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SITE DESIGN AND CUSTOMER NEEDS

When designing an e-commerce site, the designer needs to consider the similarities and differences between the virtual and traditional real-world customer environments, what forms of communication are uniquely available to the e-commerce customer and what communication forms cannot successfully be ported to the world of e-commerce.

The first area would be that the e-commerce site designer needs to understand both the similarities and differences between the virtual and traditional real-world customer environments as well as to recognize the differences in communication types. Primarily organizations need to realize that managing communications can be more difficult for both the virtual worker and customer because these individuals are not physically present in an office location to have verbal and physical confirmation of a message or order. Some other factors include differences in time zones, local work hours and holidays, fluency with English especially technical language (and organizational acronyms), cultural norms, hierarchical protocols for message dissemination and responsiveness. Sometimes the only common ground between the virtual and real-world customers is the organizational jargon and acronyms.

The second area would be to assess what new communication techniques are uniquely available in the world of e-commerce and to determine what traditional customer communications can and cannot be successfully ported to the world of e-commerce. Three communication choices that are uniquely available to organizations of all sizes in the world of e-commerce are the Internet, Intranet and Extranet. Benefits of using this technology include attracting new customers, creating new business partners, improving communication with customers, employees, shareholders, and stakeholders. Additional benefits of increasing productivity, improving the quality of service, reducing operating costs and providing information quickly and cost effectively can be derived.

Internet communication choices can include: E-mail, Discussion mailing lists, Newsgroups, Instant messaging and chat, Telnet, Internet Telephony and File Transfers.Intranets are an organization’s privately-owned network and accessible by employees or authorized vendors and requires a logon and password. Employees are easily able to access important company information such as employee benefits, corporate policies, career opportunities, and training material.

Edward Dean is an accomplished website developer and author. Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Edward_Dean

Extranets are a type of internal internet.

Access includes employees and is opened to vendors and customers. A logon and password are also required. The unmediated real-time communication types such as one-to-one conversations, speeches, presentations, and in-person meetings are forms of traditional customer communications that would not be successfully ported to the world of e-commerce.

The third area would be for the site designer to demonstrate how through the use of multimedia technologies one can create an effective e-commerce site for the customer. Using these technologies, organizations can remain competitive while meeting the needs of the customer in three main areas: quality, price and service. As to meeting customer service expectations, that customer service means the same thing on the web as it does in a physical store: It encompasses all those efforts that go into making customers feel wanted, appreciated, and that they are dealing with a business that will offer them quality products at fair prices. On the Web, in the absence of actual merchandise and salespeople to answer questions, customer service must literally be built into the fabric of a business website.

Edward Dean is an accomplished website developer and author. Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Edward_Dean

E-commerce from the Customer’s Point of View

This research paper will compare and contrast the characteristics of the traditional brick and mortar (&) shopper with those of the online shopper. Additionally, research will identify the similarities and differences between the virtual and the real-world customer. Distinguish the difference between the world of e-commerce and the real world in terms of customer communications. Determine which traditional customer communications can and cannot be successfully ported to the world of e-commerce. Assess what new communications techniques are uniquely available in the world of e-commerce. And demonstrate how the use of multimedia technologies creates effective e-commerce websites. Discussion of customer communication strategies and real-world examples will be presented.

Compare and Contrast Models

Brick and mortar shoppers go to a specific building to purchase merchandise. The location has a physical presence which allows for customers to have face to face communication with employees. Online shoppers are able to log on and search for items and make purchases from the comfort of their own home. Online shoppers have some advantages to brick and mortar shoppers for this reason.

Several factors can be used to compare and contrast differences between brick and mortar shoppers and their counterparts. Pricing will have an impact due to the when avoidable expenses such as travel. An online store has very little overhead. This allows the cost for retail display space, and storage costs to be minimized. Additionally, online shoppers can do factory direct. This further reduces the warehousing costs. This allows the online shoppers to take advantage of additional savings made possible by avoiding these additional costs. Brick and mortar stores will incur unavoidable costs. A location must be erected involving utility expenses. A brick and mortar store will need to hire employees thus wages would also be involved. Maintaining the location will bring additional costs as well. In addition, theft may also be a factor. These factors may make the cost on a shopper higher than an online shopper.

