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In now days where the level of technology is increased after each minute; it is very difficult to run large business like that of HASM Company with traditional approach only. In order to success in the market place and global competition, you need to have an online approach. The level of customer services will of course increase more and more by having an e-commerce service. The following are some reason why the introduction of e-commerce service might affect the level of customer services provided:
Range of customers can get services at the time:
Instead of providing services to customers one after another in traditional approach and leaving others waiting on the cue for services; using e-commerce is different, many customers may get services at the time. This is possible because in the e-commerce mode of service providing, many activities are done by automatic systems. There fore, there is a great benefit to have an e-commerce service as a mode of business.
It's very easy to make follow up on the service provided:
If the customer made purchase via e-commerce, that customer is automatically inserted in the company's customer database. There fore, the company will know its customers details along with their contact and addresses. For that reason, it will be easy to make follow up to the services provided by the company and make sure the client get the order in time. This will increase the customer satisfaction and products improvement. It's also builds an effective relationship between customers and the company.
Customers will get services from anywhere and anytime:
E-commerce service is available worldwide 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 52 weeks a year. For that benefit customers may make purchases at anywhere and anytime they need to purchase. However this is not possible through traditional approach where service is provided by limited time. This makes the level of customer service to be higher only by having an e-commerce service.
Customers will look after themselves:
In e-commerce service, many activities that are done by customer service argents in traditional mode of business are done by customers themselves. In traditional mode of business, customer service argents are doing every thing needed in order the purchase to occur. But it is different to the e-commerce services where so many activities are done by customers themselves.
For example, there is a software called auto responder which may be used by the company for responding to many routine customer queries; always this software is installed to the company telephones in which many routine customer questions and their related answers are inserted; there fore, when customers dial for asking questions, their questions may be answered by this system; only technical rare questions may be answered by customer service argents.
Easier for customer to place order:
Using an e-commerce customer may easier keep their order, just going to the site, choosing the products that he/she deeds and place an order for those products. Customer can easily order what they want at any time.
Potential Advantages and disadvantages of e-commerce to customers
Advantages: Customers will cut many costs, in e-commerce costs are cut down from customers. For example, there will be no transport cost to follow up on their order since they'll purchase and the company will make sure they product are delivered to them, therefore they'll avoid parking costs while visiting to each shop, they won't be any intermediaries and at all when using e-commerce service.
Customers will save plant of time and money for not visiting the stores physically:
Before making purchase of course customers will need to do some researches about the products they want to buy which this can be done from anywhere could be at home, office anyplace that the client feels is appropriate to do so. In traditional mode of business, this is the hardest stage which doesn't give the customers alternative at all. But it is different with e-commerce where customers may do their research many times as the please go through different exciting shops within few minutes without having to go there physically.
The will no closure at any time:
Because e-commerce business is available 24 hours a day and every day, there is no closure of business. There fore, customers may buy products at anytime that appropriate for them. E-commerce provides the service need all the time.
Customers' satisfaction is well considered:
In e-commerce business, there is a customer database in which all customers who bought products at the company they previous recorded are and their contact and addresses details are kept, however this details will be use to sending them promotions. This leads to customer satisfaction and a royal relationship between the company and its client.
Payment method this is done online/ bank transfers:
This helps customers to avoid the serious problem of money lost during the journey of visiting shops with cash on hand, which in traditional approach it's must cash or credit cards on hand whatever you pay visit to the store. With e-commerce it give them an easy and safe alternative Instead of visiting with money or they credit cards, e-commerce enables customers to pay online/ through their bank accounts or electronic money transfer.
Disadvantages of e-commerce to customers:
It is difficult for potential customers to believe the order delivering process:
For potential customer is difficult to tell him/her about the order delivering process and trust it. Customers may ask themselves many questions, like, how safe my order will arrive; the order I had kept is the exactly one I will get; and other related questions.
There is range of threats to e-commerce business:
This is also a serious problem in e-commerce business. There are many threats which make customer fear about the safety of this mode of business. Some times customer money may be stolen by hackers; some times customer important details may be stolen or lost along the way. There fore, customer may feel this is no safe mode of transaction.
E-commerce service is for literate people only:
Of course to use e-commerce customers need to know how to read and write and also to use computer literacy especially in Microsoft Internet Explorer. There fore, for illiterate customers it is difficult to use this service.
Because e-commerce customers are from different nations, the language difference problem must occur. For example, the web page may be designed for English language; it will be difficult for people who do not know English to buy products they need.
How to counter E-Commerce Problems
There should be good security policies in order to ensure that there is safety to both customers and the company.
The customer service team should be very careful on processing order and delivering them.
The web designers should keep a languages options for customers, which contains all international languages, this will enable customer to visit the site by his/her national language.
The site should be designed in simple programming language which helps non computers to access the site.
