Table of Content and Figures
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
2. PROJECT OUTLINE AND SOLUTION
2.5. HOW THE STRATEGY AFFECTS THE BUSINESS
3. JUSTIFICATION OF THE IDEA
4. IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
FIGURE 1: ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE (SOURCE: OWN FIGURE)
FIGURE 2: SWOT ANALYSIS (SOURCE: OWN FIGURE BASED ON CHAFFEY, 2014, P.197)
1. Executive Summary
Cranvilles Department Store, currently selling high-quality products in Manhattan, USA enjoys an excellent reputation among its costumers, mainly because of its highly trained sales staff. However, Mark Cranville, CEO of that enterprise is worried that the company gets behind current technology as it has no website or e-business strategy.
After examining the company as well as its competitors it was found that the company should set up an all-embracing web presence as main pillar of an e-business strategy to keep up with modern technology and allow sustainable growth. This website will be accompanied by social media marketing as well as a change in the organisationalstructure of the business to optimise business processes.
In order to achieve the aims and objectives of this venture specific actions and strategies were identified, which are explained in this consultancy report. Furthermore, potential risks were assessed in order to provide a most broad overview.
2. Project Outline and Solution
The aim of this paper is to design and apply an e-business strategy in order to advice the manager and owner of Cranvilles Department Store, Marc Cranville.
According to the case study, Cranvilles Department Store is a prestigious, upscale department store located in one of the metropolitan areas of Manhattan, USA. The enterprise offers a broad variety of products, which are split up in specialised departments. More specifically, the Store has departments for women, men, children, cosmetics, after-shave, linen, furniture and house wares.
In terms of business operations Cranvilles Department Store consists of 4 main Departments, each responsible for respectively purchase, finance, sales as well as operations and shop floor. Each of these departments is well structured and organised in order to fulfil their own specific tasks.
According to the owner, Cranvilles Department Store gained excellent reputation among its costumers, mainly because of its highly trained sales staff as well as the quality and uniqueness of the offered products.
Since the enterprise currently neither has an online presence nor an e-business strategy, Mr Cranville is worried that the business is getting behind current technology.
Taking a brief look at local competitors, is becomes clear that the vast majority of high-class stores in Manhattan have an e-business strategy as well as they are present online.
As an e-business strategy basically “is aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of an organisation ” (Chaffey, 2014, p.XIV) this consultancy report will propose a specificallytailored e-business strategy to Mr Cranville in order to adjust the enterprise to therequirements of a constantly changing market. Since Cranvilles Department Store is aretailer in the most classical sense the implementation of a sales website as the majorpillar of the e-business strategy appears to be adequate. Therefore, this consultancyreport will focus of the development and implementation of such a website.
As the focus throughout this report lays on the development of a website as part of an e-business strategy the fundamental aim is to transfer the unique in-store-shopping experience to the Internet. A detailed proposal how that can be achieved will be given in chapter 2.4. Solutions. In order to break down the main aim into concrete parts the following aspects can be seen as cornerstones of the project:
Firstly, a website with the ability of selling products has to be developed as it represents the most important part of the e-business strategy.
Secondly, new costumers not only from the U.S. but also from all over the world have to be acquired for both, online and in-store purchases.
Finally, both of the above will help to increase the reach of Cranvilles Department store.
Furthermore, social media has to be entered as it represents a powerful marketing tool to promote both, online and offline store.
The proposed e-business strategy will consequently pursue and, ultimately reach these aims.
In order to set concrete milestones within the project specific objectives have to be determined. Such milestones, in this case in the shape of objectives, are necessarily required to successfully implement the e-business strategy. To find suitable and realistic objectives the strategy of “Setting SMART Objectives ” (Chaffey, 2014, p.210) was used. Specifically, the following objectives will be set:
Firstly, the online revenue of the new website will be at least 30% of the total sales revenue by the end of 2017.
Secondly, an increase of 20% of the in-store revenue will be achieved by the end of 2016.
Finally, as a result of the former two objectives, the profitability of the shop-floor will increase by 40% by the end of 2017.
