Discuss about the E-Commerce for Business Consultant APIC.
The report is about providing solutions to a company named Amanda Jane horse Wear by a business consultant APIC. Amanda Jane Horse Wear is seeking help from the consultant firm about the adoption of e-commerce system. It is seen that all the companies are gong digital and are adopting e-commerce systems to increase their sales and brand image in the marketplace. The traditional modes of advertisement and promotions incur more cost to the company when compared to digital modes of promotion. The company is into selling horse riding wears by the horse riders. It is a niche type of category. However, these types of businesses are rare in the market. Getting digital for the company will be profitable both for increased sales and brand image. The report will describe about various forms of e-commerce systems along with issues and benefits of the different variations of e-commerce systems. Apart from that, the backgrounds of the problem of the company along with the preferred mode of e-commerce systems are also explained in details in the report. The report will help the owner of Amanda Jane Horse Wear to decide whether they will go for adopting various e-commerce systems or not. The section of e-commerce section will describe about the overview and meaning of e-commerce in business. After that, the issues and benefits will illustrate about the benefits and the problems the company will face on going digital. Recommendations section will point the best systems of e-commerce that will suit the needs of the company.
The background of the report will constitutes about the background of the company that seeks solution to the consultant for boosting their sales. Apart from that, this section will also describe the problems faced in the market. The type of e-commerce solutions that will be provided to the company will also be mentioned in this section. Amanda Jane Horse Wear is a company that is focused in selling limited range of apparels to the horse riders or people that are associated to the horse riding. In the case study, it has mentioned that the company does not sell its products into any types of specialist services. The company sells its various apparels into various horse events. The most important thing is that, the entrepreneur has felt the need of going digital for increasing the sales of its products. In the offline mode, the sales depend on word of mouth. The reason of going digital is to compete with the business with the other retailers and suppliers that are associated with selling of apparels of horse riders. Another important fact is that, since the business belongs to niche category, it can charge premium prices for the apparels and other accessories that people use during horse riding.
The company has felt that the expected sales are not meeting up to the expectations. The sales are depended on the Word of Mouth (WOM) promotion. For some reasons, in the horse events, the sales are not meeting to the satisfactory level. However, the company is expecting more sales of its products. Amanda Jane Horse Wear is in dilemma whether it should adopt e-commerce systems or not. It is mentioned in the case study that the company has approached to the APIC Business Consulting firm to explain about the strategy that the company should undertake in the field of e-commerce. The strategy must highlight the problems and benefits that the company may face while implementing the strategy in the particular field. The consultant will provide a detailed analysis on the various types of trends of e-commerce approaches that companies are using nowadays to increase the sales and the reputation of the company. The strategies must focus on the fact in a way so that it can engage customers in their online channels as well as conversion of the viewers into potential customers (Felfernig et al., 2013). The main target of formulating online strategies is to increase the Word of Mouth Promotion and increasing the customer base of the company.
Electronic commerce is known as e-commerce. It is the facilitation of selling products and services to the target customers using internet, social media channels and computer systems. Many technologies are associated with the trading using e-commerce systems such as online transaction processing, mobile commerce, internet marketing, electronic funds transfer, and various types of automated systems of data collection (Wang et al., 2012). Apart from that, the companies for going digital use the system of World Wide Web. As per the case study, the company must have specific aims such as developing websites of online shopping in order to sale products to the target customers (Yoon et al., 2013). The company can adopt many application software and information systems for getting started in the digital online platforms. Amanda Jane Horse Wear before adopting e-commerce systems must be aware of the possible advantages and problems of using various software in the operations of the company (Park et al., 2012).
The issues and benefits of e-commerce systems are described in the following in a detailed manner. Many factors are kept into consideration by the company while implementing systems of e-commerce in improving the sales as well as improving the image of the brand among the target customers (Kou, 2013). The e-commerce systems that will be used by the companies must comply with the rules and regulations of the government. Besides this, there are various types of e-commerce systems such as business-to-business (B to B), business to consumers (B to C), consumer to administration (C to A), consumer to consumer (C to C), business to administration(B to A), and consumer to business (C to B) (Tang et al., 2013). As per the context of the case study, business to consumers systems of e-commerce should be used by the company to interact with the customers along with the viewers of the website. The company must gain an understanding of the various aspects of the integration of e-commerce systems before implementing any methods in the operations department (Da Costa, 2016).
