You are on page 1of 12

1

Impact of e-business or e-marketing on


the sale of books; a case study of
Waterstone

Assignment submitted by

Student ID:
Date of submission:
2

Contents

Contents

Background .............................................................................................................. 3
Background to the industry .................................................................................... 4
Research aim, research questions or hypotheses and objectives ...................... 4
Research Methodology ............................................................................................ 5
Summary of findings................................................................................................ 7
Timescale .................................................................................................................. 8
Resources ............................................................................................................... 10
References .............................................................................................................. 11
3

Impact of e-business or e-marketing on


the sale of books; a case study of
Waterstone

Background

Primary and secondary research relating to the research proposal on the Waterston
case study on e-book selling:

Waterstone is a leading bookseller on the High Street and online. It was originally
formed in Old Brampton Road, London in 1982. Waterstone now has around 300
stores wide in UK and a bestselling online store. Apart from the shops in UK,
Waterstone runs shops in university campuses, republic of Ireland and continental
Europe. Water stones mission is to become a leading bookseller in UK. The
speciality of Waterstone book stores are that no one book store is the same.
This study aims to analyse the affect of e-selling of books and its affect on
Waterstone. The study examines the various aspects of e-selling, the nature of
business of Waterstone and how the difference in selling mode affects the company.

There is different type of sources for collecting data that a researcher can make avail
of for conducting the research. The two types of data collection are primary and
secondary methods. A combination of these two methods also can be followed by a
researcher.
Primary research refers to the preliminary aspects of research about the project. This
encompasses whether there is any relevance for conducting the research, the
viability of the research and reliability and validity of the sources. The primary
resources of data collection are used in conducting primary research. The primary
sources for collecting data are interviews, surveys and questionnaires. The
secondary research is collected if there is any scope for research and the secondary
sources of data are company statistics, online materials and library resources etc. In
4

this study, the both primary and secondary research is conducted to avail the scope
of the research and also to collect the data.

For the purpose of the research proposal, the conducting of primary and secondary
research is important as it helps to have an idea about the scope of the research in
its entirety.

Background to the industry


With the ever increasing use of modern IT facilities and fast life, internet occupies an
important place in todays life. The impact of internet and ecommerce is such that it
has even made a revolution in the buying and consumption behaviour of the people.
The commerce of books online is an important revolution in the modern e-market.
Online selling of books is an event of recent decades. It is in this picture that the
success of Waterstone in selling books online that comes up. In such a background
setting a study on the scope of the Waterstone online books selling is worth in all
aspects.

Research aim, research questions or hypotheses and objectives

Waterstone being a High Street book seller enhanced its selling over the web. The
present study aims at analysing the scope of e-selling of books and the case study
for this purpose is chosen is Waterstone.

The hypotheses for this research are whether the e-book selling of Waterstone is a
success or not when compared to the High Street selling. The reason for choosing
Waterstone for this case study is that Waterstone is an emerging modern High street
book seller in UK. Waterstone has a good amount of experience in High Street
selling and the change from being a shop seller to online seller is a gradual one.
Thus the study of Waterstone for the current research is worth mentioning in every
aspect.

The objective of the research is to conduct an investigation on


a) how the e-selling of books is conducted by Waterstone
5

b) what are the outcomes that the company receives from it


c) what are the areas for improving the selling of e-books

Research Methodology
Every research has a methodology as a research is a scientific process. Research
methodology is defined as an explanation of the methods used to collect the data,
will argue why the results obtained are meaningful, and will explain any limitations
that are associated with them. (Saunders et al, 2009). A research methodology
should include research design, typology of research, methods of data collection,
analysis and interpretation of data collection, the rationale behind devising the
research design, and data collection methods and limitations in the process.
The typology of the current research is an applied research work as it examines the
scope of e-book selling of Waterstone in its practical aspect. Applied research is
research which has been designed to apply its findings to solving a specific, existing
problem (Collis Jill, 2003, p. 13).

