To provide an experiential learning context that will consolidate and integrate the programme modules. It is designed to provide the learner with the opportunity to complete a relevant project for an organisation (public, private or voluntary).The learner will identify an issue within the organisation that merits investigation and draw upon a wide range of specialised or conceptual information in order to formulate a response appropriate to that issue.
Apply knowledge and skills gained in modules completed previously
Demonstrate a critical understanding of the host organisation, its aims, ethos, business model and management systems
Research a management related business issue agreed by the organisation and college.
Write, present and discuss material that articulates ideas, insights and analysis and reflect on the learning and process.
Demonstrate enhanced communication, interpersonal, organisational skills and build self-confidence and self-esteem working in a group environment.
In order to achieve the learning outcomes successfully and pass the work based learning module, Learners must fulfill the following tasks:
- Identify an appropriate organisation and agree a topic to be investigated with the organistaion and have it approved by the College Coordinator.
- Attend pre-placement workshop, culminating in the submission of individual Learning Objectives prior to the work based learning period commencing.
- Produce and submit a detailed work based learning report
- Give a presentation of the learning from the work based experience
This is a work based learning report based on Dahlia Shoe Boutique located at Ranelagh, Dublin. Dahlia is owned by Rachel O’Bryne who has a lot of experience in the retail shop. Rachel was trained and practiced as a solicitor and in 2008 she decided to open Dahlia shoe Boutique a decision that was inspired by her strong passion for beautiful shoes. The boutique is stocked with unique collection of shoes, jeweler, bags and hosiery (Yellow. Place, 2017). I have been working here for my placement. I carry out all the activities in the shoe shop including opening and closing, stock taking among others. I have identified some issues that may be slowing down the growth and development of this organization, for instance the shop has an old fashioned set up as it used the old till, hand written receipts, and also stock record are handwritten. The shop also has a limited online presence which is not properly managed. Dahlia shoe boutique has a good customer base in Dublin however most of them are aware that the shop does not sell online at all. This report will focus on online selling and how the management of Dahlia Shoe Boutique can utilize the online platform to increase their sales and boost the growth of the business.
According to Aldrich (2011) online selling also known as e-commerce can be described as transactions that take place on the internet. E-commerce can be in form of goods or services being traded for other goods and services. Traditional websites, social media platforms, and mobile and tablet applications can be used in online selling. Ecommerce was introduced 40 years ago and has consistently grown with the current innovations. Since its invention in the 1970s ecommerce has greatly improved the convenience, safety and user experience (Miva. Inc 2016). According to iShift Staff (2010), electronic commerce has evolved and most of the businesses have shifted from the traditional real time market to the digital market. Businesses that have not yet embraced the new mode of trading are faced with stiff competition since they have a limited market access.
Economists argue that online selling have led to intensified price competition, this mainly attributed to by the customers’ ability to gather information about products and prices. Individuals or small businesses involved in ecommerce whether buyers or sellers highly depend on the internet-based technology to carry out their transactions. Conducting online business gives businesses the flexibility to communicate and transact business at any given time and place (Laudon et al. 2014). Online business have also made overseas business transactions easier which have given all the consumers and businesses in the whole world the potential to become customers and suppliers respectively. Online selling has helped in eliminating the political and physical barriers that have been halting the development of businesses for a long time thus giving organization in the world an equal opportunity in the market since everyone can now display their products in the e-stores for sale without necessarily having physical stores.
Advantages of online selling
Online selling allows customers to buy goods or services form the sellers directly over the internet using a web browser. In the modern business world e-commerce has become a fundamental element in the business organizations. Most of the organizations have established websites where they display their products to the customers making it easier for the customers to find the product of interest. Customers are also able to visit several websites and searching for alternative vendors of the same product, by doing so they can easily compare the prices as well as the quality before making a decision on which product they will buy (Aldrich, 2011). Customers shop online using a wide range of computers which includes desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets.
A good online stores gives the customers the opportunity to browse through their wide range of products and services and provides photos of the various products and detailed information about the products specifications, features and prices. Customers can also access recommendation from other consumers who have used the products or the service before which enables him or her make an informed decision on which product or service to buy. Such detailed information cannot be provided by the staff in the store. Online selling brings convenience for customers since they can simply access the products or services they need by easily browsing through the organization’s website especially when buying products that are not available locally. Customers can also buy a wide range of products within a very short time thus saving on time. Online sellers often provide discounts or sales promotions which make it more cost effective for the customers.
Ecommerce can be a suitable way of enhancing distributing of products to customers. It can also help in increasing sales and reducing the costs of operating a business while increasing the profits of a business. This is because through the internet many people are made aware if the existence of a given business organization and the products or services that it sells. The internet provides a platform where millions of customers visit daily in search of products and services (Richardson, 2013). Online transactions are growing annually since the most people have proven ecommerce as a convenient method of purchasing goods and services since it is not limited by either time or geographical location. Ecommerce also provides business organizations with a wide range of marketing and sales techniques which helps in attracting customers and retaining them.
Online businesses has lower set up and running cost compared to offline businesses. This is because it is cheaper to create a business website than building or renting a physical business store. Online selling enables the organization to have an automated sales system this reduces the number of employees that an organization requires to run the business thus saving on staff, wages, and other related business costs. Therefore, the business can save money that can be used in developing their ecommerce website and also increase the range of products or services that it provides for its customers (Richardson, 2013).