Meaning of E Commerce
The term e-commerce has a broader meaning. E-commerce systems are the methods and approaches that use computers, internets and other online platforms in order to accomplish the specific purpose of the company. The company will be using approaches and methods of business to consumer systems of e-commerce (Chiu et al., 2014). Along with the implementation of systems, the purpose of integration of variations of e-commerce systems along with the business application. The motive of the systems integration not only focuses on the improved sales but also it will change the whole interface of the business in the future (Wang & Zhang, 2013). Some features are to be utilized by the company to develop the service of the online selling of products. They are instant messaging, social networking, pretail, digital wallet, application development and other approaches of online payment options. SWOT analysis of the company along with the PESTEL analysis is necessary for getting the best results on integration of new systems of e-commerce by the company (Chen & Wang, 2013).
Issues and Benefits
With the advent of technology, the traditional method of conducting business has been replaced, by the digital method, whereby the purchase as well as the sale of the products can be carried out via a variety of electronic channels, such as the Internet (Choi, 2013). The e-commerce itself is a dynamic method, that has also evolved over the last few years in a considerable way. From the case study, it has been observed that Amada Jane Horse Wear is an emerging organization, that has not yet achieved enormous recognition in the consumer world. Hence, the first step, the organization should take is that it must set up its 24*7 online presence, so that it can reach out to a wider mass in a short span of time. In a highly competitive market, an organization simply does not exist, if it fails to make its presence felt. The Amanda Jane Horse Wear, by creating a website, can provide necessary information to the potential consumers, whereby they will be able to have a comprehensive knowledge about the items and the nature of the service offered by the organization (Yang et al., 2016). It should be noted here, that very few organizations deal with the sale of the horse riding apparels, and hence the consumers prefer to purchase the products from the small retail stores. However, a new organization like Amanda Jane Horse Wear, can easily gain prominence in the market, and draw the attention of the interested consumers.
Another remarkable advantage of e-commerce, for the organization, is that it can offer 24*7 assistance to the consumers. The creation of a website, or a social media page, can not only render the organization the popularity and recognition, it requires, but will also help in updating the consumers about a new product introduced, or a latest discount offer provided (Davis et al., 2012). Thus, e-commerce enables an organization have easy interaction with the consumers that not only builds up a valuable relation, creating a loyal customer base, but also offers them the relevant, readily available information.
Another remarkable benefit of e-commerce is that it facilitates an organization to replace direct marketing by virtual marketing. The selling location of the organization is fixed, and as it does not have any branch, the consumers are less likely to have sufficient information about the fixed retail location of the organization. On the other hand, once the organization has created its online presence via a website, it can offer the sale of its products via the online platform. The organization has not yet emerged as one of the large organizations of the world, and hence selling the goods online is a discreet option (Wang & Wang, 2016). Nowadays, the consumers usually lack the time and energy to visit the physical shops in person, and hence considering the fact, the organization can offer its products via online platforms. The official page of the organization can have a contact number, an email id and other details, so that the consumers can contact the concerned authority, and order the goods they intend to purchase. The home delivery can help the company gain competitive advantage, besides offering it the recognition it requires (Colla & Lapoule, 2012).
However, while introducing the e-commerce infrastructure in the organization, there is a variety of factors that require to be considered by the organization. One of the important issues that can pose serious threat to the organization is the security issue (Crew & Brennan, 2014). The most recognized organizations also suffered from the problem of online hacking of information that has potentially damaged the reputation of the organization. Hence, the organization is required to build up a strong risk assessment and management system to safeguard its confidential information, and that would undoubtedly imply a huge investment. Besides, it should be remembered that it would mean additional responsibility for the existent employees, and a proper process of monitoring and controlling the e-commerce activities, would be required, that in turn would imply that the employees would have to work in a more dedicated way, investing more time and skills for the same (Barnes, 2013). Though this can be compensated by the rise in pay scale in subsequent period, it should be noted that during the initial phase of the change management, the whole idea may not be accepted by the employees, and the resistance if not properly dealt with, can lead to retention problem.
Current Trends and Examples in E Commerce
The e-commerce each day is evolving itself, and assuming an important role in the world of business. Hence, it is important to discuss and explain the recent innovative techniques, introduced by different organization all across the world. At present, the consumers are too occupied with their own works, and hence fail to find out sufficient time to visit the physical retail shops (Lee, 2013). Hence, a huge number of organizations have introduced the mobile commerce concept, whereby the consumers can visit the official page of the organization, and can order the products, after selecting from a variety of available options. While the consumer does not require to visit the shop in person, he can also make the payment via online payment channels, such as PayPal or Google Wallet. While this method captures the attention of the consumers because of the convenient shopping experience they can avail, it can also help the organization grow (Li, 2016). It should be noted that research reports suggest that while making purchase online, the consumers are likely to make investment in a product more swiftly and easily, and tend to be influenced to purchase the products.
