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Enhancing Business Through Online Presence

Report well prepared for VG Jones concerning redevelopment and augmentation of their online business presence and e-business strategy.

Executive Summary

The Internet offers unique gain access to and huge probable, yet it is arrogant to believe that this is an easy environment to achieve: the "dot com bubble" has shown this over preceeding years. The Internet is an extremely competitive market, with price just one single issue and a concern much less critical as some would think. In the start-up period discounting as used as a means to succeed customers, public sale sites also abound and many new kinds of commercial activity are appearing. However, being cheaper that opponents is not the one consideration: to be able to achieve success, companies need to offer excellent service and simplicity to customers, a lot of whom are not really acquainted with the Internet because of its rapid growth. Most of the e-businesses are just following trends, and faltering as a result. Amazon. com made a tendency and continues to break new surface: these were versatile enough to respond to the auction fad and will continue steadily to offer customers unique retail encounters they can trust.

Amazon. com, Inc. is a web site where customers will get and discover anything they may want to buy online. The Company lists millions of unique items in categories such as books, music, DVDs, videos, consumer electronics, playthings, camera and image items, software, computer and video gaming, tools and hardware, garden and deck items, kitchen products, and cordless products. Through its Amazon Market place, Auctions and zShops services, any business or specific can sell practically anything to the business's about 30 million cumulative customers, and with Amazon. com Payments, sellers can acknowledge credit card trades. Furthermore to its U. S. -based mostly Website, www. amazon. com, the Company operates four internationally targeted Websites: www. amazon. co. uk, www. amazon. de, www. amazon. fr and www. amazon. co. jp. THE BUSINESS also operates the web Movie Databases, www. imdb. com, a comprehensive and authoritative source of information on movies and entertainment game titles, and cast and crewmembers.

Amazon Website Analysis

Impact of the Home Page

Amazon is a pioneer in the developing of e-business homepages: "From Amazon to eToys, major e-commerce sites are increasingly implementing a strikingly similar layout on their home webpages. While colors and fonts change, the tops of the sites feature not just the company company logo, but a horizontal row of tabs for standard site navigation, often underpinned by the row of subtabs; a search package; a triumvirate of "help, " "shopping cart software, " and "my accounts, " usually at the top right; and a left-side vertical column beneath it all offering more detailed navigation. " (Marlatt, 1999)

Further evidence from Marlatt's article suggests that about 20 percent of the elements with an e-commerce website are becoming standardized. Although this may lead to issues about a lack of originality in web page design, and Amazon. com boasts that others are simply following its business lead, experts think that, as early as 1999, the pattern seems destined to help consumers by allowing them to move from site to site without having to relearn a fresh layout every time. The implications of the are that designers can't ever assume that their site is the sole the one that people use, so it is important to plagarise good user interface designs, rather than create brand new ones that individuals would need to learn all over again. As a result, the suggested new website design for VG Jones will be greatly based upon combining the business's existing branding and marketing into a universal structure that is impressive, like Amazon. com's, but also easily recognisable and usable to any regular e-commerce customer.

Context of use

Amazon. com's website is employed by a variety of consumers in many ways. Many consumers simply visit the site directly buying a specific article, or with specific search guidelines at heart, others are "just browsing" certain categories or with obscure parameters at heart, possibly for a surprise idea. However, an increasing large number of consumers are from the "Amazon Affiliates Program" where Amazon pays off a little one off royalty to the any listed site that directs a consumer to it for the very first time. Video tutorial Business (2002) reported when amazon. com offered, cost-free, new software that allowed "registered third-party Web sites to search and display items that can be found at the e-commerce large. " At the time, more than 800, 000 sites were enrolled in the Amazon Affiliates Program, and since that time the quantity has increased significantly, and added to Amazon's growing success, as well as its coverage and customer statistics.

With this in mind, VG Jones' site would have to aim to cater to these three sets of consumers as well as Amazon does. It would have to ensure that its search engine was high tech, allowing visitors with specific guidelines to get the object they are trying to find efficiently, lest they become frustrated and begin looking another site. Evenly, it needs an operating and straightforward navigation system which allows browsers to get the category they are looking for with equal ease, without being extremely restrictive. The referral business, Amazon's most dominating and recognisable area of customer acquistion, ironically could be the easiest to break into: VG Jones simply needs to launch an identical program, and enrol as much of the major search engine and shopping sites as possible, ensuring that people have the choice associated with an Amazon or VG Jones product whenever we can.

