Company X is a fictional manufacturer of gourmet snacks and treats.
As Company X moves into e-commerce, decisions must be made regarding what products and services to offer, as well as how to best market the new online presence. Although it seems obvious to offer all existing products via the online storefront, it’s possible that some products may require more customization than a simple point and click interface can provide. For example, standardized gift baskets can be easily offered with an included message. When customers want a customized gift basket including specific items, the online strategy breaks down. Therefore, Company X should offer their standard products online, and direct customers seeking more customization to a nearby brick and mortar establishment.
Although some services such as gift basket customization lend themselves to offline fulfillment, many business-to-business practices can be streamlined by moving them online. For example, an interface to allow retailers the ability to resupply their inventory would simplify their order process. By working together with popular Point of Sale (POS) vendors, it might be possible to integrate retailer POS systems into a Company X Web Service that automates this fulfillment process completely. Wholesalers and other large distributors will have other methods of fulfilling orders. Thanks to standards like Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and it’s predecessor Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), interfacing with these various systems should not be problematic (Nicolaisen, 2008).
The marketing approach for Company X e-commerce venture should focus on building the brand without being intrusive. There are four categories of marketing communications: general online communications, personalized online communications, traditional mass marketing, and direct communications. Each of these methods has a benefit and reaches a specific audience. Company X must leverage all of these methods. Unfortunately, some methods, especially online, are often perceived as intrusive by users. Therefore, care must be taken to ensure that recipients of Company X direct and personalized communications are interested and willing to received these contacts. An example of this is an opt-in newsletter that gives recipients the chance to stop receiving the communication if they wish (Rayport & Jaworski, 2004).
Nicolaisen, N. (2008). Simple Object Access Protocol for Web Applications. Faulkner Information Services. Retrieved October 31, 2008, docid: 00017821.
Rayport, J. F., & Jaworski, B. J. (2004). Introduction to e-commerce (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.