Title: Game-Theory Evaluation of E-Commerce Strategies: Dissertation Proposal

Name of Student

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Date of SubmissionABSTRACT

E-commerce has experienced high rate of growth over the past few years. As this growth takes place, small businesses benefit by developing the capacity to reach out beyond the regional market, and into the international market. However, there are challenges that are riding on this business expansion. One of the challenges is competition as the number of players in this field rise on a daily basis. The proposed dissertation is going to evaluate the strategies that are adopted by these companies as they try to survive in this business. This is a proposal of the dissertation that the writer aspires to research on. The evaluation will be carried out from the game theory perspective. Mathematical formulae will be used in evaluating the strategies.


1.0: Background


Evaluating e-Commerce Strategies: Dissertation Proposal

It is erroneous at this time and age to refer to the internet as a new phenomenon. Rather, it should be conceptualized as an integral part of society in the twenty first century. It has established a niche in our life and it seems that it is here to stay. But the internet is also in a constant state of change. Volatility is its nature. This can be seen as defining points of its power and efficacy in our lives.

This shifting of ground as far as the internet is concerned means that those businesses that are carried out online also have to try and adapt to these changes. Failure to do this will leave the businesses in a precarious position, where they will be forced to close down or change line of operation.

This is where the e-commerce finds themselves faced with challenges. Decisions have to be made quickly so as to keep with the changing tide. The problem for these companies is compounded by the fact that traditional business management practices and theories are rendered useless by the changes. As such, the executives have to come up with new strategies to cope with the changes. Careful decisions have to be made, despite the fact that these decisions are made very fast for them to be relevant.

The need to come up with decisions which are well thought out and which are effective necessitates the need to evaluate the strategies that the e-commerce business is applying. These strategies are evaluated and compared with others that are available for the enterprise to adopt. Several strategic measures are adopted when this evaluation is been carried out. This will enable the executives to come up with the best strategies to adopt from the myriad of others out there.

1.1: Problem Statement


Evaluating e-Commerce Strategies: Dissertation Proposal

E-commerce is the process where goods and services are exchanged over the internet, as opposed top the traditional mode of exchange where the buyer and the seller have to come into physical contact (Sandra, 2009). The development of this business model has created opportunities for small enterprises which have no capital to open physical addresses from where to carry out their businesses. These businesses can utilize the internet to expand their outreach beyond the local or regional market (Sandra, 2009). As a result, they can transact business with clients from any corner of the world, provided the two are connected to the internet.

Just like the traditional physical market, competition is as stiff and rife in e-commerce (Neumann, 2008). An e-business that wishes to make it here has to make sure that they are always ahead of their competitors. A competitive advantage has to be developed and sustained. To achieve this, the executive have to come up with strategies that they should adapt in the e-commerce world. These strategies have to be sound and rooted in reality.

Morgenstern (2007) opines that e-commerce strategies are plans that are developed by the e-business aiming to raise the level and volume of the commerce conducted online. This is necessitated by the fact that the internet is one of the fastest growing markets in our economy. E-businesses have to take advantage of this growth lest they are relegated to the status of failed entities (Morgenstern, 2007).

The strategies are basically developed in order to address the issues of the clients. The aim is to improve on the point of view of the online shopper (Winston, 2008). What this portends to the e-business executives is that success will only be achieved by involving the online clientele in all the processes that the business develops. The comfort of the client, together with his ease of accessing the site and shopping, is taken into consideration throughout the process.

The proposed dissertation is going to evaluate e-commerce strategies that an online business can develop and adapt. The dissertation will use a game theoretical approach to analyze the competition that the business is facing, the come up with the best strategies to counter this competition. As is the norm with any game theoretical approach, the analysis will be conducted


Evaluating e-Commerce Strategies: Dissertation Proposal

using mathematical principles. As such, the strategy that will be recommended by the proposed dissertation will be grounded on mathematical evaluation.

1.2: Objectives of the Study

The major objective of this study will be to evaluate e-commerce strategies from a game theory approach. To achieve this, the researcher will be guided by several specific objectives. These are as listed below:

1. Identification of the various e-commerce strategies available

2. Analysis of these strategies from a game-theory perspective

3. Identification of the best strategy(s) for the e-commerce

4. Identification of implementation procedures

5. Recommendations

1.3: Research Questions

The writer will be striving to answer several questions as he conducts the research. The answering of these research questions is what is going to determine the success or lack of it thereof in this study (Binmore, 2007). The degree to which the writer will address these


Evaluating e-Commerce Strategies: Dissertation Proposal

questions is going to determine in effect the degree of the research. The research questions for this study are as listed below:

1. What are the various e-commerce strategies that are available for businesses?

2. How can these strategies be evaluated to come up with the best?

3. Which are the best strategies that can be adopted by the e-business?

4. What are the justifications for (3) above?

1.4: Justifications for the Dissertation

Golde (2008) is of the view that at any given time, there are several studies that are been conducted in any given field. This been the case, any new study within the discipline needs to be justified on the basis of the value that it is going to add to the field. It is the responsibility of the researcher to convince the reader that the research that he is going to undertake is relevant and of value to the field. This is the only way that it can be justified.

The findings of the proposed dissertation are going to be of much help to the world of e-commerce. Given the rate at which the internet business is growing at, challenges are inevitable. These challenges range from competition to relevance of the products and services been offered (Churchston, 2009).


Evaluating e-Commerce Strategies: Dissertation Proposal

To overcome these challenges, the executives of any e-business have to come up with strategies that they will employ in the process. There is a myriad of strategies that are at the disposal of the business. All of these strategies cannot be adopted at the same time by one company. This creates an impetus for the executives to pick one or few of the strategies available. The picking process is very crucial because not every strategy will work for the particular business (Churchston, 2009). The efficacy of any one strategy to the business will depend on several factors inherent to the business. These include size, capacity and the products that are been offered by the business (Sandra, 2009).