Guidance for e-commerce websites:
The e-commerce regulations does your website comply:
They are three web tools for building better website for less,
These three tools will help them find free graphics, instantly, discover an available domain name and create a members-only website to generate their income. More business marketing tips to guide the customers on finding their where about on what they need on e-commerce service.
MARKETING PLANNING FOR HASM COMPANY
Many business conducted using traditional approach are retarding. This is because range of customers buys their products and other needs online. In addition the costs required to conduct such business are very high. For that reason many business now are conducted through online approach because the costs of operating it are lower and it is profitable. In addition customers are now shifted to an electronic plat form business.
If the HASM Company introduces an e-commerce mode of business, it will grow faster, and be on higher position compare to the other market competitors, and also it will increase its profits more and more. However, it will be easy to monitor the business operation activities. Therefore I recommend that the HASM Company introduce an e-commerce site for its business.
Marketing Planning for e-commerce takes about 6 key activities that when addressed very well the business will be more successful and meet its expectation level. The key activities are as follow:
Here we need to identify the current environment of the business and the future environment of the business. For that manner we need to look at the following key factors for situation analysis:
Here we analyze the demand of the business the site and projected customers. This is done by the answers of the following questions:
What is the percentage of customer business have access through the internet?
What is the percentage of member of the buying unit in these business have access to the internet?
What is the percentage of customers are prepared to buy product online?
What percentage of customers with the access to the internet are not prepared to purchase online, but they are influenced by web-based to buy offline?
What are the barriers to the adoption amongst customers and can we encourage them to adopt it?
Here we analyze the e-business services or products offered by your competitors and adopted by their customers. In order to success on this, the HSM Company should review on, well-known local competitors, well-known international competitors, and new internet companies locally and world wide. Therefore from these competitors you need to review the products offered and the customers' adoptions. Look for those products offered by these competitors and with high customer adoption. Keep those products if they haven't done it.
Here we analyze whether our competitors have any special sponsorship arrangements and micro-site created with intermediaries? The other aspect for situation analysis for intermediaries is the way in which the marketplace is operated. And to what extent do competitors are using disintermediation and reinter mediation?
After analyzing the situation, we now set our objectives. Our objectives will affect the almost all the other following activities i.e. strategies, tactics, actions, and control. Therefore, we should very careful on objectives setting. There are many objectives used in objective setting, but the best approach for HASM is SMART approach which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-constrained.
However, the objective set by HASM should follow that approach effectively. It should set objectives which are specific, easy to be measured, which are achievable, realistic and should be specified for that period time.
This is the next step in marketing planning where the company set its ways in which the objectives set will be achieved. In setting the strategies, we will look at the following important areas:
Market and Product positioning:
The site offers the opportunity for HASM to change its products or modifying them. In this stage the company set the marketing position to them self and also their products to sell. This case was first stated by Ansoff (1957). He developed four options for positioning the business: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
Market penetration is the selling of existing product but in new market; market development means selling existing products into existing market; product development means selling new products into existing market; and diversification means selling different products to a new market. Therefore, for the HASM goals, the best approach is market penetration approach.
Target market strategies:
Here there is evaluation and selection of appropriate segments and appropriate offers. In this step we choose the segment of customers to provide services to and we select the appropriate offers to offer them. The products to sell depends on the segment we selected. For example, if the HASM Company selected the young customers, the products that it should offer are modern products, digital and of higher quality.
These are the ways in which the strategies planned will be achieved and implemented. Here we shall look at 4P's of Products, Price, Place, and Promotion. And other 3 P's of People, Process, and Physical evidence. After looking at these factors we should also look PESTEL factors which we shall discuss them letter.
Here we select the quality of products we need to offer. The quality of those products should focus to the segment we had positioned ourselves in. For example, if we select young customers we should sell the modern audio equipments and of higher quality.
Here we set the price of the products we shall offer. The price will be set according to the costs we use and the level of profit we need. For example, if we sell high quality products the price should be higher to exceed all costs.
Here we choose the place to offer our products. But because we use e-commerce our products will be sold globally.
After selecting the segment and products to sell, we should communicate our site to those we have selected to be our customers. Therefore, the site will be promoted to those targeted customers.
The site will be promoted using online media and offline media. Online media include mobile phones, internet, e-mails, TV's, etc. and offline media are newspapers, signboards, radios, and journals, etc.
These are activities done by managers to execute the plan. When specifying actions you need to ask yourself the following questions:
What level of investment in the internet channel to deliver the expected services? What will be the payback?
What training of staff is required?
What new responsibilities are required for effective internet marketing?
Are changes in organizational structure required?
What activities are involved in creating and maintaining the web site?
The control process can combine both online and traditional approach. For example, we can conduct marketing research to obtain customers views about the web site and also we can use online analysis of web-server log files that uses technology to monitor whether objectives are achieved.
