e-Business Principles and Practices
July 21, 2004
Primus Securities is a full service brokerage firm serving approximately
7,000 clients. In order to increase the number of clients being served
Primus by further developing the website that was created nearly a year
ago. By developing and maintaining a website, Primus Securities will need
to evaluate customer needs, technology needed, markets strategies, and
operational costs. Another important factor with maintaining a website is
the ability to cover expenses with the revenue being generated.
Primus Securities Website Simulation
Primus Securities is currently a small brick and mortar, full service
brokerage firm. Nearly a year ago, Primus constructed a website that
provided information about the firm, frequently asked questions, and
financial news as well as a search feature that allows the visitor to gain
the necessary information to make a decision that would be suit their
needs. Presently, 5,500 visitors visit the Primus website each month with
an average of 250 consistently returning. A financial research agency
conducted a poll of brokerage sites, and Primus Securities is ranked 50th
out of approximately 600 brokerage website as far as the value of
information being provided to clients in a pre-transaction stage. Primus
is in need of moving forward with enabling clients to make online trades,
with as many visitors returning it is extremely likely that more would
return if they could easily place a trade online. The importance of
keeping within the firm’s business plan, objectives and goals while further
developing the website to accept online trading. “With the clear
overarching goal of developing an e-business and website strategy that is
consistent with the strategies of the business, the task is still not easy.
However, with the proper strategic framework, the many business and
technical challenges and conflicting priorities can be easily ranked and
weighed for appropriate decision making,” as stated on the e-competitors
David Snepenger states, “One of the difficulties companies face with
marketing occurs when the owner/manager thinks he or she knows what the
customer wants, how they want it, where they want it and when they want it.
Not enough customers, insufficient revenues and excessive inventories
indicate that the customer’s needs are not being met. Marketing research
can help find the problem and identify a solution. It helps managers to
look outside of themselves for solutions.” Marketing research for Primus
is necessary to evaluate what is current competitors providing and what is
not being provided. The firm needs to provide competitive services to its
current and potential clients not sub-par online services, which will
ultimately lose business. Primus has received an encouraging response from
its current clients about its current informational type website; however
they have made recommendation as to improving the website, which would be
to implement an online trading.
Primus needs to answer the following ten questions, while conducting
the marketing research. These questions will assist in determining some
important factors that the firm will be faced with while further expanding
the website services to be provided. The important questions are:
“1. What should you market goods, services or both?
2. Should your marketing feature some sort of price advantage?
3. Should you emphasize your self, your quality offerings, your selection,
your service or merely the existence of your business?
4. Should you take on your competition or ignore all competitors?
5. Exactly who are your competitors?
6. What are your best prospects?
7. What income groups do they represent?
8. What motivates them to buy?
9. Where do they live?
10. What do they read or watch or listen to in the way of media?”
The quantitative type of marketing research would be conducted via
online surveys to current as well as potential (or simply visitors) clients
that would take the time to complete the survey. The costs associated with
this type of marketing research would be cost effective.
The marketing concepts that Primus Securities needs to be aware of is
1) understanding the customer, 2) making value for your customer, 3)
communicating your value to your target market, and 4) making it easy for
the customer to buy (Snepenger, 1997). Primus Securities overall has a
good understanding of the clients they serve. In order to capture a larger
portion of the market, Primus is implementing a few marketing tools that
will be value added features. A few of these strategies that will be at no
cost to the targeted market group is
. providing information via SMS and email. The initial cost is slightly
higher but well worth implementing. By reaching out to potential
clients that have provided an email, address clients could be
persuaded to become clients by providing information on a consistent
. implementing a discussion board that will provide additional
information regarding Primus Securities services.
. providing web cast that is available to everyone. This is only
available to individuals that have high speed Internet.
. Providing stock ticker that is powered by Quote.com, the information
provided to this website is the most current stock quotes available to
the public. This value added feature allows the clients to make the
best possible choices when trading.
