COMP 1008 E-Commerce Assignment, Middle East College, Oman
Case Study - A "Gilt"- Free Shopping Experience
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Answer - Development of e-commerce business
With the pace of time, technology has evolved to be a harmony for societal and economic values. In this business report, the learner has described about the perspectives of e-commerce business and the processes that will help it grow through online platforms. The report discuss about a well known business in the world Gilt Group and their business prospects. Depending on the factors of Gilt Group's success, the report analyses the advantages and disadvantages of online operations rather than offline stores. As going online has already been a success for Gilt Group, the latter section of this report will illustrate several recommendations regarding developing the e-commerce strategies that will help the company maintain connectivity with the consumers. Additionally, the learner has also discussed about the moral considerations such as ethical, social and legal considerations for the business venture. The acknowledgements of this report can be beneficial to business studies.
Q1. What advantages the Guilt Group Company will be getting by operating solely online offers. ? What are the disadvantages?
Advantages and disadvantages of online presence (Gilt's Group)
Firstly, if the case study is evaluated, it can be stated that Gilt Group's business has initiated through an online platform via launching a website in 2007. Although, the concept of online stores is a valuable one depending on the sales and revenue difference, it also includes some disadvantages. The advantages and disadvantages are determining factors for better choice of business platform.
One of the major advantages of online platforms is increasing sales and revenue. Through online shopping one merchandising vendor can make five times the money that an offline shopping store can make in twelve weeks. As an instance, based on the case study Gilt Group has made a sales figure that was made by a department store. Amanda Graber, Gilt's public relations manager has said, that "Whereas a department store might move a certain amount of product in a season, we can do it in 36 hours." Although, the merchandising brand offers almost 60% to 70% discount on the prices, it can sell almost the product of US $ 500 million in a year. By targeting more than 3 million customers, the Gilt increases their sales and makes turnovers of almost several million dollars. Based on this fact it can be stated that although, Gilt has sold a normally priced at $2420, a Marc Jacobs leather Jacket at the price of $548, it made a revenue of $ 170 million after two years. It proves that increase in customer base is a beneficial factor for any online business venture as online connectivity spreads largely through wireless network.
Customer focus is another important measurement for online business ventures. As online merchandising firms make their customer base on limited choices, Gilt has personal customer targeting strategies that are useful for targeting the proper customers via online platforms. Initially, the customer base was made using personal connection resources, which amounted to 15000, and these customers were focused thoroughly with all the satisfactory factors such as options of choices. Customers are provided with a millions of choices for their shopping as well as offers of discount coupons. It is helpful towards retention of the customers and increasing the customer base via promotional connectivity ("Advantages & Disadvantages of Merchandising", 2019).
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Timeframe is another important measurement that can be counted as a great advantage for online business activities. What sales figure was achieved by the department store or an offline store in twelve weeks, the company Gilt Group has achieved in 36 hours only. If the store could operate online, feasible features and suitability in payment gateways would be the best possible features for the same. In case of 2 years, the organization made a profit figure of $ 170 billion.
Demands on Staff
With the increase in customer base, the staffs tend to demand for more wages from the company. The employees try to keep the clientele at satisfactory level and ask for extra wages for their sales performance. It costs more capital investment for the companies (Ballestar, Grau-Carles & Sainz, 2018).
Once is not enough
Repetition of meeting the customer satisfaction factors becomes troublesome for online platforms as for one stack it sells a large amount but a small mistake in the entire process can pose a greater threat that includes more than one time sales failure or maintenance failure (Sambhanthan & Good, 2016). Another important measure is the internet connectivity, as the operations are of online informative, weak internet connectivity pose a great threat for the organizational sales and revenue.
Online domain purchase, website making and features integration are most important parts of online sales strategies but it costs major capitals for prior investments. This is great advantage for offline stores. Limited access and storage of inventory suggests that it is not a factor for department stores.
Q2. What advice can you offer the Gilt Groupe's management team as they continue to develop their e-commerce strategy? What steps can they take to stay connected to their customers and to keep their customers coming back?
Recommendation on development of e-commerce strategies
The Strategies will be helpful for the Gilt group for reaching out to major customer base. E-commerce strategies will be effectively implementing the necessary belongings in the business to for a long way towards a successful future.
Interactive product visualization
Product visualization is an art. The art of visualization can help in making great amount of money through online sales and merchandising. In case of innovation, technology has developed in such a way regarding graphics and visual satisfaction, it will help reaching out to the customers in a more stylish way. Surveying everyday products and make it as much detailed as possible ("15 Ecommerce Marketing Strategies to Increase Your Online Sales", 2019). The facts that can be gathered to support this context is the integration of more and more features to the development team for integrating with the product with variation and according plug-ins for each product. Product zoom-in and zoom-out features are also helpful for the customers as they can access in detail for their choices (Chaffey, 2015).
