any copyrighted ideas registered in the past. This takes time, but it saves money, i.e., the fines that are charged when sending in an idea that had previously been registered.
A patent is used of E-Soko because it is an entrepreneurial idea. It protects the ideas surrounding the idea whereas the copyright protects the idea itself. The ideas protected are such as the mechanisms and the components of the applications. The steps taken for one to create a user account on E-Soko application is protected so that no other person or company uses a similar procedure. The menu style, color preferences, the logo, and the installation process are other mechanisms protected by the patent.
The patent is considered as the strongest option used for protecting E-Soko. It protects the design of the application through reverse engineering. This enables easier identification if another company has copied E-Soko application.
E-Soko is developed by a mobile application programming language. The algorithms used in developing the application are kept as trade secrets. These algorithms may contain special features that other applications might not have. The special features bring in the business advantage of E-Soko application over other shopping applications in the market. Trade secrets are not registered. However, its protection is derived from the companys ability to control the information from disclosure and its use.
Employees to be employed by the E-Soko application have to maintain a high standard of integrity not to disclose restricted confidential information. They have to sign post-employment covenants to make sure that they do not share out the companys secrets.
Resources and Finances required to bring the Concept to Market
Cost of Developing the Application;
E-Soko mobile shopping app is developed as a medium enterprise application. The development process is broken down into sections which have different costs. The steps are wire framing, app screen designs, app development, back-end programming, application administration, quality assurance, and deployment. All the processes are estimated to cost $89,500. (Comentum.com, 2017)
Cost of Idea Protection
The copyright registration payment plain for E-Soko application would cost $85. The copyright has to be recorded on paper, i.e., paper filling of forms. Copyright registrations on paper cost $85. (Copyright.gov, 2017)
The total cost of obtaining a patent for the application is approximated at $19,930. Patent search costs $2500, provisional patent application at $6000, non-provisional patent application at $10,000, filing fee of the non-provisional patent application at $800 and professional illustrations at $500. (IPWatchdog.com | Patents & Patent Law, 2017)
Cost of Advertising E-Soko
Costs on social media marketing are calculated depending on the number of times the ad pops up to users. E-Soko will approximately use $600 in social media advertising.
Cost of Acquiring Goods and delivering them to clients
E-Soko is a new developing application that will not have been established in the market. A capital base of approximately $10,000 is required to facilitate the purchase and delivery of goods to clients. It is not possible for E-Soko to join the competitive world and have their warehouse.
E-Soko application has to be run on the cloud to avoid lapses in connection. Cloud services ensure that the application is accessed anytime by the users. Security of the application is also ensured through the encryption to avoid breaches. (Bently, L. and Sherman, B., 2014) Vehicles and motorbikes are required for deliveries. For overseas deliveries, shipping services are required. Developers need to make the application dynamic .i.e. E-Soko has to change depending on the customers needs.
Ability to Take the Idea Forward and explore how Knowledge and Skills Gaps are filled
Exploration of the E-Soko application will be done through frequent checks on the functionality of the application. More concentration should be put on the application, boost the browsing capabilities, and manage the application traffic. The application has to be attractive to the eyes of the users.
The application will have the expansion capabilities thus will support growth. The setup has to handle bigger traffic flows. E-Soko would have several data backup plans; both physical and cloud backups.
Best customer experience will be achieved by looking at E-Soko from a users perspective. User testing has to be a process frequently done to ensure customer retention. It is easier to identify errors in the application while viewing it from a users perspective.
Customer review is taken with great attention. What customers say about the idea says much about the organization and functionality of the application. E-Soko has an interface where customers can post their reviews about the satisfaction they receive from E-Soko.
Employment of more skilled workers would help the E-Soko shopping business grow. First, skill gaps have to be identified. For instance, E-Soko can invite more experienced developers to check the application and modify it if need be. Interested customers may also get interested in the business and join it as a worker. If the number of application users increases, there is need to increase the amount of workforce to meet the needs of customers.
Benchmarking is done to identify how activities are run. However, E-Soko developers should modify the information collected and come up with a better application. Before employment, a skill search should be done to identify the best employees to fill in the skill gaps in the business.
Summary and Recommendations
E-Soko Mobile Shopping Application is a bright idea which has been properly planned. With the current technologically evolving world, the application is expected to hit the headlines within two years. The project is worth investing on. The growth may be slow in the first year, but when the application becomes well known and used, profits would increase drastically. However, high initial costs are incurred in ensuring the application is up and running. For a start, the return on investment will be low because of a lower number of customers. The new application would be facing great competition from the already existing shopping applications. However, the return on investment would increase as more users download the application and use it to make purchases.
During the impleme...
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