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Propose an e-business strategy and architecture

Produce a short report which proposes and describes a new, fictitious supermarket which utilises the very latest e-business technology. You may draw upon current technology or developments just in concept stage but should cover the whole store operating process from getting stock through to selling to the customer.  

a.The main functions of your store.

b.The technologies that would be utilised.

To develop, evaluate and implement an e-business strategy for an organisation.

To synthesize and criticise the issues relating to the environment, technological base and utilisation of e-business among organisations.

Main Functions of the Store

The report comprises of the use of modern e-business technologies that are used in daily business operations of the supermarket. The supermarket is present in United Kingdom which has its presence in many parts of the country. It is assumed that supermarket is active both in online platforms and in offline stores. The report will describe the use of future e-business technology that will not only improve the sales of the online platforms but also it will improve the daily operations of the supermarket in the perspective of procurement, selling, forecasting and analysis and customer experience. The report is divided into two parts one is description of the operations of the supermarkets and the implementation of the technologies in those daily activities of the supermarkets. The technologies are chosen as per the requirements of the supermarkets in order to increase the number of products in the stores as well as attracting more customers. However, the supermarket finds tough competition in the market of United Kingdom as there are renowned supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, etc. are present that has high market share and well reputation in the market.

The supermarket is known for offering a variety of products to its consumers that accounts for the higher rate of profitability that the company enjoys. From a variety of natural products and organic vegetables, the supermarket also offers canned and packaged food items that attract a huge number of consumers. However, in the last year, the company has further expanded its product range, by incorporating non-food items, such as kitchenware and pharmacy products as well. Since the organization is a new, emerging one, it does face much competition from branded organizations, like Tesco and Sainsbury’s, it has been offering discounts and lucrative offers to any consumer that has been visiting the company for a minimum period of 1 month. This helps the company promote its brand will and enhance customer loyalty. Considering the convenience of the customers, the supermarket has also opened up virtual stores, apart from the physical stores, that help it to reach out to greater number of consumers. The investment in the virtual stores has increased the profit margin by two times. The company keeps on launching new offers every week and promotes the same on social media platforms. This online presence helps in achieving greater recognition among the clients.

Supermarkets, departmental stores and hypermarkets across use technologies in different areas of business operations such as: procuring, selling forecasting, analysis of sales, selling of products and customer experiences. The supermarket is serving the customers of United Kingdom with quality products at affordable price. The main target of the supermarket is to decrease the cost of manufacture of the goods as wells as reducing costs in the distribution channel of the company. By reducing the cost in the different branches of operations, the company will be able to reduce the price of its products to the customers. It is seen that the supermarkets are fighting with each other in the price war. Cost leadership is the strategy followed by the companies in order to earn a market share as well as attraction of the customers towards their products and services. These activities can be done by the implementation of technologies especially e-business technologies and other information technologies in the fields of operations. Global supermarkets and other retail companies are busy in improving the shopping experience of the customers that leads to more sales. The company is focused to improve the shopping experience of the customers in both online and offline platforms.

Technologies Utilized in the Store

Procurement of the supermarket both for physical stores and virtual stores of the supermarket is based on e-business technologies. It is more improved than manual entries of products in the inventories for both types of stores present in the market (Wagner et al. 2016). Apart from that, the technologies help in maintaining a proper amount of stocks in the inventory so that the customers do not face any condition of out of stock in both the online portal and the physical stores of the supermarket (Bahinipati 2014). Apart from that, with the usage of the technology, human presence is also there for keeping in track of the technologies working in the right pace in terms of procuring goods for the company (Battersby and Peyton 2014).

Both cross selling and up selling of the products are done by the sales persons present in the supermarkets. Use of technology aids in selling of the products by improving the shopping experiences of the shoppers of the supermarket (Trafialek et al. 2016). The sales persons are present in order to provide guidelines to the shoppers while using the technologies installed in the supermarket. However, sales of products depend on the price of the products. It is seen that the customers are supporting the use of technologies in the store in order to choose the appropriate product as per their requirements (Saleheen et al. 2014).

Forecasting and analysis is an important section for calculating the future trend of profit analysis. Apart from that, forecasting is done not only in terms of financial calculations but also calculating trends in market (Johnston and Marshall 2016). Forecasting of market trends includes many aspects such as market research, product trends, mindset of consumers, shopping patterns of the consumers, competitor analysis, current promotional techniques used by competitors, pricing strategies, technologies used by the competitors in order to develop loyalty programs, etc (Fabianová et al. 2016). These information are collected by the supermarket in order to forecast the trends of the sales and trends of the strategies improve the sales an d customer service of the company towards attracting more customers (Rasmussen et al. 2016).

