||According to the latest statistical estimates of the Market Intelligence and Consulting Institute (commonly known as the MIC), e-commerce sales in Taiwan will likely achieve an 11% increase over the previous year and reach more than NT$1.25 trillion in 2017, of which NT$687.5 billion will be contributed by enterprises that provide services to consumers via e-commerce. As functions of social networking websites continue to improve and it becomes easier to develop integrated website communities, more and more physical stores and online e-commerce platforms are engaged in developing their own social e-commerce platforms.|
For a social e-commerce platform to be successful, the building of a platform’s service and product strategies and the import of service technology capabilities into the platform have to work synergistically. The unique features and customization required for any given social e-commerce platform make the introduction of a system an even more complex task. A general systems developer might only be capable of building simple platform and back-end design template. Although some website platform service integration providers provide rapid construction services that complete the building of a website in only a few days, such quick services have a down side in that their output lacks uniqueness.
The purpose of this case study is to understand the subject company’s experience in introducing a social e-commerce platform service system into its operations. This experience can be divided into four stages: outsourced system development, own system development, system redevelopment, and system reconstruction and redevelopment. Challenges faced by the company, solutions to the challenges, and their influences on the introduction of the social e-commerce platform service system into operations were investigated. Study findings show that the subject company initially outsourced system development to a provider whose capabilities and professionalism were both insufficient; the system introduction strategy therefore required adjustment. In the system redevelopment stage, during which the system was completed and launched online, product strategy had to be readjusted because the products were no longer competitive. Nevertheless, a balance among tasks, manpower, technology, and organization was eventually achieved, and due to the high level of goodness of fit of the tasks and technology, product membership increased and the subject company generated steady earnings. The introduction of the social e-commerce platform service system into the subject company’s business operations was successful.
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