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ViaBela: Online Buying Cite Research Proposal

Introduction

In the 21st century, there has been an increased use of the Internet to access information, trade, interact and communicate among different classes of people; people have different uses of the Internet, for instance, in modern colleges, the use of the Internet as a learning aid has taken center stage. Businesses are taking advantage of scientific innovations and invention to reduce and control their expense, one of recent technological development that have been implement in business is the use of online “shops” instead of traditional physical location shops.

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The Internet has brought about diversity in every sector of the economy; in education for instance, there are some online certificates of competence offered via the Internet. With the development of the computers, almost each company whether profit making or nonprofit making, countries embassies and local government are having a website that gives information (that is meant for public consumption) about the organization. The individuals are not left behind, almost everybody, especially the youth, who are computer literate have an email address.

In the beauty industry, the Internet has widened consumer solemnity: however, differences in preference among people of different nationality limit the use of internet as a trading tool. For example, most Americans love tanned skin whereas most Asians prefer paled skin, as a result, most Asians focus more on sun care products and paling masks, on the other hand most Asians are not willing to try the American skin care products, as they fear their ingredients might hurt their skin. To accommodate these two extremes in one online selling site calls for a site that is responsive to both needs.

With the differences in mind, creating program that will focus on Asian products for with the target market being Asians living in the United states is crucial; for this project, the name of the online buying cite will be called “ViaBela”

This paper discusses jurisdiction, copyright, trademarks and domain names, privacy polices/ protection, and applicable laws of contracts that are likely to affect the project. It will explore copyrights needed to be registered to protect creations and ideas, website trademark, domain name, privacy policies to protect clients and how to conduct contracts for the business partners of this website. To get insight information on the trend of Asian beauty industry, an in-depth research will be conducted in the Asian market and the information derived will be used as the basis of writing this report.

Research Question

The prime objective of “ViaBela”’ is to become a popular website where majority college students, in the larger United States, can purchase Asian skin and body care product. In order to achieve the primal objective, the implementing team will build strong networks with college associations such as Chinese Student Association, Hong Kong Student Association, Taiwanese Student Association, and Chinese American Student Association among others.

In joint events and parties between universities, the teams will be able learn more about students in other universities by joining the events through association’s broad member’s introduction and one-on-one interactions; this will also be a form of data collection. This will also be a marketing strategy; another strategy that the team wants to use to get information from other institutes is the use of key players/key people; for example, there is close exchange of information among committee members of different associations such key players can be used to advocate for the products in their respective institutions.

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The project will also target new college students and aim to meet their needs so as they can feel more comfortable and relieved once they begin their education in the U.S. as far as buying skin and body care products is concerned. As an addition to selling tool and in the efforts of creating good customer service, the website will be kept updated with information of the latest medical skin care techniques and products.

Like any other business-oriented project, the project aims at making some benefit/profits, the projected profit margins are 15-20% of the total collection from clients. In order to financial goal, the site will invest in credibility and trustworthiness by putting reliable source online, process the order and ship the products as quickly as possible, provide accurate contact information for customers to track their products status and asks questions.

Literature and Case Review

Jurisdiction

Online commerce is claimed to be one of the least protected segments of the business market, protective measures should be introduced to protect stakeholders and consumers of the services and products. When some instances of violation of laws occur, this problem is usually considered in accordance with the laws of the country in which the crime was committed. However, the concept of the Internet is an international issue and every time the crime is committed, it should be taken as an international issue; violation is in terms of the online business hackling and violation of right of companies or customers, which calls for immediate actions to be taken.

Operating an international jurisdiction can be regarded as the right to resolve the problem in case of law violation. As suggested by Kohl (2007), “…jurisdiction in respect of criminal and other public law, it is customary international law which provides the source of the legal rules in question” (p. 6). Kohl (2007) analyzes jurisdiction in terms of laws, their violation, and laws that should be used to solve the problem.