Approach used in the research

An exploratory research approach is adopted to conduct this study. Exploratory


research can be defined as a method of research to know what is happening; to
seek new insights; to ask questions and to assess phenomena in a new light
(Robson 2002 p. 59). The reason for choosing this approach is that the study aimed
to examine the e-selling process of Waterstone, what is going on, is the current
practice profitable and is there any scope for improvement when compared to the
traditional selling of books. This method of research that I used to study the topic is
commented as flexible and adaptive in methods by many experts. As Saunders
puts it, the focus is initially broad and becomes progressively narrower as the
research progresses (Saunders et al, 2009, p.140).
Methodology used in the research
The research uses a descriptive, explorative typology of research. The research
uses the data collection method of both quantitative and qualitative methods. Both
primary and secondary data are collected to arrive at a logical conclusion.
A research methodology may consist of qualitative or quantitative research.
Qualitative research means "any kind of research that produces findings not arrived
6

at by means of statistical procedures or other means of quantification" (Strauss and


Corbin, .1990, p. 17). The reason for choosing qualitative method is to obtain data
regarding the scope of e-selling of books by Waterstone is that there are a lot of
personnel to be interviewed to collect data that need to be analysed apart from the
quantitative data.

Quantitative research can be defined as approach involving collecting and


analysing numerical data and applying statistical tests. (Jill Collins, 2003 p. 13). The
reason for choosing quantitative methods for this study is that data collected through
questionnaires have to sample to arrive at quantitative information. This study
adopted both qualitative and quantitative methods and thus has a mixed approach.
The reason for having chosen for this is that the research uses multiple methods of
data collection. Hence, the data collected are both quantitative and qualitative
nature. Mixed methods approach is the general term for when both quantitative and
qualitative data collection techniques and analysis procedures are used in a
research design (Saunders et al, 2009, p.152.).Researchers like Tashakkori and
Teddlie (2003) comments on the merit of a mixed approach that, the researcher can
employ interviews at the exploratory stage of research to understand the key issues
before employing a questionnaire or survey in order to collect descriptive data.

Analysis of qualitative and quantitative data

The quantitative and qualitative data collected can be analysed using scientifically
research techniques. The data collected have to be appropriately analysed and
findings should be made on an empirical basis. There are several advantages and
disadvantages for each method. Observation, interviews, surveys and focus groups
are the qualitative methods that are used in the research of e-book selling of
Waterston.
Recording of findings
The findings of the research are to be recorded in a specific format so that it will be
helpful for analysing the data and making logical conclusions. In the present
research project a word processor pc is helpful to store data and analyse the
findings. The data collected regarding e-book selling is prepared in a format so as to
make it easy for analysing and reaching at logical conclusions.
7

Summary of findings
The summary of the finding in the research is as follow. When compared to the shop
selling, the e-book selling has a very good scope in reaching customers. The e-book
selling has reduced the cost of investment of the company. There is enough scope in
conducting a research on the e-selling of books by Waterston.

Recommendations based on findings

Every research conducted has something to contribute to the literature under study
and there will be room for suggestions and improvements. In the current research,
there is enough scope for improving the e-selling of books and also to gain the
advantage of the internet. The sue of internet to sell books can be experimented
even in selling e-books and other relevant learning materials among students so that
it will be easy for them to handle the data. Apart from e-selling of books, Waterston
can even think about borrowing e-books over online.

Action plan for monitoring and updating

Every research should have proper framework to conduct the research. An applied
research can be successful only with pre-planned action plan. Experts have devised
several tools for formulating a research action plan.

The Gantts chart is an important tool in planning research. It helps to schedule the
activities of research and monitor the progress of research. The Gantts chart gives a
clear idea to plan the research and conduct the research in systematic and authentic
way.
Code of ethics for the conduct of the study

A research in order to be scientific, empirical and valid, there must be a code of


ethics for conducting the study. The study should be empirical and free from bias.
The conclusions should be according to logical reasoning. The data collection
method also should be valid and reliable.

Validity and reliability of research is the most important factor that has to be focused
in the research. A research can be said to be valid and when the data collected and
analysed are free from bias and prejudices. Reliability and validity are the two main
8

things that make a research more scientific. According to Collis Jill (2003 p.58)
reliability is concerned with the findings of the research and is one aspect of the
credibility of the findings; the other is validity. Validity is the extent to which the
research findings accurately represent what is really happening in the situation.
Research errors, such as faulty research procedures, poor samples and inaccurate
or misleading measurement can undermine validity.

In this study, the chances of getting biased were so many. But with due care and
diligence, it was able to overcome this. Firstly, regarding the data on online selling of
books statistics, The Company might not reveal its original selling statistics. Further,
interviewing her sales team also may tend to be biased. Secondly, questionnaires
have to be carefully prepared for conducting g surveys so that all the relevant data
got collected. Time constraints also should not limit the scope of the research. Due
respect should be given to keep the regulations and laws relating to data protection
and privacy.

