The world is developing fast in technology and communication; the advancements have been adopted for numerous business purposes improvement.
In the 21st century, the invention of electronic Medias and the Internet has changed the way businesses and other institutions are managed. As businesses use these technologies to improve their efficiency, resource allocation, communication and marketing, they are creating business to providers of the services.
Businesses are taking advantage of scientific innovations and invention to reduce and control operational expenses, one of recent technological development that have been implement in business is the use of online shops instead of traditional physical location shops (Duening, Hisrich, & Lechter, 2009). This paper discusses a business plan to develop an online shop that will engage in electronic products.
The business that this business plan aims to engage in is online shop for electronic products; the shop will be situated in the United States where different information will be fed for the consumption of the users. The name of the business will be called “Shoppers Online shop” .
The business will not have physical store but will act as a link between customers and the suppliers of the products. The online site will allow customer to seek for electronic products that they want then when they place an order, the company will make efforts to seek for the products and ensure that the customer gets the delivery of the product within the agreed period of time.
Payment for the products will be made through international payments methods which will include pioneer, electronic money transfers, internet money transfers, and mobile money transfers. For customer in the United States, there will be option of cash on delivery (Avery, 2004).
Marketing is an integral part in an organization’s management; it creates business for a company and offers insight information necessary for developing and innovating effective business strategies. The electronic industry is highly competitive with new players coming up and old ones developing new working strategies or approaches; to be competitive in the industry mostly in an international market, then there is a need to have strategic decisions and ensure that scientific methods of decision-making are adopted.
The following are the drivers of the business opportunity:
The development in the electronic industry; there are a number of electronics that are required in the world produced by various companies
The emergence of generation Y that have embraced online buying
Technological development and advancement
Existence of international monetary payment service and
Effective logistics and supply chain management strategies
The above drivers will offer a business environment for the Shoppers Online Shop (Livingston, 2008).
Suppliers and Inventory
Since Shoppers Online Shop will be dealing with electronic goods, the company will have its suppliers as electronic companies in the United States and other parts of the globe.
The most important aspect that the company will be engaged in is ensuring that the companies that it gets the products from are reputable and have a continued mark of quality. Advancement in technology has facilitated the growth of electronics industry such as home appliances, mobiles, IPhone, and telecommunication industry; on the other hand company’s electronic products are on the rise.
The sector is dominated by leading world producers who depend on their operational management decision to remain afloat in the competitive industry; some of international companies in the industry include Samsung, Nokia, Sony-Ericson, Apples, and Google Android-powered phones; these are some of the companies that Shoppers Online Shop will sell its products to.
To remain competitive companies in the sector must adopt effective marketing strategies (Shane, 2003).The opportunity that the business will utilize is that of lack of a single site that can interlink the purchase of these products; the shop will focus on creating a platform where someone can buy different products from the company or link the customers will the suppliers (Avery, 2004).
To ensure that Shoppers Online Shop has effective supply and management tools, the company will have a supply chain management policy; supply chain management refers to process undertaken by a business in the supply of goods and services into the business and sometime extends to supplying goods to a customer.
The logistics starts from ordering until delivery of goods; it is the major task of procurement department although it is conducted in collaboration of other departments. Companies involved in a supply chain vary, and thus company needs to develop a strategy that caters for all the companies (Shane, 2003). This business plan aims at developing strategies for employing an integrated supply chain network between companies that are likely to vary. The companies supply chain will look into the following:
Supplier’s integration analysis
Before taking any step in implementing a supply chain management, the initial step is analyzing the current system and the logistics that take place in the company. In this section, the company should identify key suppliers to the company; the kind of goods they supply and rate them according to dependability level.
Re-order level, if it is maintained in the company, is established where the minimum amount required for a manufacturing process to take place is analyzed. This information is recorded. Duration that a certain supplier takes to supply goods is established and recorded. Shoppers’ online shop will ensure that has maintained healthy relationship with their suppliers as it will ensure constant supply of products to the company.
Different suppliers offer different quality of goods; the available information about the value of goods from a certain customer are interpolated. One of the major aims of a supply chain management is to ensure that the goods used in manufacture are of the right quality and quantity; this goes ahead as it is reflected in the final products of the company.
