Designing And Developing An Online Bookstore: Review Of Literature
Almost every existing enterprise in this present age needs a website (E-Commerce) in other to communicate with customers (old and new), partners, and other business associates. So as to provide up-to-date information about the enterprise, its products and services to this external parties.
E-commerce/E-business was described by IBM as “the transformation of eminent business processes using Internet Technologies (IT)”. E-commerce had also been described by other scholars, Boone and Ganeshan (2007) define e-Commerce technologies as “using any digitally enabled inter- or intra- organizational IT or internet in other to achieve business processes.
Before the advent of Internet, commercial activities had been carried out using different methods. Methods like Buying and selling has been used as means of exchanging of goods with services which can also be referred to as trade by barter and Vice Versa. Later the advent of money (Coins, notes) was developed which is also used in exchange for goods and services. After the invention of the Internet, many improvements and activates have been carried out on the Internet Technology which might have been thought to be impossible in years back. Internet has been used to facilitate the process of trading thereby making the process of trading easy and fast compare to the traditional means of trading. Developing an E-commerce website requires designing a front-end and back-end technology. Front-End technology refers to the website interface in which the website user interacts with directly and it is developed using programs like:
Back-end service works in hand with the front-end technology. It’s described as the working engine of an E-commerce website acting as support to the front-end services. It comprises of three parts The Application, server and the Database which can be designed using the following programs:
Nowadays, various types of websites (including E-commerce) can be designed rapidly using Content Based Management Systems (CMS). This helps in designing professional and beautiful websites faster which saves time, money and stress. A popular example of a CMS is WordPress and will be explained later on in this chapter.
Developing on online bookstore
An online Book-store is an automated Bookshop which helps in automating every activities of a Bookshop which includes order processing, account management and stock management. Before developing an automated Book-store, we need to look into the concept of automated Book-store. Automation of any event or process is when a system is programmed to carry out an event or process activity automatically when the process is triggered to carry out the process which it is design for.
There are other examples of automation like self-destruction process in some devices, auto piloting in the aircraft systems, and also in home appliances (fire alarm, smoke detecting devices, security systems e. g. doors, and so on).
In this project, I try to develop an online automated Book Shop which provides all service of Book shop automatically. For example any customer or reader who wants to purchase book on the Book shop platform, he or she first search for the book he wants to purchase in the system’s platform. After he/she has seen the desired book which he searched for he can then add the book to cart, pay for the books online and invoice will be issued immediately after purchase.
This Book Store is built to model and carry out the activities of traditional bookstores. This book store can detect the status of every book in the store. Users can also search for other available bookstore to get hard copies of books not found in the Book store.
Evolution of e-commerce
E-commerce is the act of buying and selling of products and services using electronic means over the Internet. Online shopping in the recent years has experienced rapid growth due to its unique advantages to customers and retailers. Advantages such as 24/7 shopping, decreasing dependencies on store visits, saving transportation cost, access to multiple options given to customers etc. , has made e-commerce a huge success. According to a survey carried out by Internet Crime Compliant Center in 2009 on the world internet usage and population statistics, it reveals that 26. 6% of the total world’s population are internet users. This figure shows a growth rate of 399% per annum in the last 10 years.
With this type of growth rate, it is no news that the number of online shoppers have increased greatly over the years. Which was revealed by a research carried out by Nielsen Company on trends in online shopping. It was revealed that 85% of INTERNET users have purchased something over the INTERNET. The recent growth in the trend on of online shopping was achieved due to the satisfaction user derived from shopping online. This satisfaction motivates online shoppers to return thereby increasing interest in online shopping among users.
It was discovered by Roy (2008) that the country with the highest number of online shoppers was South Korea (99%), while Egypt had the least number of online shoppers (67%). In previous studies, several factors affecting e-commerce and online shopping have been identified especially internet accessibility.
In contrast, majority of Nigerians do not have access to the internet. A major study on internet usage in Nigeria reveals that 16% of the total populations are internet users while less than 1% of the populace are broadband and internet subscribers.
Features of an online bookstore
A Book store should provide the following features to its user for better usability:
- Shopping Link or buttons should be clearly defined.
- Easy navigation to any part of the site before and after adding item to the shopping cart.
- Simple navigation from homepage to any other link or information on the website.
- Minimal and effective security notification or messages.
- Consistency in site’s layout for product information.
- Effective categorization and organization of products.
- Effective feedback between user and the Book store.
Needs for an online bookstore
The need for an online Book Stores arises due to the challenges faced at physical Book store during the purchase of a Book or resource material. The stressful process of sourcing through thousands of book catalogs in large collection of book. And the enticing presentation of Books in Book store which can sometimes make customers spend more than budgeted on books and sometimes purchasing books which Users don’t even need.
This Bookstore is also created so that book readers can also purchase books from the convenience of their home, books can also be delivered to customers anywhere according to their shipment details. After searching through the web, I discovered that there is no Online Bookstore that offers home delivery (in Nigeria) to customers and also direct customers to locations where books can be easily bought in other to reduce the stress of searching for desired books at different location.
Due to factors stated above which serves has challenges to Book readers the need for online book shop has been an arising issue in some academic areas.