The concept of jurisdiction is of primary importance when it comes to analysis of the situation and regulation of problems that occur in specific circumstances. Harmonization of jurisdictions is of essence since some are the same yet operating in different areas and others are different, For example, “the US general jurisdiction rules resemble Articles 2 and 59 of the Brussels I regulation”, however they the two jurisdictions operate in different areas (Wang, 2010, pp. 65-66).

In this respect, the jurisdiction concerns the right to regulate the problem and apply certain laws. However, as suggested by Wang (2010), issues related to online commerce should be regulated in accordance with acts and laws applicable to the international conventions and acts; in addition, each country that has companies that operate in the online business market, should adapt laws that resemble international regulations.

Copyright

Another approach that can help solve problems occurring in the field of online commerce is the copyright; copyrights are used as a protective measure to guarantee safe market for companies and consumers of products and services.

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As Quénel (2004) defines, “Copyrights are a form of protection giving their owners the exclusive right to reproduce or use the intended work or to distribute copies of it, as well as to perform or display it publicly” (p. 6). Copyright is one of the protective measures used in business, a tool that assists in protecting both the users and developers of online business sites. Violation of the copyright leads to criminal liability bore by the company or individual involved in the violation of the rules of copyright. So, when the copyright is violated, the international regulations should be used to solve this problem and protect the copyright of the company in future.

Though copyright is not only way to protect one’s right for business and specific business models and strategies used to succeed in certain field, it has proved successful than other policies in the market. For instance, when developing a new website for selling popular skin and body care products to Asian college students, it is necessary to conduct a research on the market to allocate the products effectively without violation of other companies’ copyrights.

As suggested by Torremans (2010), it is necessary to review the national copyright laws with regard to the contract so that only appropriate copyright laws are applicable to the contract and no misunderstandings occur in case of violation of the copyright laws (pp. 62-63). Moreover, many companies that currently operate in the market of skin and body care products aimed at Asian segment of population.

Trademark and domain names

Trademarks are used to differentiate a company’s products or services from products of other companies in the same field; it is a business strategy that aims at offering a company its rights to enjoy inventions and innovations it has created. It goes more that using different names to considering the production formulas used; some companies try to use other is names though this can be considered as a violation if the company has a registered trademark and operates under it. T

Therefore, when designing the trademark of “ViaBela,” adequate measures will be taken to ensure that it does not resemble any other country in color, value, ingredients and approach. Instead, the implementing team will design a special trademark for the website in order to differentiate “ViaBela” from numerous online skin and body care products companies. As Eaglesham (2001) claims, US Trademark and Patent Office reviews the companies that operate under different Internet domains that do not reflect the essence of their business. For instance, “A new set of seven gTLDs has been sanctioned by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), including two -.biz and.info – with direct relevance for business” (Eaglesham, 2001, p. 12).

As required by law, when “ViaBela” operates as a website to sell skin and body care products, it should not take the domain.gov or.museum because it is not a governmental organization and museum. As reported by Business/Technology Editors (2000), the decision to introduce a number of new domain extensions was made to make the internet clearer for people that are interested in specific issues. As such, different companies can choose the domain that fits their activities. In this respect, “ViaBela” should reflect its activity in the name of the company and its domain extension. For instance, it is possible to take the.biz extension as it is applicable to all businesses or the.info extension as it is applicable to non-commercial and commercial issues.

Privacy policies and protection

Privacy policies are very important to be considered, especially when a customer provides personal information and wants to be sure that there would be no leakage. In case of selling skin and body care products to Asian students, the information should be organized in a clear way. As reported by Berendt et al. (2003), “To support the rich and service-dependent interaction users desire, PET should monitor third-party services … [and] record all interactions with all Web services, creating information-rich client-side profiles” (pp. 6-7). These protection measures are necessary only if the site provides customers with membership discounts that require personal information that should be protected in accordance with the best privacy practices for online commerce.

As online commerce presupposes that a company sells products and provides services directly to consumers avoiding third parties, the privacy policies should be considered to protect the rights of the company and its customers if leakage of information or another problem occurs. Spiekermann et al. (2001) advocate the establishment of regulations for the entire world that operates with the help of Internet resources. As such, it is necessary to provide information to customers, collect information about customers, and ensure all data are properly protected with the help of technological measures and privacy policies common for all companies that operate in the e-commerce business.