Selection will vary online as compared to the local needs and demands of brick and mortar stores. Online stores usually specialize in a particular area. Due to this specialization it may be easier for an online shopper to find hard to find items that may or may not be available in a brick and mortar store. Online shoppers may find more items due to the international demand of different items. Both men and women can choose from online items.

On the other hand, brick and mortar locations are more dependent on local demand. If the demand in Miami for coats and jackets is minimal as compared to New York, then the brick ad mortar shopper in Miami will find fewer choices at higher prices. Additionally, many items in a brick and mortar store may only be offered seasonally. This would have negative results for a shopper looking for items out of season.

Convenience may also be a factor due to live interaction versus the online experience. Brick and mortar shoppers will have the ability of touch and feel. This will give the brick and mortar shopper a stronger connection with purchasing the item or not. The online shopper would not have to drive anywhere, waste gas, dress up, or look for parking. He or she may simply navigate the web site in search of the particular item they may be interested in. State taxes may even be avoided by purchasing items online versus at a brick and mortar store. Delivery charges may be avoided for brick and mortar shoppers. They may simply purchase the item and take the item directly from the store. There may be items that are too big and bulky. Delivery charges will definitely apply in these circumstances. Online shoppers will have to incur delivery charges every time. The delivery charges may be hidden within the price of the item. The online shopper may not realize he or she was charged a delivery fee. This tactic allows online shopping to feel less expensive and more practical.

A warranty may be similar for both shoppers. Online shoppers and brick and mortar shoppers will tend to have the same type of warranty. The warranty will be provided by the manufacturer. Although brick and mortar stores may do the servicing themselves, usually this is handled by the manufacturer. Finally, returns may be handled more conveniently for brick and mortar shoppers. Brick and mortar shoppers will know exactly the procedure they will be involved with when they speak to someone. Although most online stores allow returns the shopper the returned item will incur shipping costs and restocking fees. Dealing with an employee face to face may be much more convenient and practical when involved in any kind of return.

Edward Dean is an accomplished website developer and author. Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Edward_Dean

Customer Communication Strategies

Enumerable communication strategies can be employed with e-commerce on a website. Efficient and effective uses of web tools are a key factor to enhance a customer’s visit to the website. Generally, most companies will implement strategies that are easy to use and target a larger market. But strategies for niche marketing, either under the umbrella of the parent site or as a standalone tool are avenues of commerce that must be applied as well.

With the greater number of online businesses, and potential customers, companies are turning to Customer Support Chat to expedite resolution of customer issues. This program is starting to gain momentum as it allows interaction with a representative quickly and has the potential for increased sales due to immediate response. Even though chat programs are efficient many customers are unwilling to share their personal information on the internet. This issue is part of the website design process that is called the back end of the program. This is where issues of security and customer relations management are addressed prior to building an e-commerce website, capable of doing online business. Individual companies, such as PayPal have aided the small business entrepreneur by offering secure payment methods for the transfer of securities online at affordable rates. These combined with online shopping carts have greatly enhanced the customer buying experience.

Companies use email as a standard for easy written support and service. It allows for contact in a familiar fashion with the customer and avoids the need for waiting on hold for a customer service representative. This option works very well for individuals who do not need an immediate response. It does not allow for extremely detailed or visual answers.

Another strategy many companies are turning to is audio and video approaches for real-time access to information that may not be understood in a written format. This approach allows for customers to review information via streaming audio or video. This type of information sharing is one-way communication but does allow for interactive or real-time access through the addition of video conferencing. This type of strategy works very well for training and for customers who require visual or audio to help with their learning or understanding of information. For customers in need of further direction or explanation, on the company’s contact page use a form with a comments section, company physical address, and customer service phone and fax numbers.

