A Strategic Approach to e-Business

Written by Bob MacAvoy

Web technology can be seductive. It is all too easy to install a Web server, generate some flashy graphics and, bingo, you have an electronic version of your core business operations. Unfortunately, successfully transitioning your company to e-business a lot more complicated than that. E-business is not just about developing a Web site but rather changing your business model to adapt torepparttar new economy. Simply grafting a snazzy front-end on your current business is unlikely to take full advantage ofrepparttar 109078 opportunities offered byrepparttar 109079 e-business revolution and may in fact be a prescription for disaster.

The problem with this approach is that it doesn't addressrepparttar 109080 important issue of whether your current business model can be improved to take advantage of new e-business opportunities. For example, suppose you have regional distribution centers acrossrepparttar 109081 country. Without a doubt,repparttar 109082 Internet can speed communications between these distribution centers. But that overlooksrepparttar 109083 possibility thatrepparttar 109084 Web may make it possible to serverepparttar 109085 country from far fewer distribution centers or even that you need don't need regional centers at all any more. The nonstrategic approach to e-business also leaves a free path for a new market entrant to develop a more efficient channel structure that blows you out ofrepparttar 109086 water.

What you should be doing instead is to first develop a macro level business strategy that provides a road map for adapting your business torepparttar 109087 era of e-business. Just like developing a business strategy forrepparttar 109088 old economy, your e-business strategy should start by considering your current position inrepparttar 109089 market including strengths and weaknesses, products and distribution channels,repparttar 109090 challenge posed by competition, new opportunities inrepparttar 109091 market, etc. But atrepparttar 109092 same time you need to considerrepparttar 109093 opportunities and challenges posed byrepparttar 109094 Internet, such asrepparttar 109095 potential to interact directly with customers to streamline distribution channels as well asrepparttar 109096 competitive threat posed by new market entrants leveragingrepparttar 109097 Internet.

The next step is mapping a path to implement that strategy while puttingrepparttar 109098 primary emphasis on delivering a positive experience to your customers, channel partners andrepparttar 109099 others with whom you interact. Trying to avoid going downrepparttar 109100 blind alley of making incremental improvements to your existing business. For example, business units, with each targeting specific products and markets, may organize your company. In that case,repparttar 109101 individual business units are doubtless thinking about how they can optimize their own piece ofrepparttar 109102 pie rather thanrepparttar 109103 effect ofrepparttar 109104 e-business revolution onrepparttar 109105 entire company. Chances are, many of these units may be performingrepparttar 109106 same business processes in slightly different ways. In that case, there are probably serious opportunities of scale across those business units, such as usingrepparttar 109107 same technology to perform processes such as sales order processing, inventory or customer service. Taking advantage of these opportunities will require a big-picture perspective that requiresrepparttar 109108 involvement of top management to serve as an integrating force.

It's important that your e-business strategyrepparttar 109109 focus not onrepparttar 109110 needs of fiefdoms within your own company but rather onrepparttar 109111 experience ofrepparttar 109112 user of your system, whether it's a customer, general partner or employee that is interacting with you. One ofrepparttar 109113 most important areas is segmenting your strategy to addressrepparttar 109114 individual needs of different users. For example, a human resources Intranet should be subdivided so that employees are able to quickly get information on their benefits and compensation while human resources professionals are able to obtainrepparttar 109115 much more complex information that they need to do their jobs.


Written by Heather Reimer

The day is coming soon when every web wanderer goes shopping online without a care. A day when nobody hesitates for even a microsecond before entering their credit card information and clicking on "BUY".

But atrepparttar moment, only 40% of all Internet users are doing so. The other 60% still want to have their purchases firmly in hand atrepparttar 109077 cash register before opening their wallets.

So how do you, as an Internet entrepreneur, overcomerepparttar 109078 ultimate e-challenge? How do you reach out and comfortrepparttar 109079 nervous andrepparttar 109080 hesitant?

The answer is surprisingly simple and inexpensive, but rarely used to its best effect: communication. Specifically,repparttar 109081 things you communicate to your customers about your service/product andrepparttar 109082 WAY you express them.

Think aboutrepparttar 109083 atmosphere that makes you feel comfortable when you go shopping... howrepparttar 109084 staff treat you at your favorite store... how did they win your trust and your business?

Most online shoppers are attracted by a casual style of information presentation. Imagine how you would pitch your product ifrepparttar 109085 client were seated right in front of you. Actually trying this with a friend or coworker can help clarify your thoughts. Then write it that way (preferably withoutrepparttar 109086 ums and ahs!) Getrepparttar 109087 text proofread carefully... nothing diminishes respect like a page full of spelling mistakes!

Want to really connect with your visitors? Introduce yourself or another key person inrepparttar 109088 company by using a real name and photograph. This brandsrepparttar 109089 site as belonging to a real, live person and creates a subtle bond.

An "About Us" page isrepparttar 109090 perfect place to build on that feeling. Here's where you explain what compelled you to start your e-business, what your goals are, your business ethic and why customers should deal with you instead of your competition. In fact, a short 3- or 4-line version of that same text can be displayed onrepparttar 109091 bottom of each page of your site as a sort of signature.

And never forgetrepparttar 109092 best free confidence-builder ever invented:repparttar 109093 testimonial. Include as much information as you can aboutrepparttar 109094 source ofrepparttar 109095 testimonial: first and last names, city of residence, business name or URL if applicable. (Get permission first) This lends much more credibility than, for example:

"Loved your online underwater basket weaving course!" JB, USA.

Then put those quotes in high traffic locations. Don't make your customers search high and low for them because most won't bother.

Brag a little... If your site is affiliated with or has been recognized by other organizations, get permission to use their logo on your index page. Same goes for any awards you've received. Those little official-looking buttons and logos breed trust because they ARE official looking and because respected institutions stand behind them!

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