Furthermore, the enterprise will acquire about 25,000 followers on Twitter and 200,000 followers on Facebook.
The following chapter will examine how these objectives will be achieved.
In order to achieve the above-mentioned aims and objectives, this chapter will proposecertain steps to set up the e-business strategy of Cranvilles Departments Store. The to bepresented solution consists of four aspects which have to be considered. Nonetheless,the overall goal of the strategy is to launch an all-embracing website to representCranvilles Department Store on the Internet. As it was found above, CranvillesDepartment Store has a fine reputation among its costumers and stands for exclusivityand luxury. A challenge to be tackled is to transfer these characteristics to the website and to picture the unique shopping experience throughout the web presence. As competitor analysis is crucial to design a successful e-business strategy (Chaffey, 2014, p.203) certain parts of competitor’s e-business strategies will be adopted or used for stimulation. Therefore, the following aspects were identified:
Firstly, the website itself has to be adjusted to the costumer’s expectations as it is theonline ‘branch’ of Cranvilles Department Store. Therefore, next to the ability to sellproducts it has to picture the in-store atmosphere. This can be achieved by mimickingthe in-store experience. A strategy that high-quality clothing manufacturer Ted BakerPlc. (www.tedbaker.com/uk) is using. The aim of such a strategy is to create a distinctivevisual user interface in order to attract the costumer. Hereby, exclusivity andindividuality will be connoted. Additionally, such a web presence refers to the highlytrained and professional sales staff, which the costumer will find on the shop floor.Therefore, this strategy persuades the objective of generating a large online salesvolume as well as it increases the in-store revenue. Furthermore, the shopping websitewill have to offer a broad range of paying options to meet the costumer’s demands assuitable as possible. Additionally, a world wide shipping programme increases the reachof Cranvilles Department Store as new costumers can be acquired worldwide. Taking alook at direct competitors, solely Bergdorf Goodman offers a worldwide shippingprogramme whereas other department stores only offer shipping to the US and the UK.Therefore, Cranvilles Department Store will create an USP if a worldwide shippingprogramme will be put into practice.
Secondly, storytelling is an absolutely substantial part of the appearance of high-classdepartment stores (Ikeler; Jackson 2010). Direct competitors in Manhattan such asBergdorf Goodman, Macy’s as well as Bloomingdales created a myth around thecompany’s history. Starting at the roots of the enterprise, these companies tell a story ofsuccess to the costumer. Storytelling personalises the, per se abstract entity ‘company’and therefore allows the costumer to identify with it. Emotional connection with thecompany is crucial to build and maintain costumer loyalty that in the second step helpsto generate higher revenue.
Consequently, the story of Cranvilles Department Store has to be developed and communicated via the website and the sales staff on the shop-floor.
Finally, social media marketing is an indispensable factor among an e-business strategy.Since social media is unarguable “ influential in shaping people ’ s opinions about brands ” (Chaffey, 2014, p.7) the usage of and right positioning within social media is a sensitivechallenge to be tackled. Via social media companies can directly communicate with theircostumers and, more importantly, provide insights and ’backstage information’ to givecostumers who follow their social media content an exclusive feeling. Regularly updatedsocial media content makes the company a part of its followers daily life and therefore,strengthens the bonds between company and costumer. In a nutshell, social mediaimproves the costumer relationship and loyalty, consequently leading to larger salesvolume and higher revenue.
Furthermore, social media provides a unique marketing and advertisement platform that should be used in the context of an e-business strategy.
2.5. How The Strategy Affects the Business
The development and application of an e-business strategy certainly impacts the organisational structure of Cranvilles Department Store. Necessarily, a new department will have to be created: The Online Department. This department will be responsible for the maintenance of the online presence of Cranvilles Department Store as well as social media communication. In order to safe costs and time it is recommended to outsource the initial development of the website including both back- and frontend. Furthermore, the need for higher stocks and a shipping department will approximately exceed the capacity of the current premises. Therefore, in order to safe costs, it is recommended to outsource logistics as well. All further changes in the organisational structure of the business can be found in the following organigram.