E-Commerce Strategy

 

 

The questions below are adapted from the IT Advisor for Commerce. They are designed to help your company formulate an e-commerce strategy that succeeds. Other helpful resources are Customers.com (The Patricia Seybold Group) and Peppers and Rogers Group: 1to1 Marketing. Also see: E-Commerce: B2B Companies. Finally, the sample e-commerce project I created outlines key steps, such as creation of an e-business strategic plan, scope definition and software design, testing and deployment.

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Strategic Considerations

Business

Process

Technology


Business

Strategic Readiness 

     Strong commitment to electronic commerce

     An impact of an e-commerce to the business

     How well defined is the budget of the e-commerce platform?

     Urgency of the e-commerce platform understood?

     Are the business objectives clearly defined?

     Ownership of the e-commerce platform been established?

 

Customer Information 

     Know how many customers have Internet access?

     How well are customer segments understood?

     Whom do you want to attract?

     Have you targeted the right customer? Your most profitable accounts? The customers that influence key purchases?

     Does the organization have detailed customer profiles? Are these profiles located piece meal throughout the company or centralized for access by staff and customers?

     Who owns the customer database? Who pays for it? Who is responsible for its accuracy?

     Customer expectations of e-commerce understood?

     Are their established realistic estimates?

     Does the organization value repeat customers?

     Metrics have been established to support revenue goals?

     Affects of seasonal and peak periods addressed?

     Internet access methods used by customers defined?

     Are customer's demographics defined and put to use?

 

Supplier and Partner Readiness 

     Effect of an e-commerce platform well understood?

     Has the organization measured how ready suppliers are?

     Have expectations and commitment been communicated?

     Alternative sources for suppliers been established?

     Are current electronic relationships well understood?

     Has the need for new partners been defined?

     Effect of e-commerce on partners understood?

     Have backup procedures been established?

 

Channel Strategy and Implications

     Does e-commerce pose a risk to existing channels?

     Are distribution channels regulated by law?

     Is there a strategy to manage channels? 

 

Competitive Position

     Do your competitor(s) have an e-commerce strategy?

     Value of the organization's brand(s) eroded?

     Market dynamics effected by e-commerce activities?

     Is competitive information threatened? 

 

Internal Environment

     E-commerce initiative's financial impact?

     Will existing or planned operations meet the needs?

     What extent is the organization compliant with ISO?

     Are internal auditing/control practices in place?

     What impact would an e-commerce initiative prove?

     E-Commerce initiative impact legal documents?

 

Process 

Customer Relationship Management

     Is information provided on-line for customers?
     Take advantage of leads from e-commerce site?
     How well do you know your customers?
     Are there customer resolution procedures?
     Does the organization manage customer credit?
     Does the organization anticipate customer requests?
     Positioned to perform proactive cross-sell?
 

Marketing Management

     Are e-commerce products promoted to customers?
     Has the organization developed an on-line brand?
     Marketing/positioning considerations determined?
     Easy customer interaction with site?
     Is there a defined multimedia market campaign?
     Using web alliances fro e-commerce promotion?
 

Order Management

     How efficient is online ordering?

     How well are payment procedures defined?

     Is product readily available?

     Does the product get to the customer effectively?

 

Product Management & Merchandising

     How efficient are relationships with Suppliers?

     Does the organization manage its product catalog?

     Does the sales channel manage e-commerce?

     Does the price reflect customer demand?

 

Process Management

     How open is the organization to change?

     Is management more inclined to a piece meal or holistic approach?

     How will the organization define success? What metrics will it use? For example, cost savings, customer retention, revenues and profits through the Internet channel, number of customers and stakeholders served, etc.

     What non-monetary ROI metrics will be used, for example, decrease in customer complaints, increase number of web hits per day, number inquiries these hits have satisfied?

     How reliable is raw data measurement?

     Is organizational data transformed efficiently?

     How well equipped is it to make change rapidly?

     Do you have clearly defined roles with respect to your web operations, for example: Director of E-Commerce/Interactive marketing, Web Channel Manager, Customer Profile Czar, Customer/Visitor Analyst, Web Customer Service Manager, Content & Editorial Quality Roles, Graphic Design Czar, Content Czar

 

Technology 

System Development

     Is your information environment complex?

     Technical skill levels for your developer staff?

     Are roles clearly defined, for example, GUI Design Experts, GUI designers, Business Process Design Facilitators, Business Events Definers, Business Object Modelers, Business Rules Capturers, System Services Designers, Object Oriented Programmers, Knowledgebase Czar.

     Rapid e-commerce site launch and maintenance

     Do various divisions and IT groups communicate?

 

Quality Assurance 

     What level of load testing have you performed?

     Is usability testing performed?

     What level of systems testing have you performed?

     What level of security testing have you performed?

 

Operations 

     Are production systems developed effectively?

     Are rapid deploy solutions developed effectively?

     Update the content of e-commerce solutions easily?

     Allowance for experimentation of the site?

     How well is bandwidth tracked and needs addressed?

     Are requirements of e-commerce projects understood?

     Are robust disaster recovery plans in place?

     Where will your sites be hosted?

 

Security 

     Are commerce production systems physically secure?

     Are you prepared against Denial of Service Attacks?

     Is customer credit card and personal information totally secure from hackers?

     Verify online commerce transactions?

     Established ease of access and security?

     Are liability issues effecting e-commerce exposed?

     How well are internal/external policies defined?

 

      eCommerce Solutions

Broadvision

eCommerce: B2B Companies

IBM

Interworld

Microsoft

Oracle

Yantra