At this level the company aims at interpolating the demands for good that it has for a certain period of time; it is not always that a supply is constant throughout the year, however, it varies with time and season. After understanding the amount required at a particular time Gantt charts are used to interpolate data and form the background of the case. Computers can be used to give data analysis of the trend in required supplies.
With the data at hand, including data about reliable suppliers whom the business had not done business with earlier, a supplier base is developed. This is the amount of order in terms of amount to supply that will be given to a certain supplier. The minimum quality and quantity that can be accepted is developed and the system of supply is devised.
Duration given to a certain supplier to have supplied the goods is set, the system should have a system where it can record the level of quality met by a certain supplier for better and easier analysis in the future.
The team to be mandated with the task of vetting and allocating orders should be established; it should contain experts in procurement and involves head of department who will advise the department on quality and quantity they require. This department should be vetted to ensure that only people of high integrity have been deployed. If the team is compromised, chances that a well arranged supply chain will fail is very high.
This is developing mechanisms for checking on the quality and quantity of goods and services to be supplied. After deliveries have been made, the company receiving the supply should counter check against the specification of the ordered goods. A person who will be responsible for this task should be recognized early enough. Checks and balances should be set to ascertain that there is transparency in this area.
In a nut shell, when developing a supply chain management policy, it is important to look into the following areas and ensure that data for each process is interpolated;
Have a Supply chain synchronization
Establish a Procurement department/team
Set a Supplier base management
Integrated purchasing strategy
Set minimum quality and Value determination mechanisms
Interpolate available data and undertake a Supplier’s integration analysis
With the above policies, Shoppers Online shop will have constant supply of its products to satisfy its customers’ needs (Shane, 2003).
The online business will focus on selling electronic goods and offering such services that go with the products like transportation, packaging, and some after sales services. To ensure that the business keeps improving, the management will engage in aggressive products development and improving the site to make it user friendly and in the case improve the confidence of the customers.
The mission and vision of the company will be its driving force where it will offer the guideline and the expectations that the management should fulfill, this involve internal and external objectives. To get the right improvements for the company, the management will not only focus on local strategies or on companies that have their operational base in the United States; it will engage research firms that can offer quality decisions to improve the operations.
In the last century, the world embarked on massive computerization and each country was having a program of computerization. With the development of the computers, there was the internet that was developed to meet the goal of making the world a global village. Almost each company, whether it is profit making or nonprofit making, countries embassies and local governments have a website that gives information (that is meant for public consumption) about the organization.
The individuals are not left behind, almost everybody, especially the youth, who are computer literate have an email address. There is the growth of social media that have been used as networking tools among the youth. Companies and other organizations are also subscribing as members to these networks. They are not limited to space and distance, as far as you have internet access you can as well contact the information that is found in this social net works. They include Face book ad Twitter among others.
The business world is one of the major sectors that benefited from this technological advancement. There are new ways of doing business. The young population is highly growing and has adopted the new technology with a lot of ease. One way of reaching this market must in one way or the other have to involve the computer world. Advertising and marketing are the traditional way that businesses have utilized in their effort to expand their market (Avery, 2004).
Objectives are futuristic strategies that are implemented in a business as a guiding policy to focus on its roles. In most cases, objectives are derived from mission statement, vision statement and core objectives of a business. Internal business objectives involves in strategies that a business undertakes to satisfy its customers.
Customers involve internal a customer’s (staff) and external customers. These objectives are concerned in enhancing efficiency in the business and ensuring that the focus is on customer satisfaction. In the event of an online shop, the following are the mission, vision, and objectives that the management will aim to attain.
To be the most reliable online shop that is respected for its integrity, timely delivery and effective customer management; the company will offer products that have been marked for quality purposes and one that can be relied upon by the customers.
To be the most trusted online shop in the world where customers can find solutions to all their electronic demands.
The following are the objectives that the company will have:
Improving societies social, economic, and political standing
Build their stakeholders wealth through ethical businesses operation
Maximize profits and optimize resources utilization
There are other indirect objectives that are derived from an internal objective. It involves developing a strong brand name and attaining customer loyalty. It may involve human resource planning, developing a marketing strategy and creating a good business environment. External business objectives aim at reaching the outside world for the benefit of the organization. After the internal objectives have been attained, the business is prone to benefit from external advantages.