Usability

Usability is definitely seen as one of Amazon's very best strengths, and is basically protected in the "Context useful" section above, for customers with specific product requirements. However, New Marketing Age (11/11/2004) has recently reported that etailers could increase sales created from keyword-based searches within a niche site if they increased poor search mechanisms, predicated on its analysis of British isles retail sites. The analysis, which included, Amazon, discovered that on average only 43 percent of all goods available were listed in results after buyers sought out particular items. The article cites this as an integral usability issue and blamed etailers for using unsophisticated search tools that don't predict the differing search conditions and phrase formations consumers use. Catriona Campbell, chairman with the Usability Company, claimed that is a common problem with retail sites, and that it is vitally important that etailers watch how people are using their se's. According to the statement, although online sales take into account just 7 percent of total British isles retail sales, the marketplace value is huge, with the Interactive Advertising in Retail Group (IMRG) estimating e-shopping to be well worth 17 billion in 2004. On the other hand, online sales in the U. S. rose by 28 percent in the third one fourth of 2004 on the previous year, corresponding to analyst Forrester.

These two pieces of information reveal a key potential way for VG Jones to issue Amazon and do well. If only 43% of goods available are being posted, then it is possible that around half of all potential online customers are being converted to true online customers; hence in the united kingdom there may be an additional 17 billion of business available to a niche site with a really accurate search engine. Thus, if such an engine motor can be developed, or qualified, by VG Jones, then it might conceivably contend with, and perhaps even outgrow, Amazon over the next couple of years, especially given the quick growth of the e-commerce market.

Page structure and navigation

Layout and navigation are usually more of a concern for the users who are simply browsing: interested prospective customers who, if indeed they can be directed to the right product, can become buyers, and when the process is straightforward, possibly even dedicated customers. Unfortunately, it would appear that here Amazon does everything right: Wolf (2004) reported that: "The pioneering electronic-tailer Amazon. com ranked highest among 52 cyber stores examined in a 2004 Customer Admiration Study that marks electronic-commerce sites on ease of navigation, responsiveness to questions, privacy security, customer focus, openness and honesty of guidelines and regard for customer data. " This review, which was conducted by the buyer Research Group, a research and consulting firm in the U. S. , showed that 54 percent of buyers abandon Sites due to difficult navigation which nearly thirty percent of retailers promote customers' data without permission.

Given these statistics, it is clear that navigation is another key to effectively getting customers, and creating the all important commitment. As being a seperate side concern, in order to maintain customer loyalty, and become seen as an ethical business, it has equally been shown that it's important that sites value customer's privacy and data. With this in mind, VG Jones' new website should focus strongly on simple navigation, borrowing heavily from Amazon's structure, and using targeted consumer surveys to determine what other features customers wish to see in a site, and putting into action these wherever possible, but without detracting from the overall navigation. Equally, VG Jones should ensure that the info protection function is honored all the time, in heart as well as letter, as the Internet established fact for growing unfavourable media at high speed, and thus ethics become even more important in the e-commerce market segments.

Information content

Information content is one of minimal understood dimensions to e-commerce: too little information and the buyer may be unwilling to buy something they have not had the opportunity to see. An excessive amount of information, and the consumer may feel that they can be being misled or sold to, or may simply be baffled, especially if the information is complex. Amazon's system appear to tred the center course quite skillfully: an acceptable amount of information is released initially, with the choice for consumers to find their way to more complex and technical information as long as they wish.

However, there exists another sizing to information, which Nutley (2004) believe that could be more important than this in the long term: the personalization of information. Personalization is definitely one of the great dreams of interactive press, and Nutley remarks that days gone by four years have revealed a significant problem with this desire: its cost. Because of this, its other problems have become apparent: both most common methods of personalizing content for a person are collaborative filtering, the technique used by Amazon to create its advice, and route selection, where the customer specifies what they are interested in. Sadly, collaborative filtering can easily be regarded as attempts to market more goods on the trunk of the current sales, and channel selection relies on the user making a mindful effort to inform the store, which many won't do for concern with receiving unnecessary promotional correspondance.

