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INTRODUCTION

The eBusiness my group had set up is for selling laptop Bags through an online website. We have chosen to operate using a clicks and mortar approach for our business which is the most feasible because our target market would have access to the internet to place an order for our goods and it would prove too costly for our new business to operate using a rented shop. It also gives us a potential opportunity to expand our business’s reach outside Birmingham should we decide to. This business was set up to provide laptop bags to university students and working professionals as its main targeted customers within Birmingham. When customers place an order for products from the website, the product would be ordered from a 3rd party supplier and delivered to the business who would then deliver the ordered products to the customer’s provided address. This would be the most cost-effective method to operate because our new business would not have the storage capacity or the funding to actually maintain a large inventory of items. According to Rappa’s Taxonomy (2010), we are using the brokerage eBusiness model which is illustrated by how our website collects a customer’s order when placed to purchase the laptop bags. The main criterion for the business’s success to be judged on include whether or not it was able to generate revenue, make a profit and to attract relevant customers to its website. In this essay, I will identify and critically analyse in detail the key reasons that determined whether the business was a success or a failure.

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One of the weakness of our website, which is usually our first point of contact with customers, is that it was not magnetic enough. A magnetic website is key to an effective digital marketing strategy, which performs a website’s traditional duty of providing information and also attracts customers. It does this by displaying a professional appearance, being easy to navigate and also implements features that allow visitors to save and share information they find to be useful. Magnetic websites are also easy to find through search engines and continually create content that is tailor-made for its visitors. This can potentially generate reliable and consistent sales from the website as well as building a loyal customer base which leads to an increase in sales revenue and profits. A magnetic website can achieve this in several ways such as offering special discount codes, free shipping and a warranty on its products to encourage the customers to make a purchase as well as introducing information with relevant content to keep visitors interested. Our business failed to offer such incentives to its customers which explains why we were unable to attract and maintain a relationship with website’s visitors which would have encouraged them to make purchases. An example of a competitor that has a magnetic website is Knomo London (www.knomobags.co.uk). This business provides a two-year warranty on all of its bags that are purchased and also gives free standard delivery on all UK online orders. Knomo London also offers a return and repairs service for all its full priced products within 30 days of purchase or 14 days for discounted items on the condition that the purchased item is unused and is in its original condition and packaging. These are features that serve to reassure the customer when deciding whether to make a purchase from our competitor’s website that our business has failed to employ which has made it difficult to gain customers confidence when deciding to purchase our products. Other features that Knomo London use to make its website magnetic are links to its various social media accounts which gives its visitors the option to share content on different platforms while also giving visitors an option to get regular updates on the products and services as well as different promotions available by joining the mailing list. Our business has succeeded in making some of these features available for our visitors should they wish to stay informed about the different promotions or additions of new products to the website.

 

Another factor that would be beneficial to our business would be the ability to advertise effectively and actively engage in meaningful interactions with our customers through channels such as our social media platforms such as our Instagram and Facebook pages. These can also be used to answer questions about the business and our products while also regularly communicating information in a more accessible way for our potential customers.  When used efficiently, keeping in touch with potential customers and building meaningful relationships can prove to be an invaluable asset. This could bring them to be closer to our brand which could motivate customers to patronise our business and even recommend our products to friends and families which could lead to an increase in sales revenue and market share . An example of a competitor that has successfully promoted its brand online is the Leather Company (www.leathercompany.co.uk). They have managed to use their Facebook platform to gain customers by providing essential information about their business such as the link to their website and an avenue to address queries customers may have in a timely manner using Facebook’s Messenger feature. They also use their page to regularly inform visitors about new additions to their inventory and ongoing promotions that may be of interest. Their page also gives customers an opportunity to write reviews and provide ratings for the company’s products and services which could prove to be helpful in letting the business know what they are doing well and what they will need to improve moving forward and the page also has a “like” option to help the company gauge how popular it is. In contrast, our business’s Facebook page hasn’t managed to interact with customers as effectively. This is down to the lack of regular updates on the page. There is also a lack of identity about the page as it does not contain relevant information about the company such as its logo and the business’s contact details. This would give visitors the impression that the page is not active and is therefore not useful which would mean that the business has failed to advertise and interact with customers effectively using this social media platform.

 

Another key feature that would influence how successful our business is, is the range of products that are on offer to our potential customers. Providing a wider range of products and services as a business would help increase the scope of interested customers as well as providing greater options for the existing customers that visit our business’s website which would provide our business with a greater competitive advantage and possibly increase market share. This can be done by providing new products to act as a substitute for existing products as well as also providing complementary products that would also be sold to accompany the purchase of the existing products. It can also be achieved by also providing products with regards to features such as a wider price range. Our business can adopt this by increasing the different types of laptop bags we sell, which would be classified as substitutes to our existing products that would enable us to cater to the different preferences of potential customers, and we can also choose to provide accessories such as laptop sleeves that would complement the sales of the laptop bags. An example of a competitor that provides a wide range of products is laptopsdirect.co.uk. This business provides laptop sleeves, laptop docking stations, laptop docking stations as well as providing laptop bags giving its website’s visitors a greater range of products to choose from. Our website is only selling a small range of products that are quite similar to each other and also fall into the same price range which would explain why our business has failed to attract a large number of customers.

 

The next key factor that would help determine how much traffic our business’s website is able to generate is how well we have been able to utilize the search engine optimization (SEO) to gain competitive advantage. This is critical to the success of our business as the amount of traffic our website is able to generate will determine the number of potential customers that will visit our website which would influence how many customers purchase our products and follow our website’s activities closely. To maintain a positive image for the brand of our business, we decided to avoid the use of poor SEO practices such as tricking people visiting our website. Our website carries out a basic SEO plan automatically since it was published using Wix.com which is a website building platform that has components and applications that work as a content management system (CMS). Wix’s SEO plan has enabled us to add relevant keywords as well as our business name and location to make it easier for interested customers to find our website. It has provided us with useful factors to consider when designing the website to help raise our rank on the search result rankings. These include making our website mobile friendly, optimizing our homepage’s content and adding the business’s contact info onto the home. Despite this, our website has still not been able to attract enough interested visitors to its website which means that the SEO plan has not been executed successfully. An example of a competitor that has successfully employed the use of its SEO plan is Antler UK (www.antler.co.uk). Their website is shown on early on as one of the first links on the first pages of search engines when the phrase “laptop bags Birmingham” is searched. This business has developed its SEO plan by utilizing basic techniques such as using the relevant keywords to ensure its page is ranked highly. It also employs more complex concepts such as authority which gauges the size of influence of a website. Authority considers factors such as how regularly the website’s content is updated which increase the ranking of a website on search engine searches.

 

CONCLUSION

Our eBusiness has been judged to fail as it has not managed to achieve its targets of generating revenue, profit and attracting interest from its target customers. This is because we have failed to employ the key factors to gain a competitive advantage and increase our market share. In conclusion, our business will need to undertake more sophisticated SEO plans such as using Google’s main advertising channels, which are AdWords and AdSense, to increase our websites ranking on search engine searches to attract more traffic. We would also need to provide a greater selection of products that would be of interest to customers that would help us gain market share while also regularly updating and providing relevant information on our business through our business’s social media channels. Our business would also have to make our website more magnetic in order to retain visitors to its website by providing incentives to encourage its visitors revisit the website and also implementing features that allow visitors to share the businesses information across other platforms such as providing relevant content.

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