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Proposal for HI, Term Paper Example

Pages: 1

Words: 2285

Term Paper

The advances in technology have created evolution in technology that has profoundly impacted the business world, and the society at large. Many people have moved towards pursuing shopping, through online websites to make consumer purchases. The increase in online shopping has prompted many businesses to hire consultants and marketing agencies in order to try to study consumer behavior in hopes of attracting customers to their business. The increase in online shopping has sprouted the term ecommerce in the last decades, which describes online websites dedicated to providing merchandise and commerce online to be purchased. The move to establishing businesses online saves in overhead, rental costs, infrastructure, and set up costs. Due to fluctuations in the economy establishing a brick and mortar business has become a challenge as the market has become saturated, and fees to enter have increased.

The expansion of the internet into remote areas has open the opportunity for more businesses to reach these consumers, as brick and mortar stores have difficulty penetrating.  Companies have now moved on to brick and click business model, which places their business, in some cases entirely online. Many companies have invested time, money, and energy in order to design an ecommerce website that easy, informative, and inviting for the customer. The ease and the quickness of setting up online retail websites has left many businesses being lost in the shuffle. While most major companies have flourish, many have not because they do not have a handle on how to attract, sustain, and connect with their consumers through their website. It is the purpose of this paper to present a proposal to the Hurricane Island (HI) Corporation, in order to develop a marketing approach to penetrate the market segment currently being dominated by L.L Bean, REI, and Orvis. As the independent consultant, I will provide an analysis about each website, and present options and recommendations for the company to improve their website.

The Proposal

In the global market presently there are practically thousands of ecommerce sites that provide a variety of merchandise to consumers all around the world. Many of the largest companies have switched from solely focusing on their brick and mortar locations, and have instead switched to brick and clicks business model. This allows companies to put a more thorough catalog of merchandise, which enables customers to purchase online and physically pick up in one of their stores. This has presented larger retailers with a large supply chain and logistics the advantage of dominating in their physical location, and greater online presence. The capabilities of offering commerce on the World Wide Web, as open up companies markets to clients nationally and internationally. Not only does online retail present the challenges of serving the consumer demand, but it allows them to adjust to the demand by allowing companies to react quickly to the changing trends. It lowers the cost of distribution, and serve a larger geographically distributed group of customers. (Laudon, Traver, 2013) Large retail companies such as L.L Bean have taken advantage of ecommerce, by revitalizing their company, to create a viable website that has allowed them to become a dominate player in the retail market.

L.L. Bean Website

L.L Bean is a phenomenal case study of revitalizing their company through their expansion to their online ecommerce site. L.L. Bean operates as a catalog merchant, where they the capacity to leverage their existing competencies and assets to build a credible website. (Laudon, Traver 2013) L.L. Bean are considered one of the most successful online catalog merchants comparable to LandsEnd.com. The website alone has garnered them over $100 million in sales, and provided them with record sales numbers, that has placed them in them in the dominant position within the market. Looking at their website, we can see a variety of techniques and concepts were used in developing their online website. Among the first impressions, are a perceptual process in which they grab the consumer’s attention by utilizing sensory exposure to make an emotional interest. Their products were initially catered to the outdoors man, and provided a catalog for hunting and outdoors wear. Now when entering their website it shows a clean interface of clothing for women, men, and children. They have uniquely implemented their products and goods to cater the entire family, which exclusively seems to showcase their apparel. Their brand message is clearly conveyed through their used of clean standard font and graphics. Landing on their home page the banner profoundly reads, “100 % Satisfaction Guaranteed Since 1912.” (L.L. Beans, 2014) Outlined on their home page is a banner that read free shipping, the customer service phone number, return at any time, live online help, email updates, gift card offers, and links to their FAQ page. Displayed on their Home page is categorical links customized for each user to shop within. L.L. Bean places their specials in the middle of their Home page in order to grab the attention of the user.

The ease in looking through the website is appreciative as each link opens to a new page relatively fast. Clicking through the categories the products, the users are presented with an accurate product description, and once clicked allows the user to see different color options. L.L. Bean provides an extensive product selection that provides the option for monogramming, checking in-store availability, and the option to send as a gift. Listed also on in their menus are; blog, outdoor adventure articles, gift shop, and information about the company. Located at the bottom of each page are links to their customer service, and other menu options for more ways to shop, wish list, their own Visa car, park finder, social media links, and company information. More importantly displayed is the Norton Secured banner which ensures customers that their online information is secure. This has become increasingly important as the recent hacking scandals have deterred many online shoppers. Overall L.L. Bean has provided an easily navigable website, which is simple, clean, and free of overrun of graphics that can distract from the main products. There, many links to customer service have provided them with customer loyalty and satisfaction.