Weakness associated with online shopping facilities
The INTERNET is a very big network comprising of different networking technologies. While shopping on the Internet is more convenient, security and payments technology have been improved to threshold problems encountered by online shoppers. Developing trust and confidence into user is one of the major challenge on online shopping which may be overcome by carrying out door-to-door shopping. Other limitations to online shopping are:
- Receiving wrong products
- Damaging products during delivery transfers
- Delay in product delivery
- Product rejection by customers
- Worries when buying from foreign Companies
- Online Scams.
This section provides a critical review of various technologies which are used in maintaining online shopping facilities. This section further categories developments into front-end and back-end technologies.
The front end technology
The front end technologies as listed above are described below:
HyperText Markup Language (HTML)
HTML is short for Hypertext Markup Language, and it primarily developed by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990. It is used for creating web or electronic documents which are mostly displayed on the Internet. Each of this page can contains series of connections to other pages or any part of the page. This connections are called Hyperlinks. There are different versions of HTML with the current version to be HTML5, any web page on the internet is written with either this version of HTML or any other version.
Without HTML, Internet browser will not know how to present content of the Web pages. Therefore, HTML codes ensures that page content are well formatted with information so that Internet browsers may display them as they are intended to look. HTML contents may include text, images, icons, videos, audios etc.
Cascading Style Sheet (CSS)
CSS is short for Cascading Style Sheet primarily developed by Hakon Wium Lie in 1994. In December 1996, CSS was made a specification by the W3C and today it is used by web developers to control and manipulate the layouts and appearances of their webpages. CSS can be used to control fonts and style texts on webpage, it can also be used to create beautifully blended colors on webpages and so on. CSS has evolved over the years and more functions have been added to this web technology consistently.
Back end technology
Back end technologies that will be adopted for the implementation of the proposed system model are described below:
Preprocessor Hypertext (PHP)
PHP is an acronym with the full meaning Preprocessor Hypertext. It is language used to code the back-end of a website otherwise known as server-side part of a website and it is a scripting language for communicating with server. It is the most widely-used and general-purpose open source scripting language. It is mostly embedded into HTML codes and a full website can be built with PHP and HTML only. PHP is an Object-Oriented programming language, using this language complex and useful website using functions and procedures. This language uses the concept of encapsulation allowing to associate values and function into one unit. PHP is also used to build dynamic and interactive webpages. PHP can directly access the websites’ server and carry out basic operations (e. g. open, delete, create etc. ) on the database.
This is a language for manipulating and accessing a database. MYSQL queries are used to execute queries against the database. Different query operation can be performed on the database e. g. Insert, delete, update, drop, select etc. MYSQL can also be used in creating new database and also in populating these database. Data in the database are in form of tables so, Mysql can set permission, procedures and different views on the exist tables and can also create new ones. [image: ]Figure: A SQL syntax sample (SELECT statement). MYSQL is common used for webpages and has replaced the traditional database system due to its reliability, speed and flexibility.
PHPMYADMIN is used to manage MYSQL servers and databases. It combines PHP an SQL into one engine which can be used to perform operations using Graphic User Interface (GUI). PHPMYADMIN is basically designed to query the database using the GUI displayed above. The system can also perform operations like exporting data sets in PDF, LATEX, CSV format etc.
XAMPP stands for extensible as for “cross platform” (X), Apache (A), MYSQL (M), PHP (P), Perl or Python (P) and all of this are installed in this single package (XAMPP). It’s cross platform due ability to work on multiple operating systems. Similarly there exist other software which performs same function as that of XAMPP, we have WAMP, LAMP and MAMP. These similar software perform same function as that of XAMPP but they are not cross platform. XAMPP is used for developing website locally on the User’s Personal Computer (PC). It is used instead of an online server, it comprises of all the server part all in one Package.
AbanteCart is an open source e-commerce solution for small and midsize businesses that helps users create online stores to sell products and services. Key features include HTML5 responsive templates, catalog management, a discount coupons system, multi-store management, a shopping cart feature, channel management and SEO management. AbanteCart allows users configure the images, categories and products that appear on their site. Multi-store capabilities allow users to manage multiple stores from a single platform. On the customer management side, AbanteCart offers a discount coupon system, customer account management and order monitoring by email and text message notification. AbanteCart supports various payment options including Stripe, PayPal, MOLPay, BitcoinPay and SagePay.
This software will be used for developing the proposed system in order to save cost and time. In building the system, the software requires manipulating the database and editing the bookstore interface via admin page which has been provided by the software.
Problems of Existing System
Having overviewed the existing system (in Nigeria), the following problems noticed are:
- There is no appropriate search engine in some of the online bookstore.
- The websites layout and graphics are not attractive.
- There are no devices which gives users the impression of visiting the website again.
- Some of the So-called online bookstores are not actually performing their purposes.
- There is no means of purchasing the e-version of various books online.
- There are no reviews and feedback given to new customers about book purchase.
- These systems are not scalable.
This study has discussed the relevant publications in the area of designing and developing an Online BookStore website. This chapter has also presented the evolution of the internet and ecommerce over the years. Thereafter, the chapter extensively discusses shortcomings associated with the existing models pertaining to this type of system.
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