A few organizations, which enjoy strong financial condition, also create their organizational apps, which the consumer can download, as and when required, and thereby avail the facilities offered by the organization. The apps on being downloaded by the consumers, can offer them the opportunity to gain instant access to the relevant information about the products, as and when necessary, and is a much time consuming and energy saving process of making transactions. A few organizations, in order to look after the needs and convenience of the consumers are also offering Live Chat support facility, that helps in creating an immediate point of connection with the respective consumers (Stern, 2013).
The social media marketing has replaced the traditional method of marketing. With a huge number of people keeping an eye on the social network sites, the organizations have also lately created various social media pages, where by posting relevant attractive content, via interesting stories, the organizations have succeeded in drawing attention of the consumers. In addition, target marketing has also become a possibility in recent times, owing to Google Analytics, and as such the organizations can promote its products to the relevant consumers, based on the demographic information available. Moreover, what is new in the market is the concept of video marketing that has replaced the idea of ordinary social media content marketing. Many organizations upload the educative and entertaining videos, on social networking sites, such as Instagram or even on Facebook, that helps in fascinating the consumers, and evoking an interest in the products and service offered by the organization. The video marketing as a latest trend, helps in increasing the client conversation and interaction with the brand, making the content more shareable so that it can reach a large number of consumers over a short span of time. The concept of video marketing has become largely popular among different business organizations, and while some organizations employ YouTube to connect with the consumers, some other organizations rely on apps, such as Vine and Instagram for connecting with the consumers, via video marketing strategies (Rigas & Hussain, 2016).
The use of electronic communications can help Amanda Jane Horse Wear gain competitive advantage. However, the organization here is required to adopt a few important steps. First of all, it is required to create an official website page, that has an attractive appearance, and is also consumer-friendly, in the sense, that it is easy to navigate, and offers every bit of relevant information to the consumers (Mohapatra, 2013). It must not only share highly informative content about the organization, but must also have a comment section, whereby the consumers can freely ventilate their feedbacks or suggestions about the product. However, it is to be noted here, that the organization must employ marketing managers, who will be in charge of monitoring the feedbacks provided by the consumers on the website page or the social networking sites, and will also remove or delete any unfavorable comments posted (Chen et al., 2014).
The organization must ensure that it has a strong e-commerce team, that facilitates quick and prompt response to the demands or inquiries of the consumers. The Amanda Jane Horse Wear organization, is required to establish a strong customer support tram, that can deliver service 24*7 via online platform. The website and the social pages created by the company, must offer a vividly descriptive and highly informed catalog that can help the consumer in making the purchase decision. Besides, the organization must also adopt important strategies to ensure that it is capable of attracting new consumers with search engine visibility. Above all, it should be noted, that the shift to e-commerce may strike the employees in an undesirable way, and hence before introducing the change, the management authority must inform the employees about the change, the reason behind the same as well as the ways in which the shift to e-commerce will benefit the organization, and the employees (Huang & Benyoucef, 2013).
The report describes about the problems faced by Amanda Jane Horse Wear in selling its products in offline modes of selling. Therefore, the consultant has recommended the company to use different methods of e-commerce systems so that it cannot only attract huge customers but also it can accomplish the organizational goals. In the recommended sections, it is clearly mentioned that the company may develop a website along with social media marketing to engage the viewers in about the company and its products. It is seen that nowadays people are using internet for gathering any information regarding any products and services. Hence, internet is the option that can be used in an intelligent way so that people would get to know about the company. As the company belongs to the category of niche segment, hence the strategies of digital marketing must be formulated by keeping in concern with the demands of the customers along with the market trends. The modes of advertisement in the digital platforms are found to be more advantageous when compared to traditional methods of advertisement. It is because, through online channels, the engagement of target customers are large in number than traditional billboards and magazines. The research of the e-commerce systems have described in the report so that the apparel company can gain a proper understanding of the various usage patterns and methods of the e-commerce systems. The report has pointed the approach and methods of digital platforms that will provide best results for increase in the profit generation of the company. If the company follows the recommendation provided by the consultant firms, then the company would be successful in gaining a good position in the market as well as generating more revenue from the customers.
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