REI Website

Much like L.L. Bean’s website, it also has a clean interface with no flashing graphics or animations, no special effects, and the rapidly uploads. REI presents itself as one of the true click and mortar companies that allow customers the ability to try before they buy.  Much like L.L. Bean, their website’s background is white, and in the center are their latest coupon and special, with pictures of their apparel. Their audience is outdoor wear for the family, with a prominent picture of one of their member’s dressed in their apparel. On their Home page is a guarantee of free shipping for purchases over $50, and 100% satisfaction guarantee. (REI, 2014) They present a search bar on their home page, which allows the customer to look up specific information, or find products with ease. They have provided a synergy with the online and offline store, by presenting options for shopping online, at their outlet, membership, and categories created for each shopper. Their menu reads as a place not only to shop, but an opportunity to link up with other members to travel, share experiences, learn outdoor information, and information on their stewardship. Clicking on each link rapidly loads to the landing page that presents a clean interface with flashing middle graphic with additional information. The website creates an authentic appeal with information and products catered directly to their targeted audience. The REI presents cross-merchandising with the offering of books, related items, and clothing for their travel section, and has an extensive catalog that provides them with the capacity to launch new products instantly. On the bottom of their site is information for email sign up, store locator, expert outdoor advice, company information, help section, wish list, and option of events and classes. Much like L.L. Bean, REI presents a multi-channel retailing that allows customers to return items to through the mail or to the store.(Laudon, Traver, 2013) Customers have the ability to check in-store availability, and in REI’s case, customers can order in store to receive the products in the mail. Because REI operates as bricks and clicks business model that can offer more expensive and exclusive products online, in which will increase their sales because of their vast logistics and supply chain. (Laudon, Traver 2013)

Orvis Website

Much like REI, Orvis operates as a multichannel merchant that offers bricks and mortar stores, and catalogs for their target customers of hunting and fishing products. Their specific targeted demographic is men and women that have an interest in sporting traditions such as hunting, traveling, and fishing. While their biggest marketing strategy is their print catalog, they have transitioned it online which features their extensive catalog, with a different set up than REI and L.L. Beans. When visiting their site, they used sensory perception with background images of nature, flash slideshow that depicts different products such as gear, apparel, bedding, and products for pets. Within their home page is their special, gift cards, and information about their fly fishing schools. They banner includes store locator, catalog quick order, search bar, and customer service information. Their menu options are set up differently, as their categories on top are listed under: “shop our entire line”, “adventures & schools”, “protecting nature”, and “blogs”. (Orvis, 2014) In the middle of their home page is menu list that links to men, women, shoes, dogs, hunting, and fly fishing. Much like the previous websites, promptly displayed are their 100% satisfaction guarantee, social links, and information about the company’s endeavors. When clicking through their links, the pages load rapidly, and display their extensive catalogs, through a side menu with more link options. Orvis provides a clean interface, clean text, with an extensive list of information and links, which provide a personal feel for their targeted demographic. They provide options for shipping, quick and easy returns with their return process center, payment options, membership links, and links to their answer call center. Overall their website features a vast amount of information for the user, which actually might be too much to a new user.

All three websites present a bricks and clicks strategy through multi-channel offering, and catalog services. L.L. Beans provides one of the cleanest interfaces with an easily navigable website, which provides extensive customer service options, options for return, free shipping, and in store availability. Much like L.L Beans, REI and Orvis, provide similar services, which allows the user to search for items in the website, products that are uniquely available online, and options to connect socially with the company. However, Orvis provide too much information, which crowds the website with information only available for users that are deeply invested in the company. REI and Orvis, unlike L.L. Bean, does not present a seal that ensure the customer that their information is secure in their home page. Instead, users will have to click through their company info to reach their privacy policy. By displaying this information promptly, customers are granted the security that their information will be secure. According to Laudon and Traver (2013), this is one of the major concerns of consumers.  Along with privacy issues, REI must make sure their customer service information is readily available for customers that are trying to contact the company. Each website is not without its flaws, as Orvis could minimize their information by providing links to another website catered to information on their events and schools. REI can also provide better images of people wearing their clothes in their home page, instead of just showing articles of clothing, so the customer is able to see the fit. L.L. Beans does a good job of offering product placements, descriptions, and information available for customers through every page, and the bonus of free shipping on any item adds to their customer loyalty.

Recommendations

In developing an ecommerce website, there is a framework that must be followed which includes; content, context, and the infrastructure. As the websites have presented a good example for the targeted demographic. L.L. Bean, which is a market leader, and an excellent case study present one of the best bricks for clicks, multichannel, and catalog websites for ecommerce. What we can take away from the website is to present a clean interface with a white background, so that it does not distract from the information. On the top banner present the 100% satisfaction guarantee, with customer service information, return policy, and information on shipping (free, minimum purchase). More importantly information should be given to ease the concern of customer security, by displaying a security seal preferably by a verifiable security seal. This is has been shown to improve customer loyalty and satisfaction, as customers are able to feel secure when shopping on the ecommerce site. (Laudon, Traver 2013). The website must be neatly organized with menus with no broken links, and free from the overuse of flash images and graphics. The website must also be easily navigable, such as drop down menus, or a side menus that allows for nice graphics in the middle which showcase products, specials, and graphic links. The mechanism used by Windows 8, is an innovative tool that allows for graphics set up in rows that users can click on and be taken to another page with full information viability.  ToyBox, http://www.toybox.co.nz/, provides an excellent example, which will appeal to a younger and technical savvy demographic. This will allow the company to display information without feeling cluttered.  More importantly it will set the company apart from L.L Beans, REI, and Orvis, which will create a competitive advantage.

References

Laudon, Kenneth C., Traver, Carol Guercio. (2013). E-Commerce 2013: Business, Technology, and Society. Prentice Hall (Pearson).

L.L. Bean. (2014). http://www.llbean.com/?nav=gn

Orvis. (2014). http://www.orvis.com/

REI. (2014). http://www.rei.com/

Toybox. (2014). http://www.toybox.co.nz/

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