This is the reason why the executives have to come up with a scientifically founded strategy. This dissertation will evaluate those strategies that exist in this field. The evaluation will be conducted scientifically, using the mathematical model of game theory. The game theory will consider the capacity and other attributes of the business and the competitors (Russell, 2006). The final strategies that the dissertation will come up with will then be very fitting to the organization in question.

1.5: Scope and Limitations of the Study

E-commerce is a very wide and extensive field. A research of this scale cannot effectively deal with every facet of this field. It is due to the sheer size of any field that the researcher needs to concentrate his efforts on a particular aspect of the field. This will allow him to extensively cover this aspect and in effect, provide pertinent data that makes his study even more credible (Vulkan & Nir, 2007).

This dissertation will limit itself to evaluation of strategies in e-commerce. The writer will concentrate on those strategies that are aimed at addressing competition to the business. This is as opposed to other strategies aimed at improving the image of the company, enhancing the relationship between the clients and the business and such other goals. The writer will also limit himself to those strategies that can be evaluated mathematically. This is because he is going to use the game theory approach.


Evaluating e-Commerce Strategies: Dissertation Proposal


According to Doyle & Cabana (2008), every research should be grounded in theory. This is because theories are the instruments that inform the collection and structuring of knowledge in any field. Theories are specific to fields or they can be applied to wide spectrum of fields.

This dissertation is going to be informed by one theory: game theory.

2.1: Game Theory

Game theory is a mathematical method of making decisions when one is presented with a competitive scenario (Russell, 2006). The aim of this theoretical application is to analyze the situation and then come up with the most beneficial and fitting course of action. This theory is frequently employed in field where competition is the order of the day. They include politics, economics and military undertakings.

When the theory is applied, the behaviors of the facets that are involved in the situation are captured mathematically. For a business in a competitive environment, the success of the choice that has been made depends on the choices that have already been made by the competitors of the business (Vulkan & Nir, 2007). That is why it is very important for the choices that the company is about to make and those that have already been made by the competitors, or are likely to be made the competitors, to be analyzed mathematically.

2.2: Applicability of this Theory to the Dissertation


Evaluating e-Commerce Strategies: Dissertation Proposal

The writer is of the view that this theoretical framework is the best for this type of study. This is because the study will be analyzing the strategies that can be adopted by the company in a competitive environment. The choices of other players in the e-business will determine the success of the choices that will be adopted by this company. It then becomes crucial to determine the effects that the interaction of the company’s choices and those of the competitor will have. This should bee done as accurately as possible. Mathematical determination is the most accurate to determine this in this study.


3.1: Target Population

This dissertation will take the form of a survey. The target population for this survey will be the e-businesses. This is any firm that is involved in buying and selling of goods and services on the internet.

3.2: Sample Population

It is a fact beyond doubt that there are very many firms that are involved in internet business around the world. This means that the researcher will have to limit the scope of the dissertation and focus on a particular portion of the population (Doyle & Cabana, 2008).

The sample population for this dissertation will be the e-businesses that are based in the United States of America. The writer will further limit the scope of the dissertation to include those firms that have all their activities based online. This means that those firms which sell their wares online as supplementation of the traditional means of exchange will not be included in the dissertation.


Evaluating e-Commerce Strategies: Dissertation Proposal

3.3: Unit of Observation

The unit off observation for this study will be the US based e-commerce businesses.

3.4: Unit of Analysis

The unit of analysis for this study will be competition that is faced by these companies and the strategies to avert and control this competition.

3.5 Procedure for Data Collection

This study, as earlier stated, is going to be a survey based one. The writer will get his information from published and unpublished sources. This means that he will gather information on the companies under study and their competition using sources such as the internet, books and other written materials.

3.6: Challenges Anticipated

There are several challenges that the writer has to contend with as he conducts the research. This include, among others, lack of documented materials on the companies picked. This is because for the larger part, the writer is going to rely on library materials and the internet. Due to privacy considerations, most of these companies will not have made their information public. The writer is going to overcome this challenge by specially requesting these materials from the companies and insisting on the confidentiality of the study.


Evaluating e-Commerce Strategies: Dissertation Proposal

3.7: Data Presentation and Analysis

The data will be presented in prose form. This is the data about the strategies that the companies are adopting to deal with competition. The data will be analyzed using mathematical formulae that the writer will have specifically developed for this study. Game theory is going to be used to analyze the strategies that the writer identifies. The best strategies to be adopted will also be determined by use of the same theory.

3.8: Resources Required

The success of this study depends on the availability of the following resources:

1. Access card to the school library

2. Access to internet

3. Access to the websites of the e-commerce companies identified

4. Stationery



Evaluating e-Commerce Strategies: Dissertation Proposal

There has been unprecedented growth in the e-business sector of the economy over recent years. This growth has been fueled by the incorporation of the internet as an integral part of everyday life. As the growth continues, the opportunities for the small and medium sized enterprises also increase.

But there are challenges that are emerging which these companies have to contend with. These challenges include, among others, shifting of consumer taste and preferences and increased risk of internet fraud. But the biggest challenge that these companies have to contend with is competition. This is because there has been proliferation of online business as the industry expands.

This research proposal is a detailed description of the study that the writer is aspiring to conduct. He will be evaluating the strategies that are adopted by these companies to deal with competition. The analysis will be carried out using the game theory perspective.


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Evaluating e-Commerce Strategies: Dissertation Proposal

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Winston, A. C. (2008). Opportunities and challenges in e-commerce. London: London University Press, 456.