These advantages should be predicted and measure put across to attain them. Examples of external objective are increased market share, social corporate responsibility and ethical business. Social responsibility is a strategic issue in managing organizations today. Ethically, it is the obligation of an organization to involve itself in activities that guard and improve the welfare of its environs.
This should be done alongside its own business interests. Corporate social responsibility is a term often used in reference to the concept of organizational responsibility as applied to business organizations and the larger environment that they operate in. This includes creating and distributing increasing value for all the stakeholders and supporting community welfare initiatives in education, health and the physical environment.
These responsibilities have largely been ignored, and to a large extent, abused in the recent past through shameful, fundamentally flawed and value destroying practices by certain companies. These responsibilities are taking centre stage in managements’ strategic thinking in global businesses today.
Organizations are now adopting the “Triple p” principle. In this principal, the effect of production should be analyzed with the following three aspects in mind: company’s profit, planet and people. Profits are the individual company’s goals and financial objectives, whereas the people and planet is the outside world that the business operates in.
As a result, it has become more important for firms to integrate corporate social responsibility in their strategic positions and organizational structure. No company can succeed in today’s fiercely competitive business environment without building strong social responsibility programs into its strategy (Avery, 2004).
The strength of an organization will undoubtedly be engineered by its internal managerial mechanisms. The external environment also plays an important part in strengths. The management should ensure that it recognizes its own strengths. After realizing its strengths, it should ensure embark on utilizing its strong points. Strengths include location, loyal experienced employees, strong brand name and effective management among others.
Leadership of an organization should be in the forefront, in engineering a business in its recognition of strengths and analysis. A strategic awareness plan is the only way out. Through this arrangement, the organization will be able to adopt different modalities and outreach programs of reaching out to its consumers. In retrospect, strategic marketing plan should be in a position to explicitly document the various channels that can be used by the company to allocate more resources towards creating awareness.
Opportunities / chances of success of the company are dependent on both the internal and external assessment criteria of the organizations profile of operation. Some of the underlying opportunities that a company enjoys to the macro environment are the diversification of its activities to reach the various sets of lifestyle that need to be addressed.
Realizing the available opportunities will lead to an increased business and more market share. To ensure that the company meets demands of different category of people, the management divides the marketing using three parameters as demographics, economic situation, location/place, and price.
Generation Y is fast adjusting to current technology and they are willing to adopt the nest high technology that is affordable. On the other hand, the older generations are more likely to be interested with basic product that will meet their demand. Depending on the component and the strength that a certain machine has, the cost follows suit.
The approach ensures that the company can produce products of high quality and be able to sell them at an affordable price; the research and development center ensures that there is high innovation and invention to make the company’s products the products of choice by customers.
In recent world of technology coupled with the growth of generation Y and improvement of technology, have changed people’s media consumption patterns; there has been a move to free news media leaving the print media like newspaper at an underdog position.
According to a report released in March 2011 by Project for Excellence in Journalism, an international organization that evaluates and studies the performance of the press, observed that there was a 17% increase in use of free news from the amount recorded in 2009. When people rely on the internet and other courses of free media, reader’s perception on different issues such as international relations, culture, politics, economic, and social dimensions have changed.
Of late there have been advocacy for the free press media, this enables free news media to have the better part of the society since they are not controlled neither are the information they give become accountable to anyone. they offer news that allows readers to post their opinions a different approach than the one taken by traditional press news media; the speed at which someone can get a certain news article and the minimal cost , if any, involved in retrieving the news article has enabled the sector of the media to affect print media in sales volume.
Generation Y is known not to be financially stable and have the internet with them usually, they have internet enabled phones, laptops, desktops, televisions, and radios; these are medias that can offer news at almost no cost. On the other hand, they offer information that are current and probably offer the information in the most understandable manner to the target audience or community in general.
The print media gives a collection of news, both international and local news and handles different areas of the social, political, and economic arenas; however, they happen to have the greatest position as reported medium, they give news that have already been reported by most free press media.
The main strength that print media has had is its diversity and wide interpolation and analysis of news, by the time they are printed, news will have attracted different views thus they can report news that have already been commented, improved or restructured in different ways.
These refer to stumbling blocks that may deter the organization from progressing towards a particular direction. Weaknesses can be provided by nature and the way business models are structured. There are weaknesses that can be predicted and their effects mitigated while others are unpredictable and the only thing that a company has to do is to develop preventive strategies.