Use of Information Gathered from Visitors for Marketing Activities
The company will get information from visitors through different ways, for example, customer may send e-mail to the company to explain queries of the site; company may get information through the marketing researches which tells how many people visited the site, how many were bought, how many asked, how many left without appreciating, and why? These sources of information will be used by marketers for marketing activities.
SECURITY POLICY TO AN E-COMMERCE SITE
The biggest problem in e-commerce's known? It is the issue about security which makes this mode of business to be like theft to the eyes of those who have low knowledge about e-commerce. Many potential customers remain on cross road about this mode of business when they think about the safety of this business.
The following are three keys that are highly important part to an e-commerce business:
Authentication - this is the part of security policy which helps merchant to identify whether who claims to be the customer is true or thief. Also helps customer to identify whether who claims to be merchant is true or theft.
Possible threat that may occur:
For example, when this part of the security policy is not adequate addressed; a person may pretend as customer and may steal transaction or credit card details might from merchant. On the other hand a person may pretend as a merchant and steals transaction details from the customer. But by the presence of this security policy, this theft might be stopped.
Access control is the one among the security policies which disable those who are not authority to access a certain data. This is done normally by keeping passwords to those data which are known only by people who are authority to access them.
Possible threat that may occur:
For example, a person who has no authority to access certain data may access them and causes the dangerous thing to the business development. It doesn't matter if this person is inside or outside the company. For example, the data from an accountant do not required to be shared by anyone else who is not involve at that particular department in the company. On the other hand some marketing data do not required to be known by competitors. Therefore, when there is security on accessing the data the safety of this information will be maintained.
This is the software which checks whether the message sent is complete, i.e. not corrupted. Sometimes messages come to the company inbox are incomplete, therefore, this security part may identify such errors on the messages.
Possible threat that may occur:
When the message sent is incomplete or corrupted causes the user of that message to record the data which is incomplete or incorrect. For example, when these data are information from customers for keeping their orders; the receiver may receive the incomplete data and record them hopping that customers sent only that of he/she has been received. The hard problem come while customer receives the order and sees is incomplete. Then the problem comes between customer and company, and if this problem is adequately addressed, it may break the company image and the relationship with their client.
WAYS OF MEASURING BENEFITS OF AN E-COMMERCE SITE
To be able to know whether your e-commerce site is profitable to your business or not you need to have some ways of measuring the benefits. Nothing can be monitored without having any measurement success or development of it, and also e-commerce has its ways of measuring its development.
The following are five different ways of measuring the benefits of e-commerce site that were presented by Chaffey (2000):
Measuring business contribution:
This measures the contribution of the site in terms of revenue, new market penetrations, cost and profitability. Revenues measured here are direct and indirect revenues. Also here we measure how the site contributes on the category penetration and how far the company has been expanded. However, we also measure cost and profitability of the site; therefore, we analyze the cost used to manage business under e-commerce and also the profit gained as the result of e-commerce.
Measuring marketing outcomes:
Here we measure what e-commerce site leads to the business; the sales volume after having an e-commerce site; the service contacts; and conversion and contribution efficiencies. Therefore, we will look at what e-commerce lead to our business whether positive or negative out come. Also we check the level of sales if it has increased or decreased. The level of customer services is higher or degrades. And also we will look at what conversion had brought as a result of e-commerce.
Measuring Customer satisfaction:
Here we measure site usability, performance, and contact strategies. Therefore, under this circumstance of measurement the site benefits. We shall also measure how many customers use our site (frequently or rarely); the performance of our business since we've introduces our site; and also we shall measure the contact strategies of the site.
Measuring Customer behavior:
When customer visits to our site we can note contents he/she accesses, at which time, and for how long stays to the site? And also we will examine whether he/she is satisfied or not, for example he/she buy or keep an order?
Measuring the site promotion:
Here we measure attraction efficiency, referrer efficiency, cost of acquisition and reach. By this method we shall know how the site helps on attracting new potential customers; also we measure the referrer efficiency, referrer is the site that visitor previously visited before following a link; also we will measure the cost that we had used to acquire the site and reach our targeted customers.
The most Appropriate Way to be used by HASM in Measuring Benefits of E-Commerce
The most appropriate ways in measuring the benefits of e-commerce for HASM are Business Contribution Measure and Customer satisfaction measure. The combination of these two measurements is most appropriate to HASM because:
Business contribution measures the site earnings which is why they exist.
Business contribution also measures the contribution of the site on expansion of the business
Business contribution also measures the cost used and profit gained which tell us whether the site is profitable or not.
Customer satisfaction measures the degree of the site in satisfying customer, because we exist by satisfying our customers.
And these two ways measure all measurement to all 5 ways of measuring the benefits of e-commerce.