Customer experience is an important aspect of the business that is related to profitability of the supermarket. Technologies are used by the company in order to improve the shopping experience of the customers. It is seen that the competitor brands are focused on the preferences and satisfaction of the customers in order to increase the sales of the products (Granger 2014). It is seen that the loyal programs of the company are formulated in order to engage the customers while buying products regularly from the stores in order to avail discounts and promotional offers for them (Peppers and Rogers 2016). The virtual store of the supermarket is also advanced and user friendly that improve the online shopping experience of the customers. Customer experience can be improved with the implementation of technology as the trends of shopping of the consumers are changing day by day. Future trends of shopping are changing into online shopping mostly rather than offline shopping (Wu et al. 2014).

Implementation of E-business Technologies in Daily Activities

In terms of procurement process of the supermarket, the platform of e-procurement can be utilised in order to manage the activities of procurement via online platforms. Several online platforms or software are deployed by the supermarket such as E-reverse auctioning software, e-sourcing software, Maintenance and Repair Operations, E-market websites, E-informing software, etc (Lin and Bennett 2014).

MRO software is used in designing the track, approve and create the purchase related to MRO. This system is helpful in the supermarkets to deal with manufacturing units that requires regular maintenance and refurbish related supplies. The supermarket creates E-sourcing platform in order to manage the sourcing activities of the suppliers. E-reverse auctioning platforms are used in building a tender bid for the company (Kurnia et al. 2015).

The futuristic technology developed by Microsoft that will provide the details of the products touched by the shopper. Microsoft Kinect sensors are used in the shelves of the supermarket that have a mirrored display that will spill out the details of the products like pricing and carbon footprint, etc. touched by them (Ma et al. 2015). Tablet laden smart carts are used by the supermarket which automatically provides recommendations of the items the customer has selected in the shopping list via recognition sensors. Apart from that, augmented reality can also be used by the supermarket for increased sales. Virtual stores for grocery and other items for the customers (Lee et al. 2015). Customers can choose the products from the virtual shelves and through scanning of bar codes in the mobile app and the destinations are tagged via GPS to the augmented buildings. So called drive through supermarket is the main trend in future for the supermarkets and hypermarkets. This service is mostly used in the brick and mortar stores rather than virtual stores. These will save the time of the shoppers who are in rush and run out of time by saving the queuing time and reducing the time and costs (Kurnia et al. 2015).

In terms of forecasting and analysis, different types of technologies related to the analysis of sales of the supermarket are used. The 3D printers and other 3D technologies related to packaging of goods and new product development are used in order to increase the amount of sales. Various mobile applications are used in order to keep in track of the number of products in a day or in a month so that the prediction of sales of the supermarkets (Cagliano et al. 2015). Hence the profitability of the company is calculated. Various e-software are used in calculation of the profitability of the company in a monthly basis.

Competition in the Market

The technologies used to improve the customer experience are in-store scanners and the mobile apps that are used in scanning the bar codes while letting the customers while ringing up purchases as they roam through the aisles of supermarket. Scan It is the name of the app. Kid friendly carts are used by the company for kids. It is a video equipped car shaped carts for the kids (Choshin and Ghaffari 2017). The supermarket also uses fuel rewards after a certain amount of purchase from the store for improving shoppers’ experience. Scanners are also used by the store that scans items without bar codes These scanners usually follows object recognition system through colour and pattern recognition (Doub et al. 2015). Radio tags of IBM can be used for automatic checkouts that will focus the checkout of the customer with their mode of bill payment via smartphones. There are many types of applications used in the supermarkets such as interactive tables where customers can fill the entries regarding the product such as nutritional content, carbon footprint, etc. on the digital screens. Apart from that, they also provide the suggestions about the benefits and calorie content of the food items. This also applied in the apparel section (Cagliano et al. 2017).

Conclusion

The report focuses on the usage of different types of technology used in the supermarket for the development of the business operations in the market of United Kingdom. It can be said that the market of United Kingdom in terms of supermarket is saturated in nature. There are big multinational giants of supermarkets that are ruling over the country. Price war is the main theme of competition along with the improvement of customer experience while shopping in the supermarkets. The supermarket in the country is trying to achieve a substantial market share along with brand reputation in the minds of the customers of United Kingdom. It can be concluded that the supermarket is giving priority to the nature of shopping patterns of the consumers along with the preferences of buying things. The technologies that are used by the company are selected after conducting a thorough and extensive market research regarding the consumer behaviour of the customers of the United Kingdom. Apart from that, the usage of the technologies are explained in details regarding to the operations of the supermarket such as forecasting & analysis, customer experience, procurement, selling, etc. However, the store operations are also described in details in order to select the proper technology required for improvement of the sales and revenue generation.