The future is unpredictable and thus threats cannot be fully avoided. One of the most effective ways is by developing a continuous development process through improving products and services. Information technology is one of the ways that processes can be improved; on its part, IT keeps increasing and thus there is need for a company to keep pace with the development. It is a way to counter threat.
PESTLE Analysis of Business Environment: this analysis of the external environmental factors is done through referring the appendices.
Political: Political environment includes the government systems and judiciary systems which influence the business of the international organizations. Due to this, the company is required to work according to the government regulations of the foreign countries.
Economic: the economic performance of a country and the world at large is of great concern to a business. If the world economies are on the rise, then its benefits will trickle down to individual business. Currently the world is facing world global crisis that affected it since 2007. Expansionary and contraction strategies are being adopted by governments to ensure that their economies are on track.
Social: Social environment of the business demand for the coordination between the values of the company as well as the community. In this regard, a business has an effective commitment with the social and ethical standards of the varying nations. Social norms are considered essential by the business organizations as the purchasing behavior of the customers living in a particular society is dominantly affected by these norms.
Technological: These are very much critical aspects of the business environment. All the electronic companies are developing their own technologies with advance means for attracting global customers. Adopting the right technology will assist a company gain a competitive edge in its area. Different countries and industries have different levels of technology adoption. When undertaking a technological adoption measures should be taken to ensure that the technology adopted is the appropriate one.
Legal: The companies have to follow the business laws and acts of the international business as well as domestic business. While working on the global level, the companies have to consider three types of the legal systems including common law, civil law and theocratic law. The non-compliance with such laws creates critical legal issues for the company which has an adverse impact on the business performance as well as corporate image of the company.
Ecological: The ecological environment affects the business in a broader way than individuals. At present, the companies are affecting the natural ecology through discharge of the harmful effluents in the environment and use of energy sources in an excess amount. All these come under the corporate social responsibility of the business. This is the major consideration to be followed by the business organization
Information has been kept in a business in different forms, some organizations have the traditional ways of having wares houses for data and previous performances; information can be derived from research and development processes conducted by the organization. This is a method that is bulky and requires a lot of time to manage and get information from it. It is mostly backed by charts and diagrams that explain different processes. These data is used to make decisions.
With increase in technology, there are various data keeping, analysis, gathering and management systems; the general name of these systems is business intelligence. Business intelligence is a term used to refer to a collection of applications that aim at keeping and making available a data bank in a certain industry or organization; the bank is referred to when decisions are made. When developing the database, the initial stage is information gathering, then sorting the information, analyzing it, and finally making is accessible for use.
Business intelligence can be used in the general strategy of a business or a certain area/department in an organization. The major benefit that a company derives from using business intelligence tools in the right way is competitive advantage. This is because a firm has an access to information that assist in making informed, current and futuristic decisions. Shoppers Online shop should use the tools to develop the best decisions when it’s needed; this will facilitate effectiveness and appropriate business decisions.
Business intelligence tools take two angles: custom-built tools and commercial reporting tools. Whichever the category they are meant to keep custody and give access to certain information from data warehouse maintained in a company for better decision making.
Custom-built soft wares are developed in a company and aims to keep and avail certain information, to limited people working in a certain area or organization; commercial reporting tools are developed for sale to help in a specific line of business; they are made kin such a way that they can be integrated in the system operating in a business.
An example of a commercial reporting tool is Oracle, Reporting and querying software, and ORAP. Word access (spreadsheets) fall in the category of business tool; it has the widest use. Different industry require different information, thus different system with varying levels of data rights are used.
When developing a marketing strategy, the first thing that marketer should do is to perform a marketing research; marketing research starts before a company has created the products required in the market and continues through the product cycle. It aims at recognizing a deficit that the current products in the market are not meeting, and developing product that can fill the gap.
When developing a marketing strategy, a company should aims developing a strategy that will give maximum results at the minimum cost possible; thus for an effective marketing strategy, timely, organized and relevant information is required. To get this information, a company needs to undertake market research and analyze the data for decision-making; information collected should be easily manipulated to reflect the changes in ad hoc requirements of information by management.