Timescale

Conducting the research project and the process and action plan

Research Design: A research design can be defined as a plan, structure and


strategy of investigation so conceived as to obtain answers to research questions or
problems (Kerlinger, 1986). The research design is a master plan which sketches
how the objectives and aims set out in the research proposal can be achieved. In the
words of Saunders et al, (Saunders et al, 2009 p. 137.), it will contain clear
objectives, derived from you research questions, specify the sources from which you
intend to collect data, and consider the constraints that you will inevitably have ... as
well as discussing ethical issues. The research design here chosen is based on the
nature of the research topic, questions that had to be answered and the objectives
and aims of the research.

This is an applied research work as it examines the scope of e-selling of books by


Waterstone in its practical aspect. Applied research is research which has been
9

designed to apply its findings to solving a specific, existing problem (Collis Jill,
2003). In the current research design, the primary research is conducted, various
literatures on the subject will be read and analysed. After that data collection will be
conducted and later the data will be analysed and a conclusion will be done on the
basis of findings.

The research action plan can be illustrated using a Gantts chart:

TIMETABLE OF WORK:-
Project Gantt chart (Week commencing 17th June 2011)
Activity June 2011 July 2011 August 2011
Week 16 23 30 7 14 21 28 4 11 18 25
commencing
Work X X
commencing
Read X X
literature
Finalise X
objective
Project X
proposal
Feedback on X
proposal
Collection of X X X X
Documents
Interview with X
staff
Gathering X X
data
Analyze data X X
Completion of X
report
Draft to X
10

supervisor
Submission X

Monitoring and revising the schedule of research

Even though a Gantts chart schedule is planned for the research, there might be
some areas where, a flexible and relaxed approach needs to be taken. In such
cases, a rescheduling of the research plan is necessary.

Further, there must be elapses in data collection method especially due to the
unpredictable nature of gathering some kinds of data. In such instances also a
rescheduling is necessary. Further, there must be a constant monitoring of the
development of the research, whether, the research is moving in the right direction or
not etc. As a solution, the guidance and help of a tutor is of vital importance to any
research project.

Resources
Collection of data using methods and primary and secondary research techniques

There are several methods for primary and secondary data collection. For a primary
data collection, the researcher chooses a group of people or sample population from
whom he can collect maximum data. It is not necessary that all the selected people
have to participate in the chosen research project.

Research Instruments: The research instruments that are going to be used in this
research are interviews, surveys through questionnaires and content analysis. The
tools of qualitative data collection are interview and that of quantitative research is
questionnaires. Interview can be defined as a method of collecting data in which
selected participants are asked questions in order to find out what they do, think or
feel (Collis Jill 2003.p.167). The interview is conducted to get data from managers of
Waterstone regarding their view on the e-selling of books. This would be a semi-
structured interview and the structure of questions asked towards different managers
differs according to the situation over the telephone. This is also time - saving and
11

easiest as face to face interview is impossible to gain effectiveness because of the


nature of work of managers as most were not available for interview at the day time.
As Collis Jill (2003 p. 168) puts it one aspect of semi-structured and unstructured
interviews is that the issues discussed, the questions raised and the matters
explored change from one interview to the next as different aspects of the topic are
revealed. This process of open discovery is the strength of such interviews.
Although the semi structured interviews conducted is time consuming, it have great
impact in focussing the research to more crucial aspects in the e-selling process and
sales.

References

Campion, M.A, Campion, J.E.And Hudson J.P. (1984) Structured Interviewing:


A Note on Incremental Ability and Alternative Question Types, Journal of
Applied Psychology, Vol.79. Pp998-1002.
Collis Jill, And Hussey R. (2003) Business Research, Palgrave, London. P.13.

Hill, Dale, Selling Withdrawn and gift Books on eBAY: does It Make Sense?,
Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Information Supply, 2003: v.
14 #2, p. 37-40.
Kerlinger, F. (2000) Foundations Of Behavioural Research,
Fortworth,TX:Harcourt College Publishers.
Richard Thorpe, Robin Holt, (2008), Dictionary of Qualitative Management
Research. Sage.
Saunders, M., Lewis, P., Thornhill, A. (2009) Research Methods For Business
Students England, P.5.
Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded
theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/browse/ebooks/4294964587/a;a
ccessed on 12th April 2011.

.
12