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When an individual provides some personal information to the company, he/she expects this company has privacy policies and can protect the information in an appropriate manner. As suggested by Spiekermann et al. (2001), privacy policies “need to be designed in such a way that they allow even moderately computer-literate online users to protect themselves from the degree of self-disclosure they are afraid of” (p. 9).

Contracts

A contract is an integral part of the company’s operation and maintenance; it gives the legal existence of a project or company, Winn & Wright, 2001, p. 5-3 notes that, “In order to accelerate the elimination of unnecessary paper and writing requirements, federal legislation modeled after Uniform electronic Transactions Act (UETA) was enacted in 2000”. In adherence to legal rights and legislations, companies selling skin and body care products through the online store should take into account the acts enacted and review the gaps so that every customer could enjoy the quality of provided goods and services. However, if some problems with the products occur, a customer should have an opportunity to complain, get the compensation, or use other options available under the contract.

As the contracts should have specific requisites, the contracts for e-commerce undergone certain changes because the “contracts laws …of the United States are for most part based on the Uniform commercial Code (UCC)” (Schwabach, 2006, p. 52), which means that we should include signatures, seals and trademarks. The problem with these requirements is the cooperation of other companies, manufacturers, and dealers.

Justification

As indicated earlier ViaBela,” is a website that will have all the information Asian students need during their study abroad more specifically in the United States; it will be very important for the site to upload credible articles about the accurate skin and body care products and share such information with the site visitors/clients. The main reason why an idea to have ViaBela,” was developed is because Asian students’ skin and body may have dramatic change when there is a change of their living environment, and therefore, need to know how to prevent from skin corruption and how to maintain a healthy skin and body shape. The site will involve an analysis of which products are suitable to which skin type.

After viewing the literature that related to our company, the managing teams have concluded that the field of online commerce has great options for launching a website that would sell skin and body care products for Asian students. The website should have an appropriate domain extension so that it was recognizable and potential customers do not confuse it with educational sources and databases. Moreover, privacy policies and copyright should be considered for the website to ensure that no leakage of customers’ personal information occurs and no third party would violate its rights. The problem of contracts emerges when it comes to partnership and cooperation.

Method

In order to understand more about the skin and body care products market of Asian student, an online survey on students’ daily habits of skin and body care was conducted. At the very beginning of the survey questionnaire, it was structured to ask for basic information of the participants, including their gander, name, institution that they study at, age among others. This was in the hope to get a basic background of our potential customers, such as their nationality and level of maturity that affect their decisions in purchasing skin and body care products.

The questionnaires used were structured to get a sense of our potential customers’ geographic position in order to determine whether it is possible to ship our products to the customers free, and how many days maximum the shipping will take to deliver the products. It is very important for us to build our credibility by processing the order and delivering the products to potential customer within a short period.

In addition, the website is going to provide basic dermatology knowledge, such as why do people need to use toning product after washing their face and what is the possible consequences if they do not use sun screens. Questions regarding people’s habit of using masks, preferred brands, and most importantly, their tendency to purchase online products and how much they will to spend were asked alongside other leading questions. The survey is intended to help “ViaBela” to build a solid foundation in understanding the market of the target customers and hence, become a trustworthy, credible and popular website to help Asian students in the United States.

After completing the research, data will be interpolated and analyzed to decide which brand needs to be stocked, which products of particular brands needs to be focused on, and the quantity of the products. As a marketing strategy, the team will send notifications and requests to the board members of Asian student associations in all the colleges in U.S. to notify them that the existence of “ViaBela” and see whether they can allow the site to be advertised in their associations website.

“ViaBela” Business Plan

Executive Summary

Overview

“ViaBela” is an online company that selling popular skin and body care product to Asian college student. The name of the website, “ViaBela” is a combination of its founders nicknames, Via and Bela. The selections of the company’s products are mainly based on the respond survey from college students, such as cleansing, moisture, and mask. The website does not only sell products, but also promote different kinds of products and provide information to maintain healthy skin and body.