Marketing is primarily cultivating, developing a relationship with a
targeted consumer group. By providing these value added services, in the
end, will provide the client the necessary information to make well-
informed decisions that affect the trades completed through online trading
Primus Securities is providing many functions of the website at no
cost; the reason for providing these services at no cost is to attract new
visitors to the website, which may lead to a client of online trading. By
offering many of the services at no cost, it was risky, but by the third
quarter the profits were $331,526 with approximately 123,000 visitors to
the website. The risk of providing many of the services at no cost is
because many of the online competitors like e-Trade, Ameritrade, and
brokerage companies that have online services like SunAmerica,
Advice via email is a paid value added feature. This assessed fee is
because it takes a staff member to research and answer the question. The
client or potential client is paying a fee to cover the cost of the staff
member’s salary. Along with salary expenses, it was also determined many
of the questions being asked may be easily answered by our frequently asked
question portion of the site. By implementing a fee per question asked via
email would deter clients and potential clients from asking unserious
questions. A majority of the questions asked would be of quality because
of the cost associated.
Primus Securities will be using a co-hosting environment. According
to EPI Internet Direct, “Co-Hosting, also known as co-locating, is an
inexpensive alternative to hosting servers on the end of your own expensive
leased line. Ideal for individuals, small businesses and small independent
ISP hosting partners, you provide the server; we provide the high-speed
network connection and the IP addresses. You don’t need to pay for a leased
line just to site your own server on the Internet, and you have access to
the network bandwidth you need.” This will enable the firm to have more
control over the availability to visitors. This environment also provides
a more convenient way of securing e-commerce, which in turn, Primus will
provide the security that many of the clients and potential clients will be
seeking. The ability for hackers to tap into their personal information
will be deterred by firewalls and encryption protection.
The type of server recommended would be a stand-alone Microsoft SQL
server.Webopedia’s definition of an SQL server is “Generically, any
database management system (DBMS) that can respond to queries from client
machines formatted in the SQL language. When capitalized, the term
generally refers to either of two database management products from Sybase
and Microsoft. Both companies offer client-server DBMS products called SQL
The operation of the website must be maintained and kept up to date
with useful information, so the clients could make well-informed decisions
based on the information being provided via the website. The amount it
will cost Primus to internally maintain the news and views portion of the
website is costly at $200 one-time cost and recurring cost to maintain the
updated information is $40,500 monthly. The choice would be to outsource
the portion at a one-time cost of $200 and a monthly recurring cost of
$15,000. “Today, outsourcing is moving to a new stage. It has become a
strategic tool, which not only enables companies to cut costs and improve
services in the short term but also creates new resource structures,
increases return on investment and contributes to long-term value.” (TM
Systems) Furthermore, a list of other benefits to a firm considering
outsourcing a portion of their operation:
. Focus on core business activities and expertise thus enabling optimal
utilization of resources
. Fast entry into market
. Minimizes major capital investments in a billing system, training and
work force management
. No duplication of services
. Cost effectiveness
. High productivity & good quality services from experts in the field
. Customer friendly and knowledgeable human service
. Increases RoI (Return on Investment)
The strategic decision made for Primus Securities have been
calculated with a careful eye on developing revenues while maintaining a
level of value added features that will not compromise the integrity of
Recommendations for future strategies for updating the website is:
. Multi-lingual site, by implementing a choice of different languages
allows language barriers to not be an issue; therefore reaching beyond
the scope of English speaking population moving forward globally.
. Create a subscription type-site, which would provide an in depth
analysis of stocks, this would generate revenue beyond the commission
. Provide a discount for clients that are trading above 2500 shares,
this will attract clients with money.
Primus Securities is fully aware of utilizing the technology that is
available to them. The firm is taking steps to capture a large portion of
the market that is available, by complimenting the website with a few value
added features along with online trading. The creation of these features
will assist with increase the profitability of Primus Securities as well as
providing current clients with useful features. In order for Primus to
continue with their success, it is imperative they take the development
slowly, methodically with sound advice from professional IT personnel.
e-Competitors. Retrieved July 19, 2004 from http://www.e-
EPI Internet Direct. Retrieved July 20, 2004 from
Snepenger, David J. April 1997. Marketing Research for Entrepreneurs and
Small Business Managers. Retrieved July 19, 2004 from Marketing
Research for Entrepreneurs and Small Business Managers
TM Systems. Retrieved on July 21, 2004 from
Webopedia Computer Dictionary. Retrieved on July 21, 2004 from