Sourcing a contact center is a necessity for many companies in order to correct issues in billing, sales, or technical support. This strategy allows the company to support their customers through personal contact and access to professionals that can solve their problem or explain their bill. This strategy will continue to exist as many individuals are unwilling to move to the next level of customer support through the use of web tools.

Internal customers are also a critical part of e-commerce. Employee’s must be well trained at their jobs, and are up-to-date on company roles, policies and procedures. In order to source internal customers, the company needs to incorporate an internal site, known as an intranet. Since these internal customers are the first contact to the external customer it becomes imperative that they are trained effectively, thus giving the first internal strategy, which is the need for training tools and education documentation that is easily accessible and allows the internal customer assistance when working with an external customer. Along with any strategy are needed options for assisting employees to understand the information being disseminated through the intranet! This strategy allows for networking an organization through an internal means that is secure and accessible for the whole company. This strategy is becoming a leading trend for most companies effectively to cut cost on travel and time for employees while still enabling human interface and interaction.

Overall the strategies needed for customer support are to allow for a pleasant experience for the customer, whether local or distant, internal or external. The options available over the internet and intranet are numerous and only a few are depicted here, most of the strategies needed by companies are as individual as the company itself and much thought needs to be put into which is the right solution for the company’s customer base.

Conclusion

This paper has in its analysis of e-commerce from the customer’s point of view compared and contrasted the characteristics of the traditional bricks and mortar (B&M) shopper with those of the online shopper. Research has identified the similarities and differences between the virtual and the real-world customer, distinguish the difference between the world of e-commerce and the real world in terms of customer communications, determine which traditional customer communications can and cannot be successfully ported to the world of e-commerce. Additionally, new communications techniques were discussed,and examples were demonstrated on how the use of multimedia technologies creates effective e-commerce websites. Discussion of customer communication strategies and real-world examples were presented. Analysis through research has led to the conclusion that, e-commerce from the customer’s point of view, can be defined as offering the customer the tools that can most efficiently bring about the result of; customer satisfaction and retention.

Edward Dean is an accomplished website developer and author. Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Edward_Dean

Ever Wonder How Many People Eat Fast Food?

Did you know that in 2007 McDonald's had 390,000 employees? They also made over 22 million dollars that year. With 31,000 restaurants in 120 countries, no wonder they say, "Billions served"! Franchising is a 125 billion dollars a year industry. While requiring a lot of hard work, the payoff can be outstanding. This is because of exactly how many people eat fast food. So, how many people eat fast food? Over 50,000,000 people daily in the U.S. alone. That's a lot of burgers and fries! When you have to manage work, school,and soccer practice, fast food restaurants are more convenient than cooking at home. It's also an inexpensive way to feed the whole family. Plus, the choices are mind blowing!

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. There is a fast food restaurant for just about any taste, so even the pickiest eaters can find somewhere even they can enjoy a fast, convenient meal. Americans will spend over 110 billion dollars this year on fast food, that's over a quarter of Americans. Most of them have even worked in a fast food establishment at some point in their lives. Some people dispute the benefits of eating at fast food franchises, they say it is unhealthy, high calorie, and fat filled. But there are some good points to eating fast food as well. If you're looking for a healthier place to grab dinner, there are some restaurants that serve low-fat and sugar-free meals. Don't be put off by claims made by nay-Sayers. You can find everything you're looking for in one easy, convenient, and inexpensive restaurant. And with so many to choose from, you're guaranteed to find what you want, close to home.

A person looking to invest in a business opportunity should really consider restaurant franchising. With more and more people dining in fast food restaurants, and restaurant franchises popping up all over the world, this is an industry that shows no signs of slowing down. With food for every taste and budget the speed, convenience, and options of meal planning are as simple as a short drive to your favorite restaurant. Based on how many people eat fast food, franchising is one of the most lucrative business ventures available. Remember, franchising is the best kept secret of the 21st Century!

