Usability Study: AComparison between Amazon and EBay
Ecommerce evolved in the 90’s, social media and handheld devices have supercharged its growth. The growth is expected to surpass the retail rate by 2020. Since the evolution of e-commerce, Amazon and eBay are the few survivors of companies that were formed. They rank as top ten largest with regards to sales.
With regards to the above, a study was conducted to determine the level of customers’ satisfaction with the usability of the companies’ services. It involved 10 candidates composed of 7 males and 3 females. Eight (8) candidates aged between 19-22 and only two 26-35. Four (4) were Middle Easters, 3 Indian Americans, 1 Caucasian and 2 Asians. Four (4) were undergraduates and 6 graduates. They were involved in a 15 minutes interview consisting both open-ended and closed questions regarding the usability of the companies’ services such as the satisfaction with the layout of search screen, ease of using the website, feedback and information given to users
It found out that Amazon provides better function interface between buyers and high-quality products. The main attraction was the prime and free two-day shipping services. E-bay was concluded to provide a better interface for sellers who found it easier to sell a product by their own.
It recommends that Amazon should reduce the process of selling a product and establish a subsidiary for sellers or a third party to sell. EBay was to improve the search engine, help the customer find the accurate item and set up prime and student membership
E-commerce is defined as electronic commerce. It is interchangeably used with the term e-business and e-tail for e -retail. It means the selling and buying of services and goods and transmitting of data or funds via an electronic network and primarily, the Internet. The transactions occur as either, business to business (B2B), business to consumer (B2C), consumer to consumer (C2C) or consumer to business (C2B)(Caves 2000).
Amazon is one of the fortune 500 e-commerce companies. It is based in Seattle, WashingtonU.S.A. It was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos. It was one of the pioneer companies to sell products online. It was first considered as an online bookstore that later extended to a variety of goods such as electronics, DVD’s, CD’s, soft wares, Mp3’s, clothing, furniture, toys, food items and video games among others. The company has over 14,000 employees worldwide and tens of millions of customers. In addition, it has thousands of sellers and merchants and tens of thousands of external developers(Mennecke2002).
EBay is an online website that was developed sometime before September, 1995, by Pierre Omidyar-a 28 year old software developer. Pierre had previously worked with the Claris developing Software Company for Apple(Goldstein2002).
On eBay, you can find great deals just about anything depending on your need to buy at either fixed price or in an action style. There are more than 700 million items listed on eBay today. Its users are attracted by qualities of services that include easy to use, saving on time, online auction and the ability to personalize the eBay store(Rosen 2000).
E-commerce evolved following the opening of the Internet to commercial use in 1991. In 1994, the development of security protocols such as HTTP enhanced the rapid and persistent connection to the internet that allowed the exchange of business information and to conduct business transactions. This capability allowed many businesses in the U.S. to represent their services on the World Wide Web. The technologies laid down the background for today’s e-commerce(Laudon 2002).
The definition of e-commerce began to change in the year 2,000. It followed the dot-com collapse that involved the collapse of thousands of e-commerce businesses. Never the less, most of the world`s established retailers were convinced about the advantages of e-commerce that affected the ability to serve the global base through an electronic medium. In 2001, business to business transactions became the largest form of e-commerce and generated over $ 700 billion dollars in terms of sales(Djoleto 2013).
The creation of EBay and Amazon in the year 1994 began to lead the way in e-commerce. The companies were the first to develop prominent e-commerce brands. Currently, the majority of e-commerce categories are composed of computers, books, office supplies, music and electronics. The companies were among the pioneers of conducting internet transactions(Saleh 2010).
Ecommerce has substantial benefits as compared to the physical retail businesses. First, buyers can search via significant numbers of similar goods and services similar to their requirements. They can observe prices and create an order over a number of days and then send it to a wish list with the hope that someone will pay for them. The buyers can also conduct a comparison of the prices by the click on their computers or handheld devices and buy the selected products at the best prices(Rajput 2000).
Online sellers benefit from the visibility provided by the internet. Unlike the use of physical stores where the seller is limited to the geographical boundaries of the store, e-commerce enables the seller to display his goods or services to the global customer. The internet further reduces costs by eliminating advertising costs. In addition, the sellers can determine the tastes of the customers and hence the ability to deliver a tailored marketing campaign(Rajput 2000).
The emergence of e-commerce further reduced the barriers to entry that denied a chance towards the selling of many types of goods currently, small home based business owners use the internet to sell their goods and services. Recently, there are more than 60 fortune 1000 companies that generate substantial income to a maximum of $ 10 million from e-commerce services. The five largest retailers using the e-commerce model include Amazon, staples, office depot, Dell, Hewlett Packard and EBay. This indicates that the majority of products that are sold online include books, music, office supplies, computers and other consumable goods(Goldstein2002).