Online selling can be conducted from anywhere. This is because online business is not restricted by any geographical factors. The business owner can successfully operate his or her business from any part of the world provided he or she has access to the internet, emails and a computer.
Online websites are effective in determining the products that are selling well and thus ensure that the amount of the specific products is increased. It also enables the management to come up with ways of diversifying and developing a wide range of products which the organizations will be selling on their website (Teriz, 2011). By increasing the variety of products sold to the customers the business is able to increase its sales, customer base and profits.
According to Richardson, (2013) online selling is also not time bound. Having an online selling platform allows the customers to visit the business’s website anytime of the day. This will help in maximizing the sales of a business as well as the profits. This can be achieved through providing special offers to your customers and also by employing marketing initiatives that will help in expanding the customer base. According to Teriz (2011), the most common strategies that are used in online selling are upselling and cross selling. In upselling the business provides products that are directly related to the products that customers have selected for purchase. These products usually have a very low cost which does not affect the customers’ decision to purchase them. This helps in making more sales thus greater profits. On the other hand, in cross selling the seller encourages the customers to buy extra products thus increasing their spending. This can be done through introducing customers to complementary products or other products that may satisfy customer needs. Such practices help in increasing the sales of the business as well as the revenues gained from the business. Online selling also gives the business an opportunity to employ a wide range of powerful marketing initiatives that will help in attracting more customers and encourage conversations on the organization’s website which will help in effective negotiations with the customers, which in return increases the number of visitors and conversion of visitor to sale.
Compared to other sale approaches online selling is more measurable. This is due to the existence of systems such as Google analytics which make it easy to track e-commerce websites. This enables the business to views the its own statistics which includes the orders that have been processed in organization’s website, cart total, cart abandonment rate and the total revenue that the company has made at any given time interval. Thus it is an easier and more efficient method of keeping business records (Qin et al. 2014). E-commerce websites also provide a cheaper advertising option for the business. According to Ecommerce News (2015), this can greatly contribute to the growth of the customer base especially when the organization employs Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy to increase its website page ranking in search engines. SEO is a powerful method which can be used to increase the customer traffic visiting the website of the organization.
According to Nadu (2016), online selling is less time intensive. Once an individual or an organization sets up an ecommerce website, little time is needed is needed to run it successfully. This is because the online system allows the customers to make orders and payments on their own without demanding any attention from the seller. This will provide the organization’s management with ample time to make decisions on the new products that they need sell and the special offers that they can come up with that will attract more customers. Through online selling it is also easier to monitor the trends in which the products are selling and determine the products with the highest demand and increase their supply.
Through online selling organization can sell their products at a higher margin because of the reduced operational costs which increases their profits. The organization also receives 100% payment form the customer thus increasing its cash flow especially when the customers provides payments in terms of installments (Kawai and Tagg, 2017).
Online selling also provides the organization with an opportunity to access global market thus increasing the market size of the business. Today there are millions of people accessing the internet from all over the world and through ecommerce they can purchase goods from any part of the world easily (Pappas, 2016).
According to Wills (2014) many customers from all over the world prefer e-commerce as their most convenient way of shopping and they enjoy buy goods online since it is easy. This is because they are not required to travel away from their home to purchase products since they can do it at the comfort of their homes. Also online buying is not limited by time as they can purchase good at any time of the day.
According to Chen (2016) people are the greatest determinants in sales, however, a business should not neglect the tools used in sales as they make help sales people work more efficiently. Proper data storage, automation and integration can help in making work easier, satisfy the customers and increase the profit realized from the business. According to Timely.com (2017), it is essential to adopt the digital system which are revolutionizing the way business is done and do away with the traditional paper-based systems. Dahlia Shoe Boutique is using the traditional approach of keeping records which is less convenient and accurate. By replacing the paper system with the digital system will significantly reduce the cost incurred since they will save on time. In most cases while calculating the cost the paper system and the digital system people fail to put into consideration the amount of time spent in making manual records, duplicates, and reading information. This requires people to do the work which could end up being more costly than the software subscriptions needed to do the same job.
During my placement at Dahlia Shoe Boutique, I have several observations and I have identified a number of issue that the organization needs to put into consideration to improve their business. The business is facing stiff competition from other business selling similar products and have embraced online selling. To compete with its competitors Dahlia should establish an e-commerce website form which customers can access the products that they sell and also make transactions without necessarily having to visit the shop physically. This will help the nosiness to effectively compete with other competitors in Dublin as well as in other parts of the country. The organization’s website is also very poor as it provide very shallow information about the business and the products that they sell. Dahlia should invest in upgrading their website and provide in-depth information about the business and the range of products sold at the shop. They should also employ SEO to promote their website which will increase the number of people visiting their sites this will in return help increasing the customer base of the business.
I also observed that the business still uses old systems to keep records including stock. This system is tedious and also prone to mistakes. It is also not easy to retrieve information form the traditional system of recording business information which makes it difficult to make references in the future. Also considering that the shop has a huge flow of customers at times it is not possible to keep each sales record. The management should, therefore, consider establishing a digital record keeping system which will save a lot of time and will also be more convenient for keeping information.
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