In terms of information content, it is difficult to make advice: it is clear that a balance should be provided in terms of information to the buyer, not overloading them with too much information, but ensuring all information is offered, so as not to mislead the buyer, or provide too little information to those that want it. In conditions of gathering information, there are the ethical considerations highlighted in the Navigation section, which must be well balanced with the economical costs, and sensible difficulties of gathering and using consumer data.

Amazon Business Model Analysis

It takes a great deal more than inexpensive global access to succeed: ever more many companies declare to offer one-to-one romance marketing but with little regard for the real scope such a technique requires. One-to-one marketing is something you can't implement after reading one reserve. It is a great online marketing strategy but it requires experience, investment, and almost all of all a admiration for the client, something many stores simply don't have. You may learn a couple of lessons, but long-term success takes a commitment to succeed. (Budd, 1999)

Even following the dot com bubble burst, many people still expect the secrets of immediate marketing to be very easy to realize. despite high inability rates even amongst experience experts. Reading a databases may attain short-term success, but a long-term you have to have got some knowledge and connection with the customer. So, Amazon's business models and competitive gain are based upon the three ideas of commitment, quality and dependability.

Customer loyalty is critical for success and Amazon detects over 40 percent of first-time customers will reorder, due to Amazon. com being customer-focused, rather than product, technology or marketing-focused. A far more critical concept is they are winning the mix genre loyalty of the customers: by giving a good service they may have won not just the e book customer, but their entertainment spending and soon their item spending and perhaps later others.

Quality is also essential and any Amazon customer is aware that they can rely on a total customer service program, due to Amazon's easy to understand interface and site design, proving that a great design is worth more than the best price. Also an important aspect behind the product quality feel of Amazon is the e-mail service that informs customers of the improvement of an order. Many people also admire the ability of Amazon to make advice without insulting the clients brains nor overwhelm with over considerable messages, because of its information content handling. (Budd, 1999)

Finally, dependability is what Amazon. com has invested in from the start, and persevered with throughout its early losses, and is what drives Amazon before any competition. Way too many e-commerce solutions can be found today that have tried to achieve success without making the investment essential to provide fast and reliable service. Amazon. com's customers know they can trust the service therefore the idea of moving happy customers into the areas of items and services is not really a difficult someone to reach.

Final Summary and Conclusions

Amazon's dedication with their customers, and their policies of loyalty, quality and dependability, are strongly backed up by the simple navigation, option of information, capacity to cater to a diverse selection of users, and esteem for his or her customer's data. It is this that has lead to Amazon's dominance of the e-commerce retail market over the last six years. However, in this six years, Amazon has not truly changed with the changing times, in order to raised provide its customers, alternatively they have relied on the carrying on incapability of its rivals to actually improve on its formulation.

As an outcome, if VG Jones can effectively develop an online site in an identical fashion to Amazon's, whilst also making upgraded offerings in the vital search engine and navigation areas, they can wrest customers from Amazon and also utilize the vital new customers that are an attribute of the speedily growing e-commerce markets in the developed world. With " 54 percent of consumers abandon Web sites due to difficult navigation" and "only 43 percent of all goods. . . posted in results" if is clear that here is where the topic lies, and here's where in fact the competitive advantage can, and must be gained, in order for VG Jones to overcome its major danger.

References:

1. Budd, M. (1999) An Amazon. com Report Lessons Learned! Direct Marketing; Vol. 62 Concern 3, p. 57.

2. Marlatt, A. (1999) When imitation works. Internet World; Vol. 5 Issue 31, p. 60.

3. New Press Years (11/11/2004) Poor search functions are striking sales, etailers advised. p. 4.

4. Nutley, M. (2004) Framework will be ruler in the Web's second 10 years. New Media Years; 7/22/2004, p. 16.

5. Training video Business. (2002) noted. Vol. 22 Issue 29, p. 38.

6. Wolf, A. (2004) Amazon Tops 52 Cyber Stores In Customer Respect. TWICE: This Week in Consumer Electronics; Vol. 19 Issue 12, p. 16.

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