Unique & innovative

“ViaBela” will be the only website that carrier skin and body products from Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong for both male and female, at the same time, the site provides the unique professional details and tips of different kinds of products. “ViaBela” will also hold a question and answer column in order to answer customers’ concerned problems. In addition, customers can vote their preferred products every month, and “ViaBela” will provide some special offers for those top five products voted by customers. The innovativeness of “ViaBela” emphasizes the Asian skin and body products development in the United States.

Finance

“ViaBela” financial budget is estimated to be approximately $5000 for products, copyright, trademarks, and domain name, which each of the owners’ investments are documented at approximately $2500, 50%. Among the $ 5000, copyright, trademark and domain name cost approximately$500. For initialization, the project is planned to spend around $3000 on buying goods for selling and $1500, be held as working capital. In the first year of this business, annual gross sales are projected to grow approximately 3%, and the following years are projected to grow approximately 5%.

Mission

“ViaBela” has its main mission statement as:” to be the most reliable online buying company, providing essential beauty products to its clients in an effective time frame”, the above main mission can be splinted in the following five main areas:

  • the site that provides Asian college student preferred skin and body care product.
  • the site that offers professional product’s details and tips to the students
  • the site that contains a question and answer column that help to answer customer’s problems.
  • the site that holds a vote competition very month and the top five items will provide special offers to attract memberships and customers. “ViaBela” includes the shipping service that is able to ship to different states in the US which convenience for students.
  • The site that helps college students to learn acquire knowledge of dermatology, and also helps Asian students to acquire information of protecting their skin in the states and provide a convenient way to purchase safe products.

Keys to Success

In order to be successful in online-beauty industry, “ViaBela” will have a superiority on persuading student to browse this website since the founders have a rich knowledge about Asian trends, traditions and well understand their problems as far as beauty products is concerned. The founders have gone through the problems thus they can understand the problem from an observatory and experience angle. Therefore, it increases our trustworthiness on the opinions and ideas of different products; the founders are from different countries; Hong Kong and Tai Wan for Via and Bela respectively. Both countries sell numerous Japanese skin and body care products, which help and guide the founders to provide different information of the products.

Objectives

The main objective of “ViaBela” is to be a trusted site where Asians living in the United states will get a chance to buy reliable beauty products and get advices on current products in the market to improve their skin.

Company Summary

“ViaBela” is founded by Shian Ann Chia and Yin Tun Isabela Lai; they are students at University of Southern California, majoring in Communication. Their main drive to start up the site is their self drive, interest and problems they have encounter in the past; as a coincidence, the founders have an interest of researching different products in the beauty industry thus when the idea came, they were able to develop it with ease. Both have suffered the deficiency of Asian beauty products in the United States Market thus seeing the opportunity that current situation offers.

Products and Services

“ViaBela” will offer a variety of beauty products, which include face washing products, cleansing products, mortising products among others; it will also offer whole body care products that help our customers to maintain a perfect body shape. The company will have its products supplied from Japan and Tai Wan; the supplying countries have reliable beauty products that the Asian college students can afford. To remain reliable, the site will offer modern products in the market and offer reliable advises to its clients.

“ViaBela” website includes question and answer column that consumers can ask any questions about the company’s services and products; this is one of the models used to create good relations with customers using the site. It will offer membership to interested parties; the membership will come with some benefits accruing to the member. The site will also contain some professional information and products details for the consumers so that it can build more product knowledge on its customers. The company will offer shipping services to not only ship to California, but also other states in the U.S.

Web Plan Summary

ViaBela will serve as a beauty products selling point, with its main target customers as Asian students in the United States of America. Alongside its main core business, the site will offer professional advises on beauty products as well as keeping customers updated on products in the market. As a marketing tool, the company will be offering discounts and customized services to its clients so as it can build a strong brand name and create brand identity.

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