The number of e-commerce deals has been observed to grow enormously from year to yearCohan, P. (2000).
The online sales made by online stores have grown to become more than comparable to those made by physical stores. The tendency is expected to rise due to the imprisonment of people by household duties and work responsibilities. In addition, the internet provides the ability to view a variety of goods and services in addition to the opportunity to choose the best prices. The boost in e-commerce is the foundation for a great commerce future(Stjepandic2013).
E-commerce is also improving in terms of both quality and quantity. It’s hence becoming more apparent as the Internet has eliminated the geographical barriers from seller’s ability to sell. To survive, e-commerce forces the merchants to adapt to the current and ongoing trends in the industry(Caves 2000).
To attract more customers, traders are forced to increase the number of available services for their customers. This includes paying more attention to ensuring attractive designs, user friendliness appealing looks in the presentation of their customers and finally customer’s services. The latter has led to the conduct of the study in order to identify and compare different aspects of likeability, customer service, pricing and ease of usability of the EBay and Amazon companies.
A study was conducted to determine the satisfaction of customers with regards to the services offered by both eBay and Amazon.
The study involved 10 respondents who were classified in terms of gender that involved 3 females and 7males. The respondent’s age range included 8 respondents aged between19-25 and 2 respondents between 26-35. The respondent’s ethnic background consisted of Four (4) Middle Easters, three (3) Indian Americans, one (1) Caucasian and two (2) Asians. The various forms of identity included undergraduate, graduate, faculty or staff. Four respondents (4) were undergraduates while six (6) indicated to be graduates. The further classification was based on the respondents’ frequency of visiting Amazon or EBay and their preferences.
The respondents were involved in a 15 minutes session where they were asked both open ended and closed ended questions. An open-ended question asked the respondents to indicate whether they liked or disliked/ agreed or disagreed with the various aspects of the usability of the services. The usability issues included the page layout of the screen search layout on the company’s website, the ease of using the websites, the feedback messages given to users and the amount of information provided to the user about the requested item. Open-ended questions asked the respondents to complete certain tasks associated with the websites of the two companies for comparison purposes. They were instructed to perform tasks such as searching for a book. While they searched, they were requested to identify the lowest prices and a copy of the same book that had free shipping services. Later on, they were instructed to place a post to sell the same book in efforts to determine the ease of usability. Further, they were asked to identify the website that had a customer services phone number, customer services email and availability of a 24-hour online chat.
Open-ended questions asked the respondents to indicate the best and worst features about both Amazon and EBay.
The results and discussions are described in the following headings.
The results from the study indicated that in Amazon, most of the search criteria was met, it was easy to find the book to buy and the book was identified to have been released within the last two years. In addition, the respondents identified a low price and free shipping that takes 3-5 days. Further, there was no phone number although the site asked for the customer’s number and the company called after 2 minutes. There was a 24 hours chat.
I contrast in eBay, respondents found it hard to find the book and that most of the sellers had free shipping. There was a phone number that operated between 7 am- 10 pm-866-5403229. The site referred a customer to search for solutions on the popular questions sector.
With regards to ease of using the websites, 90% of respondents indicated they liked Amazon while 10% indicated to dislike. EBay received an equal number of likes and dislikes. The results are indicated below
With regards to feedback messages given to users, 100% indicated that they liked Amazon. EBay received 70% likes and 30% dislikes. As indicated:
With regards to the amount of information given to the user from the requested information. Amazon scored the highest -90% and 10% indicated to like and dislike the amount of information provided to the user in relation to the users requests respectively. EBay- 70% and 30% indicated to like and dislike respectively as shown below:
When asked whether they agree or dis agree with a statement that the websites are designed to prevent user error, the results were similar for both companies with 70% and 30% indicated to agree and disagree respectively. The results are indicated below:
Discussions and Conclusion
The respondents rated Amazon as the company that provides a better function and interface for buyers. The results also indicate that at Amazon, it is easy to find quality products and that the prime and free two days shipping were their major source of attraction towards the company’s services.
Similarly, the respondents rated EBay as providing better function and interface for sellers. In addition they found it easyplacing a post to sell a product.
Finally, the respondents indicated that security was the major quality that attracted them towards EBay’s services.
To improve customer satisfaction with its services, Amazon was recommended to reduce their process for selling a product and to develop a startup subsidiary for sellers or a third party to sell.
EBay was recommended to improve the search engine in order to help the customer to find the accurate item. Further, they should add a prime and student membership.
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