Market research has the role of collecting, interpolating, analyzing and storing internal and external data; the data collected should be presented in a form that enables informed decision-making. Market research starts with a desk research where marketers use the available secondary materials to understand the situation and basic operations in the market; the information can be gotten from published and unpublished materials.
When developing a marketing strategy, it is important to understand internal and external factors likely to affect the strategy; internally the company aims at understanding its strength and weaknesses, whereas an external analysis assist a company understand the position that it holds in the market as well as the effects of competitors.
If it is the case of new company, it is able to understand the market dynamics operating in certain industry for future marketing related decisions like marketing entry mechanism. External environment trend is likely to affect the behavior of consumers so when well understood better strategies will be made effectively.
When undertaking marketing research, the main aim is to understand Psycho-dynamics of the market and the underlying factors that can be used for the advantage of the company and developing mitigation measures against those factors that are likely to affect the business negatively.
It aims at answer the following questions:
What is going in the minds of target customers mind?
What need in the market is not met by the current products and offers an opportunity for the company?
What need is not met but is pressing in customers life?
What persuading terms and tools can be used effectively for a certain category of market segment and
What can be used as association in the advertising strategy
In modern globalized and industrialized world, competition is not evitable; always a company that is producing similar products like current company exists. In the case of innovation, it is based on some existing brand that is driven to a new level. A marketer should ensure that he understands the competition and the kind of products available.
This is the way the marketer will know what products are not available or what the competitions are offering; it is always important to offer something extra than competitors. Competition comes from local company and from international companies selling their products in the local target markets; however, every situation or opportunity has its own unique potential that an entrepreneur must capture if he will be successful.
Understanding what the competitors are offering is a crucial stage where the company should spend its time and resources; other than knowing the products marketers should aim at understanding consumer behavior against competitor’s products to develop an appropriate entry strategy different from that of the competitor.
Knowing the gap that goods in the market are not filling assists, a company to develop a line of products that it will focus on. Prices, promotions and advertising methods used by competitors will need to be analyzed so as a counter approach can be used for the same.
Venturing a market can be considered as a business risk; business risk is the uncertainty on to whether the kind of business that the one has engaged in will be of success; the same principle applies to existing business when they want to extend their business to other areas of a start up business.
Businesses are driven by market for good produced; thus an entrepreneur must ensure that there is potential in the choose location. When investing in some kind of a business there is the initial and subsequent running expenses (Ebbena & Johnson, 2006).
With the internal and external marketing analysis in mind, the next step is coming up with an appropriate market that goods will be sold. Products that a company develops can only meet the needs of a particular group in the community differentiated by some similar characteristics like age, income level, location, tastes and social class. A market segment is a homogenous subset of the main market, which share similar characteristics that make then demand/require similar goods.
A segment is also stimulated by similar innovations. After developing a marketing segment, the next step is to develop mechanisms to enable sales in the target market. One of the ways to enter in the target market is marketing mix. An effective marketing mix ensures that goods are available to the target customer, when they need them and they are affordable. Having the marketing segment in mind, then the company can know the kind of products that will be produced (Avery, 2004).
To enter the online shop market and remain competitive, “Shoppers Online Shop” should engage in the following main business management activities:
Total Quality Management (TQM) are the activities in the management function that influence the quality of policies, responsibilities, objectives and their implementation through quality control, quality planning and quality improvement. Most organizations are focusing on quality improvement process than on the product itself.
In other terms quality management system is the process of quality improvement where skills are used to add value to the quality of the products and enhance their future. This is done for the purposes of retaining present customers, and welcoming new ones. In almost all organization, the production process has been modified in order to ensure quality improvement.
Total quality management involves managing processes for a desired benefit. It involves structuring and controlling all processes involved in an organization so that they give effective results. Large and complex processes are normally broken down into small and inter-related processes for easy management. In doing this, one has to take into consideration, the time and the budget allocated to the specific processes.
Total quality management consists of competitive moves and business approaches aimed at producing successful performance; it is a management’s “game plan” for running the business, strengthening a firm’s competitive position, satisfying the customers, the stakeholders, share holders and the staffs. It seeks to develop the way into which all those that are a party to the business get satisfied. It aims at going a step further and satisfying the customers beyond their expectations.
