Aligning e-business capabilities with existing business strengthsBY Australian Retailers Association
The Internet is a powerful channel that presents new opportunities for touching customers, enriching products and services with information, squeezing out costs through process automation, and redesigning internal business processes through enhanced communication and knowledge sharing.
In most organisations, e-business processes are changing the nature of the buyer-seller relationship, the role of information technology (IT), and the design of structures and roles. As companies attempt to capitalise on their existing capabilities through the Internet, they necessarily disrupt their embedded processes.
This process of leveraging strengths and disrupting habits underlies the migration to e-business—a migration from marketplace to market space. Whether customers and competitors indirectly change the business changes or e-commerce will ultimately affect the business.
In taking a pro-active approach, the first issue to examine is the relationship of e-commerce capabilities to the existing business strengths. Specifically, whether e-commerce may assist or undermine these business strengths.
This information can then contribute to developing an effective response. A central feature of any successful e-commerce strategy is that it is built upon an intimate understanding of consumer needs and preferences. With the Internet being a customer-driven channel, key online strengths are founded upon helping customers to achieve what they want to achieve.
The more adequately the existing business strengths are understood, the more the business will be able to leverage those strengths online. The true effects of e-commerce will be discovered as you build experience and understanding of the Internet, customers, and business.
Before translating existing strengths into online strengths, it’s useful to talk to existing and target customers to make sure you’re on the right track. The degree of community and interaction on the Internet has given rise to what could be called new radical consumerism.
A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies. These markets are conversations. Their members communicate in a language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny, and often shocking. Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can't be faked.
The abundance of information and interaction opportunities on the Internet effectively trains people to be quick and unforgiving in their judgements. These consumers know that if the offerings and services of one business are unsatisfactory, that’s okay because they can probably find anything from 10 to 100 others in less than 30 seconds.
Modern retailers can no longer ignore the presence of online channels and remain sustainable. Whether they decide that an online presence is a viable part of their business model or not; every retailer needs to understand the implications of online retailing for their business.
The ARA Retail Institute runs multiple workshops to help you and your business thrive. Join the ARA Retail Institute in their latest workshop which looks into developing and delivering product strategies, managing a complete range selection, order placement and financial performance of the business.
About ARA Retail Institute
The ARA Retail Institute is Australia’s leading retail training provider for both accredited and non-accredited learning programs. For more information, please visit: www.retailinstitute.org.au
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Australian Retailers Association
Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.