Before creating business plans or when evaluating existing ones it is important to 'scan' the external environment. This takes the form of a SLEPT analysis, i.e. an investigation of the Social, Legal, Economic, Political, and Technological influences on a business. In addition it is also important to be aware of the actions of your competitors. These forces are continually in a state of change.
Social factors relate to pattern of behaviour, tastes, and lifestyles. A major component of this is a change in consumer behaviour resulting from changes in fashions and styles. Social factors include the influence of consumer perception in determining usage of the internet for different activities. The age …show more content…
Political changes relate to changes in government influence and have an important role in determining the future adoption and control of the internet and the rules by which it is governed. In recent years these changes have been particularly significant because as members of the European Union we have to adopt directives and regulations created by the EU which then become part of UK law. Political changes are closely tied up with legal changes.
Changes in technology have also become particularly significant in the post-millennium world. This is particularly true in terms of modern communication technologies. They offer new opportunities to the way products can be marketed. The creation of databases and electronic communications have enabled vast quantities of information to be shared and quickly distributed in a modern company enabling vast cost reductions, and often improvements in service.
A manager of a sell-side e-commerce web site must consider all the social, legal and ethical issues to avoid damaging relationships with the users of his or her site or which may leave the company facing prosecution.
Having an understanding of social change will give a business a better feel for the future market situation. The main social factor that affects business is demography which is the study of the population size, age structure,