There is a lot of focus on the customer; the customer is the greatest asset that an organization can have. To get customers loyalty is the dream of every business and that’s what most businesses target. The compliance to TQM is one of the key factors required for the improvement of quality. Its implementation takes place in either the project level or the organization level.
Given the speed with which change occurs in the global business environment, standard, planning techniques and asset allocation methods have become woefully outdated. Achieving new levels of business sophistication is a never-ending process, requiring companies to rapidly reallocate assets to meet changing conditions. To effectively accomplish this reallocation the organizations need a system that provides continuous evaluation and improvement, ensuring effective use of both business (hard) and organizational (soft) assets.
Because of the ever changing market place, many organizations are transforming their business in order to compete favorably. Total quality management happens to be the widely applied technique in virtually all organizations. They have realized the benefits that come with this technique and it has been applied in all processes.
In the implementation of TQM six concepts which are considered to be vital must be taken into consideration. These are customers (both internal and external), leadership and teamwork, continuous improvement, control of business processes, preventive action, and preventive management (Ebbena & Johnson, 2006).
Most of the successive organizations have realized that a key factor in TQM is monitoring performance to ensure that all of the needs and requirements of customers are being met. They have come to the understanding that the term customers do not only refer to the people who buy products from them but also to the internal employees. Employees are one of the valuable assets that any organization can boast of and therefore they have to be handled with care at all times.
Shoppers Online Shop should change its main marketing base and focus on concentrating on new markets that are less saturated and are promising; such markets include Latin and South America, Africa and the Middle East, in these markets, the company can look into the needs of the people and work towards that line.
They are also developing economies where the cost of production is lower; the company should even consider moving some of its products to countries like Chad, Ethiopia or Kenya where the cost of labor is low and very manageable. Shoppers’ Online Shop should enforce and empower their research and development team further, the team should not enjoy or relax with the success of the company, it should be on its toes to come up with products that are responsive to the needs of customers.
When dealing with developments, the company should come up with products responsive to the particular market segment, for example the company should have seen the need of solar charged phones in developing countries where electric power is minimal. Every market analysis should be taken as innovation types a project of its own; effectively project management plans should be developed to ensure that the project sustainability has been attained.
Though it is the final stage, it carries a lot of weight since it oversees that every process in the organization has been fully upgraded. It is not a onetime process but is a continuous one. Feedback is of importance and considered for further decision making (Avery, 2004).
Shoppers Online shop management should consider its strategic alliances management approach, so far the companies that it has engaged seems not to have the potential to drive the company’s business to higher heights.
One area that the company should look into is the development of strategic alliances that will enable technological innovations through mergers and acquisitions. With the current success in the international markets, Shoppers Online shop should be thinking of a brand extension approach: brand extension is a marketing tool used to market products using the strength of an existing brand.
It involves developing of new products, mostly related to the product already in the market, it is a method of widening of the range of products (or services), by riding in the strength of an existing brand. It is a method of optimal brand strength by creating additional sales. It is also a form of increasing Brand Equity. Brand extension is strategic and should b e timely; when over done it ends to diluting of a brand.
The company should be on the high note to have other electronic commodities that can drive the market; the new products that the company can develop include television sets, Radios, laptops, and music equipments. The new products are likely to b ea driving force for the company; Apple Inc. with the invention and invention of IPods and I-phones the company was able to control a niche market; a diversion from its main line of business that was desktops and computer software development.
The price of a commodity is an element of total cost plus a profit margin. When a target market has been established, there is need to determine the price that the target customer will afford comfortably and still give the company a profit margin. A marketer should use the knowledge attained in marketing research to predict consumer treads and their potential.
The social class targeted will influence the price of the products. The price parameter can be approached from the actual product price or the possibility that the product can be divided into smaller parts, not necessarily cheap, but the need for this is to enhance affordability (Anctil, 2008).
Shopper’s Online Shop will be an online retail shop that will focus on selling electronic products like phones, Iphones, Ipads, televisions, computers (desktops and laptops), cameras, and other home electronic apparatus made by different companies.
The online shopping industry is highly competitive; to remain competitive amidst the competition, Shopper’s Online Shop will embrace strategic management policies that will improve its customer relations and build loyalty among them. Some of the strategies that the company will involve include strategic logistics and supply chain management, customer relation management, business intelligences, and total quality management strategies.
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