A Strategic Approach to e-Business

Written by Bob MacAvoy

Continued from page 1

Personalization is oftenrepparttar key to providing an outstanding experience torepparttar 109078 users of your Web site. As an example, one of our customers developed a first-generation web site that delivered a large volume of basic technical support information on their Web site but failed to impactrepparttar 109079 rapidly growing need for personal support services. The solution was developing a more personalized approach that provides important advantages over traditional technical support. Now, when a customer hits their support site, it now knows who they are,repparttar 109080 products they own, how long they have owned them, what release they are on, what level of support services they have contracted for, etc. The support site then provides them with a customized interface that addresses their individual needs. For example, it providesrepparttar 109081 status of outstanding service requests and technical bulletins on equipment they own.

It almost goes without saying that it's very risky to rely upon your own perception of your customers' needs. A far more effective approach is to let actual customers evaluate your existing site as well asrepparttar 109082 approach you are considering on a prototype basis so they can express their opinion as to whether it meets their needs. Focus groups and usability studies provide an excellent method to determine without a major investment whether or not your site is easy to navigate, deliversrepparttar 109083 correct brand impressions, containsrepparttar 109084 features and content that your customers are looking for, etc.

Another point to consider is that no matter how good a job you do in developing your strategy, it's going to be outdated in six months. That's why it's so important to develop a flexible, scalable architecture that will allow your system to easily adapt torepparttar 109085 future. Within a year after your site goes online, there's no doubtrepparttar 109086 competitive landscape will have changed. You may have purchased a company, been acquired, entered new markets, changed your distribution channels, etc. The use of open standards and industry standard tools can contribute torepparttar 109087 development of architecture with real staying power. Be sure to investigaterepparttar 109088 financial strength and market position ofrepparttar 109089 companies that you choose to provide components. Their ability to support you overrepparttar 109090 long term is just as important asrepparttar 109091 value of their technology.

Finally, one critical part of your e-business strategy isrepparttar 109092 use of technology in your company. Are you going to build up your own expertise to maintain your e-business? In that case, you need to develop a programming staff, graphical design studio, editorial staff for content development, etc. The other alternative is to outsource your technology development to a service provider that will maintain your infrastructure and deliver your applications as a hosted service. This approach hasrepparttar 109093 advantage of allowing you to focus on your core business operations and outsourcerepparttar 109094 technology issues to a specialist. Whichever approach you take, develop a strategy that takes advantage ofrepparttar 109095 changes wrought byrepparttar 109096 e-business revolution and your chances of success will be high.

Bob MacAvoy Vice President, Client Services Logical Design Solutions New York, New York


Written by Heather Reimer

Continued from page 1

Take into account fraud fatigue. Remember, most of us who were around beforerepparttar advent of online shopping have hadrepparttar 109077 message drilled into us: Don't give out your credit card number overrepparttar 109078 phone (or in this case, phone lines). We need to be reassured that inrepparttar 109079 21st century, it's okay to break this old rule.

Susan Grant, of Internet Fraud Watch, says it really IS okay: "Paying with a credit card isrepparttar 109080 safest way to shop online. Federal law protects credit card users if they don't get what they were promised or if unauthorized charges are made on their accounts."

Now, pass on that reassurance to your visitors. Outline your credit card security policy. Emphasize how saferepparttar 109081 new encryption technology is.

If you have a customer satisfaction policy, define it. If not, write one and stand behind it. Brick and mortar commerce has survived intorepparttar 109082 21st century because of its customer service ethic. E-commerce has to keeprepparttar 109083 pace.

Back this up with your own privacy policy. There's an incredible appetite out there for targeted e-mail addresses and other personal data. And there's no shortage of online vendors who have no qualms about selling that information. If you want your customers' confidence (and their return visit), spell out exactly what will happen with their personal data after they entrust it to you.

Don't forget about technical matters. A recent survey saidrepparttar 109084 majority of consumers who abandoned their online transactions did so because their sessions were interrupted. That means we have to pay more attention to makingrepparttar 109085 purchase process easier; fewer pages and smoother site performance are vital to keeping customers.

Now you're ready to deliverrepparttar 109086 coup de grace: Tell your visitors about your great customer service department. Splash it all over your website, because this isrepparttar 109087 stuff that trust is made of. Consumers need to know there's a place to go or a number to call if they're not satisfied. Justrepparttar 109088 fact that you're spending money on customer service staff proves you're not a fly-by-nighter.

By breeding trust in these ways, you can slowly but surely turn your window shoppers into e-shopaholics... giving you more time and money to go shopping yourself!

Heather Reimer has been involved in print and electronic journalism for over 15 years and is currently the Copy Editor for iGlobalMedia.com, a leading edge affiliate management company. iGlobalMedia Group works with over 30,000 webmasters and promotes some of the best gaming sites online. You can visit them and learn more about their affiliate program at www.iglobalmedia.com

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