Task 10, Question 14

Discuss the social, legal, and ethical issues that the manager of a sell-side e-commerce web site needs to consider to avoid damaging relationships with users of his or her site or which may leave the company facing prosecution.

In today’s day and age all e-commerce websites must follow certain legislation. First of all websites must be accessible for all and what I mean by this is that there shouldn’t be any barriers that stop interaction or access to a website. So for example there should be warnings for any flashing images for those who suffer from photosensitive epilepsy, there should options to increase/decrease font size and change contrasting colours for those who suffer from eyesight problems. These are only a few examples of many accessibility features that must be added to websites in today’s society to meet not only ethical standards but to also meet new legislation.

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To meet legal regulations and standards the company behind the website (Sports Direct) must also offer genuine products, with the possibility of returns if the customer has the right. Failure to do this will result in not only a bad company image and bad relationship with customers, the business could also run into serious trouble and could have to pay some hefty fines as they are not following regulations and denying customers their rights. This again will result in a terrible company image.

To keep up with social standards to manager of the site must consider products that could be considered biased. As Sports Direct is being used in the this example they should offer a wide range of jerseys and not a select few, especially if there is rival teams, they must offer products from both teams or none at all to avoid conflict which could ruin customer relationships.

As an e-commerce website is being discussed in this question then obviously customers/users of the sites information will be required to sign up and purchase from the site. So obviously the manager must consider legislation regarding customers information e.g. The Data Protection Act 1988 and the business/website must be compliant with regulations such as these. By following these regulations it improves the company image and also builds up trust with customers. There is also certain ethical issues around the topic of customer’s private information. Customers should be allowed to have some control over their information, what I mean by this is they should have the option of whether or not they want to receive emails from the business and things such as this.

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The manager of the site also needs to consider social mores of different countries and ethnics by providing graphics, text in keeping with these social mores. This is another form of keep the website up to date and current which is likely to attract more customers and a wide customer base. The website should also be responsive and interact with customers and provides places for customers and users to leave their opinions and feedback. By providing feedback sections and getting back to customers through channels such as email promptly with clean and concise information is a great way to keep up with ethical standards and to build good relationships with customers.

NCDAE. 2017. Web Accessibility Issues. [ONLINE] Available at: http://ncdae.org/resources/cheatsheets/accessibility.php. [Accessed 20 April 2017].

Course Hero. 2017. Chapter 4 E-Environment. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.coursehero.com/file/11221565/04/. [Accessed 20 April 2017].

dataprotection.ie. 2017. A guide to your rights. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.dataprotection.ie/docs/A-guide-to-your-rights-Plain-English-Version/r/858.htm. [Accessed 20 April 2017].

Thatcher, Jim. Web Accessibility. 1st ed. Berkeley, CA: Friends of Ed, 2006. Print.


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