Five Online Strategies
The five online strategies identified in this case will integrate conventional and internet marketing strategies. The website will provide additional information about present and potential customers, increase efficiency, lower costs, increase supply chain efficiency, and enhance customer retention and loyalty (Leavy, 2011). The first strategy is to build a strong web presence. This will be achieved by grabbing the website’s visitor’s attention in the first eight seconds, develop decision making paths of the homepage, and persuade the website visitors to take action.
The second strategy is to be seen in all the right places on the web. This strategy can be achieved by identifying the ideal prospect, maximizing the company’s online presence, and get noticed and grow the online store’s business on the web. The third strategy is to ensure that Rhapsody Clothing Store is social on the web. This strategy can be achieved by leveraging social media, incorporating efficient and effective ways to stay in touch and build relationships, developing social media best practices and finally through creating a believable social networking presence (Leavy, 2011).
The fifth strategy is establishing online alliances. Sometimes, Rhapsody Clothing Store alliance partners can also be fierce competitors. Other alliances are formed between companies that operate in completely different industries. The online store should keep forming marketing alliances until they produce the best possible results.
The fourth online strategy is generating closable opportunities. This strategy can be attained by ensuring that Rhapsody Clothing Store can be found by search engines and those people doing the searching. It is important to measure site wide success as well as online marketing campaigns (Leavy, 2011). The online strategy can be achieved by building conversion stream to improve Rhapsody Clothing Store close rates.
In order to integrate the e-commerce solution to the Rhapsody Clothing Store website, the first step involves creating an online product catalog (Shelly et al, 2007). Secondly, the owners of the store should get approved for and open a PayPal merchant account. Thirdly, shopping cart software is purchased which is linked to the Rhapsody Clothing Stores website through the server-to-server technology which will enable programmatically submitting a POST request within the system.net.HttpWebRequest class of the .NET Framework. This will enable the online store to get and post online payments requests. In this case the process will entail a PayPal external payment gateway.
Berardi, Katawazi & Bellinaso (2009) says that the PayPal payment solution will enable shoppers instead of physically going to the external site to enter all his billing and credit card information in the Rhapsody Clothing Stores website, which is then passed to the external service behind the scenes. The gateway will finally return a response code that indicates the transaction’s success or failure. Some feedback will be displayed to the user on his page. The payment processor and gateway is connected with the shopping cart and the merchant account. Shelly et al (2007) noted that the sales and payment transaction are tied to the business back office systems such as order fulfillment and customer support systems.
The use of PayPal website payments as the third party payment processor allows Rhapsody Clothing Store customers to shop at the online store and then pay for their purchases at the PayPal site. The PayPal payment processor provides tools for creating a product catalog at the site, including links to the processor’s shopping cart. Shelly et al (2007) noted that when a customer clicks a product purchase link, such as Buy Now Button, in a product catalog, his or her browser is directed to a shopping cart at the processors site where the order is summarized and payment information is entered. The PayPal payment service processes the transaction and then sends approval to both the store and customer.
Global issues such as currency conversion, taxation and privacy laws need to be researched and incorporates into the website before it is launched. Specific country trends in online shopping, products and demographics of the target customers must be monitored to ensure the website design keeps up with changes in the country and in the marketplace. The online store should support different currencies and different languages. The website should incorporate built-in-support for different languages. This will be an important consideration if the online store intends to attract a lot of international business and for the store to cater for a specific country or demographic group where English is not the predominant language.
As Rhapsody Clothing Store wishes to reach global market via the web the company should consider calculation engines to correctly calculate tariffs, duties and cross border shipping fees. Additionally as internet availability and e-commerce acceptance continues to grow worldwide Rhapsody Clothing Store website should let the consumer choose between different geographic regions such as North America, Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America. The product content and information will be tailored for each region.
The designers should consider graphics and bandwidth issues. Rhapsody Clothing Store website should consider user’s bandwidth because big graphics tend to take forever on the browser receiving end. This may discourage first time users from returning for a second visit. The designers should not use excessive java applets and replace GIF images with compressed JPEG images.
The design of Rhapsody Clothing Store website should be culturally thoughtful. A good way to address this concern is to hire natives of the countries being targeted. To capture this international aspect the website should be carefully planned particularly the web layout and design. An international usability test should run by hiring native speakers to just browse through all the HTML pages.
It is important to keep the Rhapsody Clothing Store website simple. Because multiple languages will be used, a separate file structure on the web server will be created for each language. This will allow for organized and easy growth when languages are added.
The website should offer plenty of online help. Rhapsody Clothing Store should offer online help for the visitors ordering products. For if the company will ship to certain locations or countries the customers will be advised about this limitation. The help should specify about shipping charges and return policies.
Timing is an important international consideration in website design. The designers should be aware that some countries are many hours ahead or behind the United States. Since the internet offers real-time transactions day or night there should not be restrictions for customer support.
Navigation is an important element of international consideration. The designers should note that global users can become familiar with one consistent navigational scheme and uniform site structure, making it easier to learn to navigate the Rhapsody Clothing Store website and help them to be more productive.