Procurement for Physical and Virtual Stores

References

Bahinipati, B.K., 2014. The procurement perspectives of fruits and vegetables supply chain planning. International Journal of Supply Chain Management, 3(2).

Battersby, J. and Peyton, S., 2014, June. The geography of supermarkets in Cape Town: Supermarket expansion and food access. In Urban Forum (Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 153-164). Springer Netherlands.

Cagliano, A.C., Cagliano, A.C., De Marco, A., De Marco, A., Rafele, C. and Rafele, C., 2017. E-grocery supply chain management enabled by mobile tools. Business Process Management Journal, 23(1), pp.47-70.

Cagliano, A.C., De Marco, A., Rafele, C., Bragagnini, A. and Gobbato, L., 2015. Analysing the diffusion of a mobile service supporting the e-grocery supply chain. Business Process Management Journal, 21(4), pp.928-963.

Choshin, M. and Ghaffari, A., 2017. An investigation of the impact of effective factors on the success of e-commerce in small-and medium-sized companies. Computers in Human Behavior, 66, pp.67-74.

Doub, A.E., Levin, A., Heath, C.E. and LeVangie, K., 2015. Mobile app-etite: Consumer attitudes towards and use of mobile technology in the context of eating behaviour. Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice, 17(2), pp.114-129.

Fabianová, J., Ka?máry, P., Molnár, V. and Michalik, P., 2016. Using a Software Tool in Forecasting: a Case Study of Sales Forecasting Taking into Account Data Uncertainty. Open Engineering, 6(1).

Granger, C.W.J., 2014. Forecasting in business and economics. Academic Press.

Johnston, M.W. and Marshall, G.W., 2016. Contemporary selling: Building relationships, creating value. Routledge.

Kurnia, S., Choudrie, J., Mahbubur, R.M. and Alzougool, B., 2015. E-commerce technology adoption: A Malaysian grocery SME retail sector study. Journal of Business Research, 68(9), pp.1906-1918.

Kurnia, S., Karnali, R.J. and Rahim, M.M., 2015. A qualitative study of business-to-business electronic commerce adoption within the Indonesian grocery industry: a multi-theory perspective. Information & Management, 52(4), pp.518-536.

Lee, D., Jeong, H., Cho, J., Jeong, J. and Moon, J., 2015. Grocery shopping via t-commerce in korea: new shopping channel adoption behavior based on prior e-commerce experience. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, 18(2), p.1.

Lin, Z. and Bennett, D., 2014. Examining retail customer experience and the moderation effect of loyalty programmes. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 42(10), pp.929-947.

Ma, L., Nie, F. and Lu, Q., 2015, August. An analysis of supply chain restructuring based on Big Data and mobile Internet—A case study of warehouse-type supermarkets. In Grey Systems and Intelligent Services (GSIS), 2015 IEEE International Conference on (pp. 446-451). IEEE.

Peppers, D. and Rogers, M., 2016. Managing Customer Experience and Relationships: A Strategic Framework. John Wiley & Sons.

Rasmussen, L.B., Bacher, P., Madsen, H., Nielsen, H.A., Heerup, C. and Green, T., 2016. Load forecasting of supermarket refrigeration. Applied Energy, 163, pp.32-40.

Saleheen, F., Miraz, M.H., Habib, M.M. and Hanafi, Z., 2014. Challenges of Warehouse Operations: A Case Study in Retail Supermarket. International Journal of Supply Chain Management, 3(4).

Trafialek, J., Zwolinski, M. and Kolanowski, W., 2016. Assessing hygiene practices during fish selling in retail stores. British Food Journal, 118(8), pp.2053-2067.

Wagner, J., Nickel, S., Rempel, J. and Verbenkov, M., 2016. Supermarket Food Procurement Practices in Dar es Salaam: Risks and Benefits for Rural Smallholder Farmers. Volume XII Issue I Fall/Winter 2016, 36, p.36.

Wu, P.L., Yeh, S.S. and Woodside, A.G., 2014. Applying complexity theory to deepen service dominant logic: Configural analysis of customer experience-and-outcome assessments of professional services for personal transformations. Journal of Business Research, 67(8), pp.1647-1670.

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