The report is presented to discuss the various concepts of E-commerce strategy and how it can be implemented within the University to increase the international students coming to United Kingdom. De Montfort University in Leicester, UK offers a wide range of undergraduate, postgraduate and research courses and even aims to provide online educational facilities and courses by implementing an effective E-commerce strategy. The individuals are recruited from India, Malaysia, China and from other parts of the world to complete their UG or PG degree. The University wants to increase the students by delivering more courses along with various distance learning modes. The E-commerce strategy will be implemented to ensure marketing the courses properly as well as generate more revenue in business by spreading awareness of the University in the global marketplace (Dmu.ac.uk 018).
Part 1 SWOT analysis
The major strengths of the Universities in terms of the Ecommerce strategy are asynchronous learning technique, saving of lot of money, clear strategic plan along with management of online website to resolve the queries of students (Gai and Steenkamp 2014). The enrolment of students has been easy through the online marketing strategies, which has not only created convenience but also has addressed the educational issues. Few major weaknesses and threats included lack of proper information about the courses provided to the students, incurred lot of time, money and effort as well as competition by other Universities offering virtual courses (Lin 2014).
The University could create an online forum where the queries of the students could be answered. To maintain quality based teaching, it is recommended to manage video conferences so that the students could talk face to face and discuss about the important aspects of the course through distance learning. De Montfort University should focus more on online marketing to spread messages to people all over the world and influence their habits to avail the courses delivered (E. Dobbs 2014).
The external situational analysis is done to understand the various forces that can influence the ability of the University to attract overseas candidates to become a part of the University and avail the courses that are relevant for them.
Porter’s five forces model
Threats of new entrants
With the advancement of new technologies, nearly most of the Universities in UK have learned about the benefits of distance and online education facilities and how it can benefit the candidates who will avail the course programs. The threat of new entrants is moderate because De Montfort University has managed the websites for some time, so it is not a problem for the University to rouse interest among the candidates and influence them to avail the courses offered. Though there are new entrants within the education industry of UK, still De Montfort University has extensive administrative operations and pervasive facilities along with a good alumni base, which has helped in maintaining legacy for the time being (Mathooko and Ogutu 2015). The federal and state governments have regulated the development of policies, which has reduced the budget constraints and allowed the University to offer courses with ease and effectiveness.
Threats of substitute products
The substitution of the products, i.e., the courses offered in high, because almost every Universities in UK have adopted the online education faculties to attract the overseas students and generate more revenue in business. De Montfort University should introduce a variety of educational services and continue to progress with the advancement in information technology and e-commerce strategy implementation. The threats of substitute products have increased with the availability of the price performing products’ alternatives (Gai and Steenkamp 2014).
Bargaining power of the suppliers
The bargaining power of the suppliers is moderate in terms of economic growth and services provided to the students by De Montfort University. The suppliers provide textbooks, clamor for faculty time and other educational components to the University, which are provided to the students. Due to the higher need for online or distance education, the University should likely manage enrolments with the profitable sector for increasing the supply and meet the demands in the market too (Walunj and Sadafale 2013). De Montfort focused more on online educational facilities and attracting more candidates with the implementation of E-commerce strategy, though failed to provide proper residential accommodations, tenure tracks for the faculties. The suppliers should be kept good relationships with so that the right quality resources were provided and the production of services could be improved (Brooks, Heffner and Henderson 2014).
Buying power of the customers
The buying power of the customers, i.e., the candidates who are willing to obtain the services of the University is high. The buying power is influenced by the messages and information that are transmitted by the University to its service users. The more the University markets its products and services, the better will be the ability to influence the buying behaviors of the customers (Dmu.ac.uk 2018).
Threat of competitive rivalry
The competitive rivalries’ threat is high because of the other virtual Universities that are also offering similar types of online distance education programs. Often this threat can make the students avail the services of another University rather than from De Montfort University (Wagner, Schramm-Klein and Steinmann 2013).
The E-commerce strategy would not only help in making more people aware of the courses offered by the company, but could also help in marketing the course programs all over the world so that individuals from every parts of the world come to UK for availing the course and obtain a degree. As an external consultant, I conducted the SWOT analysis for the University to determine how it could help in offering more courses to the overseas students as well as enhance the distance learning methods for the students to obtain degree with more convenience. DMU could manage own website for spreading information and messages to individuals from every parts of the world and make them influenced to purchase the products and services. Emails could be sent to the candidates and this would allow them to know about the various courses and how could they pursue those. While targeting the audiences, it would also be important for DMU to communicate with them through telephonic conversations and conducting interviews through video conferences and know about their needs, requirements and ambitions in life. This would further make the University make the candidates understand about the approaches that should be undertaken by the University to achieve the goals and objectives with ease. Engagement of social media could act as an useful platform for attracting more followers and start conversations with them through posting of comments. DMU must improve the Search Engine Optimization for searching data and information through the use of keywords and developing back links to the website, furthermore share positive messages and content on the social media. This would create additional opportunities and allow the University to sustain in the global marketplace and at the same time, attract more overseas candidates.
The SWOT analysis and Porter’s five forces model were used in this report to analyze the findings related to the University and its courses offered were also regarded as major strengths of the company. The weaknesses were overcome by creating an online presence and spread more information and messages for influencing the behaviors of the customers. Lastly, the communication tools and techniques used to spread information about the University and its courses offered along with achievement of potential to target the audiences had been illustrated here to derive a good conclusion in the end.
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