Artificial intelligence is another important measure for the business. Once the business has gone online, inclusion of artificial intelligence to the company website can help Gilt Group, with their customer management, web page management, online inventory management and much more within the website (Gregory et al., 2017). As the inception of AI was done as a concept but with the pace of time it has become evident that using the features of AI can help in making customer usability more easier for the users and ease of use will be an attracting feature for customer increment as well as sales generation for the organization. It can be recommended to Gilt Group, that the company can integrate AI within their website as a feature so that it will be helpful in attracting the targeted customers of the organization ("5 must have e-commerce strategies that will shape 2019 | Smart Insights", 2019).
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Advanced product filtering options
Product filtering intentionally makes the product more accessible to the fact that users will be able to find more and attractive options for their chosen garments. Moreover, as the business has grown and has added more brands for merchandising, filtering can be acceptable for making the proper choices for the products at once for major numbers of customers. Gilt can integrate product filtering for their variations in designers as well as products. Pricing is also set with the help of product filtering options as the customers can set their ranges for buying a product of their choice (Heiskanen, 2016). Based on the attributes, E-commerce sites include their filters such as for WordPress platforms, a plug-in is used named attribute filter that offers the right options for size, length and color of the garment.
Chat bots are another important feature that makes the ease of service more accessible for the customers. The customers can talk to the website online customer service helpers for making the right choices for them. If the company has the intentions of making it manual, the company has to recruit more than thousands of employees as telesales executives but if an integration is made using the chat-bots technique, it can reduce the investment as well as management of the customers will be done more accurately. Based on the current trends majority of the online merchandising websites include chat-bots for supporting their customers. A 24*7 hour connectivity is kept online for management of the customers. Chat-bots are integrated as customer support executions as well as a mini search engine for the website that provides all the necessary information to the customer ("Ubiquity: The social aspects neglected in e-commerce", 2019).
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Diversified and transparent delivery options
Delivery is another major aspect for the company. Although, Gilt Group initially targeted for the 100,000 customers in New York but as they expanded to different countries in this world their customer base was increased to almost 2 million within a year's gap. Maintaining the delivery module is pretty tough for the company, while online platforms provide suitability for operating in the international markets. As majority of the stakeholder markets have gone virtual, the delivery processes are integrated within the websites connecting with different delivery executive firms for different locations (Laudon & Traver, 2016). Integrating the delivery module online will be helpful for a timely and transparent delivery to the customers. Eventually, it will help in making the customer base as large as possible.
Q3. What Social, Legal and Ethical issues they must consider while developing the strategy for e- commerce for Gilt Groupe's so that they must not face procecution.
Moral Considerations (Social, legal and ethical)
The moral considerations are considered for valued transaction in e-commerce platforms. The moral considerations include social, ethical and legal concepts that must be taken care of while conducting online business operations. Moral considerations are taken into account as the important measurements for customer management, customer attraction and overall organizational development. While the entire concept is about Gilt Group and online business sales and revenue, the considerations are done on the basis of maintaining social, ethical and legal values. Validity is evaluated with the help of such considerations and through considering the facts of differential parameters of morality, the ethical values requires inclusion of each and every department of the business venture (Chao, 2016).
E-commerce practices are focused on their customer satisfactory factors as the factors are dependent on the customers inhabiting within the society. Securing the information about the customers is the major perspective of social considerations. Another important measurement for societal values are usage and practices. While the company is operating online, it includes large equipments with vast electricity consumption (Negi & Jain, 2017). To maintain the societal value, Gilt will have to maintain their electricity usage while operating within a society. Additionally, the company operating in online virtual markets internationally must reach out to the customers for informative and descriptive data acknowledgments. The company must spread the awareness about societal values as well as other inhabitants and being a company, it includes a large responsibility towards it.
Online data theft and security is one of the most important aspects of ethical considerations. Gilt Group stores millions of personal and transactional information of millions of people. Losing of these data can be harmful for the customers as well as the company's ethics. Along with that the avoiding factors of ethical issues are, listing of the products accurately as it makes user feasibility, choosing the right platform for business procedures as the right e-commerce platform will be secured for data transmission as well as mitigation (Lunka, 2019).
Legal considerations are done in order to maintain the sustainability in the international markets. The laws and legislations are major concerns for any business setup as differential parameters are measured for business ventures. As an instance, tax laws, legality of the contents and online contracts are major considerations for the same. Considering online agreements with the shareholders, selecting the domain name wisely, creating enforceable online contracts, utilization of online protective provisions and seeking available immunity for copyrighting infringement are other concerns of legal considerations. Gilt has to abide by all these legislative factors to ensure a better productivity as well as sustainable operations.
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It can be concluded that thinking about online concurrences with the investors, choosing the area name shrewdly, making enforceable online contracts, usage of online defensive arrangements and looking for accessible resistance for copyrighting encroachment are different worries of legitimate contemplations. Plated needs to comply with all these administrative elements to guarantee a superior efficiency just as economical activities. Despite the fact that, the idea of online stores is an important one relying upon the deals and income contrast, it likewise incorporates a few impediments. The focal points and detriments are deciding components for better decision of business stage. The student has depicted about the points of view of web based business and the procedures that will enable it to develop through online stages. The report talks about an outstanding business on the planet Gilt Group and their business prospects. Contingent upon the components of Gilt Group's prosperity, the report investigations the focal points and burdens of online activities instead of disconnected stores.
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