FROM BRICK AND MORTAR TO CLICK AND MORTAR



FROM BRICK AND MORTAR TO CLICK AND MORTAR:
MAKING THE TRANSITION FROM CONVENTIONAL BUSINESS
TO ELECTRONIC COMMERCE









FROM BRICK AND MORTAR TO CLICK AND MORTAR:
MAKING THE TRANSITION FROM CONVENTIONAL BUSINESS TO E-COMMERCE

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Summary 1
Making the Transition from Conventional Business to E-Commerce 4
Introduction 4
Background 4
Problem Definition 5
Hypothesis 6
Methodology 6
Research Design 6
Sources of Data 7
Research Results 7
The Question is Not Whether or When to Enter E-commerce; It’s How to Enter E-Commerce. 7
E-commerce Benefits 11
Lessons Learned 12
A Proposed Model for Developing an E-Commerce Strategy 14
Introduction. 14
Prerequisites. 16
The key rule of E-commerce. 17
Steps for building an E-commerce strategy. 18
Typical stages of E-commerce development. 25
Steps for establishing a small business website. 26
Selling Power ฎ Enters E-Commerce 28
A Javier Romero Design Group Web Implementation Plan 33
Analysis 35
Selling Power analysis. 35
JRDG analysis. 35
Research Limitations 36
Conclusions 37
Bibliography 39
Appendix……………………………………...………………………….……………………. A-1
Summary
The scenario created for this project called for the research team to simulate membership on the staff of a small, “brick and mortar” firm. A Chief Executive Officer (CEO) heads the firm, and she is the primary decision maker for the firm. The CEO is inclined to pursue a venture into E-commerce, but neither she nor her staff members have experience or knowledge in this area. To help her make some decisions, the CEO asks three staff members to form a team to research E-commerce and make a recommendation on whether she should pursue E-commerce opportunities.
The objective of this research is to provide the CEO with a reasonable recommendation to either pursue some form of E-commerce or to remain with her current brick and mortar model. Because there are constraints with respect to cost/benefit analyses, there are two research questions to be answered: (a) Should the CEO venture into E-commerce, and (b) if she should, what should she do to initiate her E-commerce venture?
The research revealed that E-commerce is expanding quickly, and the potential benefits from participating are enormous. It also indicated that businesses that are reluctant to participate in E-commerce risk falling behind their competitors or becoming non-competitive in their existing market. For those that do wish to enter into E-commerce, the task should not be taken lightly. An organization requires a visionary leader, perseverance, a significant investment, the ability to establish partnerships with successful firms, and full participation from the entire organization. They must also recognize that E-commerce focuses on serving the customer, not pushing their products.
Successful E-commerce entrepreneurs become successful by developing strategic plans. At a minimum, a strategic plan should address methods for accomplishing the following five steps: (a) make it easy for your customers to conduct business, (b) focus on your true end-customer, (c) design customer-facing business processes, (d) use technology to enable your company to be profitable, and (e) promote customer loyalty. If a website is to be incorporated into the organization’s E-commerce plan, it must take five basic steps in order to complete the mechanics of establishing a viable website: (a) find an Internet service provider (ISP), (b) register a domain name, (c) develop the website, (d) manage the website, and (e) measure the website’s effectiveness. Additionally, many businesses progress through several evolutionary stages before reaching their full potential: (a) supplying company and product information, (b) providing customer support and enabling interaction with the customer, (c) supporting electronic transactions, (d) personalizing interaction with customers, and finally (e) fostering community among customers.
The research team reviewed a small, regional company’s experience with E-Commerce and a sample E-commerce proposal from a professional website development firm. The team found that the regional company initially failed when it attempted to enter into E-commerce without a strategic plan or professional expertise. However, the company’s fortunes changed after seeking help from a reputable professional and developing a strategic plan. In comparing the elements of the professional web development firm proposal with the textbook recommended model, the researchers found that they were substantially similar.
After reviewing all the collected data, the researchers made the following conclusions: (a) The CEO should pursue an E-commerce initiative, (b) the CEO’s first step should be to initiate a pre-investment study to estimate and assess the expected costs, benefits, etc. associated with establishing and maintaining an E-commerce presence, (c) the CEO should contract with a reputable E-commerce developer to build a strategic plan and establish the E-commerce vehicle, and (d) the CEO should develop a strategic plan before venturing into E-commerce.
From Brick and Mortar to Click and Mortar:
Making the Transition from Conventional Business to E-Commerce
Introduction
Background
This research project was