Edward Dean is an accomplished website developer and author. Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Edward_Dean

Dry Cleaning Franchises 101

Dry Cleaning is the process of cleaning textiles and clothes without the use of water, but an organic solvent is used instead. It has become popular today especially among the yuppies who usually wear fabrics that could be damaged by water and other cleaning detergents like soap. Since its rise in the early 20th century, several laundry washers have included dry cleaning in their services. Some even went to the extent of going for dry cleaning franchises which basically focuses on that kind of cleaning alone and like its predecessors, these small businesses think of ways to increase their establishment's promotion, ranging from pickup and delivery, to staying open 24 hours a day.

Most often than not, because of its cheap investment capabilities, the franchise can lead one person to start his own dry-cleaning business. It's a self-employment opportunity that can be made available to basically just anyone, given the right resources. The dry-cleaning equipment and machines can be negotiable and can be cheap because in fact, you may even own one right at your home. Think of it, it's a low-cost home business where you can start by having your friends and relatives as your first clients. Who knows, your cleaning business may grow into a franchise and make you a success story. But if you're more of the all for the convenience type, try researching for some related cleaning franchise Information. 

What exactly is the reason why cleaning franchises are a hit in almost any household in the States? Other than the fact that certain fabrics are not meant to be partnered with soap and detergent, they are a low-cost business that is easy to buy a franchise for. A carpet cleaning franchise has been known to be reliable when it comes to making the best profits. Carpet and upholstery cleaning have been a part of the American household as long as kitchens have been attached to your home. Your neighborhood dry cleaners can really do wonders; they're like the next best thing to your stylists.

Start a cleaning or laundry franchise in your community by knowing the best in the field. It can take little to almost no investment to buy a franchise for either of these business opportunities. Easy as pie, right? Franchising is the best kept secret of the 21st century.

Dry Cleaner Franchises

With US Clean, your franchise will be given a specified number of households based on streets, counties and zip codes. And no other franchise owner can market in your territory. They also have their own in-house marketing and advertising department in order to spread the word about your franchise to individuals and families in your territory. US Clean has their own call center as well, freeing you from answering the phone to answer questions or sell products. That is because this is very stressful and time consuming, as well as saving you the cost of another employee. With their trained professionals taking care of this, you can focus more on your business. You are also provided with schedule access at any time through the Internet.

Their cleaning services consist of upholstery, carpet, leather, mattresses, oriental rugs, tile, hard wood, grout, stone and pet odor treatments. As you can see, franchisees are provided with not just a dry-cleaning service, but with multiple franchises to work with. US Clean does not charge additional franchising fees or royalty fees for this, either. The next company on our dry cleaner franchises list is 1-800-DRY-CLEAN. They provide busy customers with a pickup and delivery scheme for laundry and cleaning. Their business scheme includes either the multiple or single van opportunity as well as an expansion in van opportunities to include either store drop offs, or dry-cleaning plant drop offs. Their business models are all based upon pickup and delivery courses that feature active participation of franchise owners. The 1-800-DRY-CLEAN scheme provides you with tools to:

  • Attract new clients using the easily remembered 1-800-DRY-CLEAN number and website. High quality materials and marketing programs sell your service as well.

  • Provide high quality dry cleaning. They help you build a relationship with a local dry cleaner. And no one understands and is prepared for continual growth for time saving services more than 1-800-DRY-CLEAN.

  • Service already existing customers. Using proprietary software, you are able to efficiently manage your franchise. Effective client communication is provided by using technology tools as well.

Last on our list of dry cleaner franchises is Pressed 4 Time. Simply stated, this company fancies itself as a more refined dry-cleaning delivery and pick up service than the competition. They provide office buildings, families and local businesses pickup and delivery twice a week of their shoe repair and dry-cleaning needs. Originally begun in 1987, Pressed 4 Time is a massive company with 165 franchises within Canada and the US.

This company provides:

  • High levels of repeat business.

  • 5-day work week.

  • Low initial investment costs.

  • A home-based business.

  • Both single and multi van routes available.

  • Exclusive territory.

  • A total training programs.

  • Royalty plan.

  • Dry cleaning company relationship established.

  • Software for business management.

  • A dry-cleaning gross profit margin of 50%.

    Edward Dean is an accomplished website developer and author. Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Edward_Dean