In this day and age, the application of modern technology in the business arena has become more of a requirement that an added advantage. Many people live most of their lives online, at work, socializing, gaming or just watching movies. As such, it is imperative that a company, any company, take its business operations online to capitalize on the vast market share that is now available. This scenario significantly applies to our Brick and Mortar Company that loses customers by the day with the competitors ceasing the online market while the business maximizes only on in-store sales. Therefore, it is paramount that the company move forward and integrate systems that will first enable it to establish a noticeable online presence and, secondly, to conquer the market and increase online sales. It will be able to do this by installing technologies that will integrate online shopping and payment processing options. It will also need a program that will manage its customer contacts, inventory and, utilize other technologies in the management of all other business processes.
The company will have to incorporate advanced technologies in a bid to secure a significant proportion of the entire market space, to achieve this modern commercial outlook. Mobile commerce is the use of smartphones to conduct essential business operations. This digitization will be a necessary step to answer the fashion retailer's problems. This operational change will combine phone and web applications that consumers to access products, utilize reviews, know about offers online, pay with phones and still get to enjoy in-store services as well. These platforms act as a bridge linking the customer and the business regardless of their locations. It offers real-time services and functions to deliver the power of e-commerce directly into the hands of the customer, to facilitate buying and selling through wireless phones and devices, quick orders and delivery services (Laudon, & Traver, 2016). Another essential tool for this transition is the Big Data and Knowledge Systems. This advancement in the sector is vital in accumulating large data-sets, and accurately passing through all of them making sense of consumer behavior, sales versus products analysis and facilitating real-time pricing. It enables companies to make use of all the information the business comes across and find means with which to gain profit. Big data tools include Hadoop, Apache Storm, and Apache Spark.
The company aims at first re-launching the company's website, to see it integrated with the best e-commerce technology that will establish a robust online presence for the Brick and Mortar's company. This move will enable the company to boost its sales and rank among the top fashion retailers and reclaim its competitive advantage over its competitors. The project's purposes to attract a more significant customer base by improving customer experience with new features such as online shopping, delivery services, and new product notifications. To become more customer-focused, it will be essential also to devise mechanisms for understanding customer preferences. All these features will automatically impact the revenues of the company positively, and ultimately initiate the growth of the company.
To achieve the desired results, that is, transition into a functioning and profitable e-commerce platform, the company must consider some requirements. It is central to this cause that the best technology gets chosen to allow the company to align all its goals and objectives into establishing a strong online presence and become a leading online fashion retailer. Additionally, the company must amass adequate human and financial resources to acquire and maintain new technological applications. It is impossible to imagine conquering a considerable share of the market without considering new technology. The new acquisitions should enable the business owner to achieve the much-desired effect of tapping into the online market by the integration of online shipping, provision of order status and online payment processing options and, being able to collect consumer data crucial for understanding consumer preferences.
In managing the brick-and-mortar processes, the company will require specific functionalities from the technological applications available. It will first need them to incorporate online shopping options to allow the customer to place quick orders. It should provide secure mobile payment features and integrate means of inventory and delivery management. It should also allow for reporting procedures. After establishing the e-commerce section, the firm will still face the challenge of data organization and as such, oblige the company to acquire an application that will improve the management of customer contacts that will facilitate collaboration between staff and customers, and manage inventory and shipping procedures.
In the year 2016, Blue-fly, a retailer in the fashion industry, partnered with Mozu vendors to re-launch its website and incorporate a new mobile commerce platform that would this time around include a push notification feature. This remarkable additional enables users to receive scheduled messages through an upgraded app notifying customers of offers and other deals. The new changes in Bluefly Inc. allow it to manage all of its operations on one platform where clients can use different devices but still enjoy the same experience. Using the overhauled systems, it can now add multiple brands and manage inventory without worry. This platform allows the retailer to update its list, and maintain product profile in real time (Bluefly Company Profile | E-Commerce | Digital Commerce 360 | Internet Retailer, 2019).
Macy's Inc. is among the largest operational fashion retailers in the world; it also operates the most significant customer base courtesy of its large department store (ranked the largest in the US). As such, the company comes by a lot of large sets of data from its operations. It was, therefore, an excellent option to integrate a Big Data system, Hadoop, which would allow them to dig through the vast chunks of information in the search for means they could use to impact their enterprise strategies. This development helps the organization to understand consumer behavior and utilize dynamic pricing whenever products are experiencing either high or low seasons (Data, 2019).
Since the introduction of its new electronic commerce technologies, Bluefly Inc. continues to amass considerable benefits regarding revenue and customer satisfaction. More than 60% of households purchase their goods online, meaning that the firm is hoping to increase sales even more. The firm also enjoys the developments as it is now easy for them to monitor their customers' preferences and know what products are presently moving and what not to stock (Bluefly Company Profile | E-Commerce | Digital Commerce 360 | Internet Retailer, 2019).
Similarly, integrating an e-commerce system will mean a lot of profit for the brick and mortar business. Firstly, the company will now be able to healthily compete with its counterparts by tapping into the online consumer base. Secondly, the mobile commerce option will mean that the company will become more customer-focused, improving the shopping experience, and enable the company to make informed decisions courtesy of the reporting and computing tools in m-commerce.
The integration of a mobile commerce system will have the most significant impact on the business. In the launch of the project, the company will have to upgrade its website in a bid to accommodate features of the new advancement in terms of capacity and processing speed. The mobile commerce structure will then introduce the online shopping options that will link the application on smartphones with the website. It will allow individuals to purchase services and commodities at the comfort of their homes, and have the company deliver it to their preferred locations. The customers will, also, be able to get notifications on recommended products or, earlier requested products. The technology will upgrade the establishment's payment system to pave the way for the modern and secure method of online transacting, and, the management of the client lists. The platform will also provide a faster means of reporting that will facilitate collaboration between staff and the company's clients.
With the launch of the digitized method of conducting business in the Brick and Mortar firm, the company will at that moment need to manipulate the data produced during the various processes. Knowledge management technologies will support the business in the acquisition, storage and distribution processes of information. This analytics will enable them to understand what products are moving, in what season and for what reasons. The firm will use dynamic pricing and adjust prices to push unmoving products and charge highly when commodities and services are in high season. Additionally, they will be able to understand customer preferences and make informed decisions in the process of recommending products to loyal customers (Kwon, Lee, & Shin, 2014). Generally, the Data knowledge programs will enable the executive to manage client contacts, inventory, sales, and payments.
The Brick-and-Mortar business is currently lagging in its structural organization. It still employs the traditional methods of marketing which are slowly getting obsolete. Many customers in this modern era prefer to buy and sell products online, and that is why the firm urgently needs to upgrade. It is therefore prudent and recommendable that the company combine both technologies, Mobile Commerce and Big Data Knowledge and management software programs, which will see the company dominate not only the present but also the future. Moving to e-commerce will be a critical transition to allow it to reclaim its position in the market by establishing a strong online presence. It will then be able to make use of social media and other digital marketing strategies that will double its sales in a short period. The Big Data and Knowledge system will, on the other hand, enable it to parse through big sets of data and predict the movement of commodities in the future (Kwon, Lee, & Shin, 2014).
One of the essential elements of a functional organization is smooth coordination among staff members and, with clients. Mobile commerce allows customers who encounter obstacles in the entire purchasing process to get quick assistance from the care desk. Employees will also have an easy time reconciling sales and making reports to facilitate planning. Mobile commerce will also allow for easy and faster checking of orders to sort issues that may slow down delivery and enhance the purchasers' satisfaction (Niranjanamurthy et al., 2013).
Big data analytics will enable the company to improve in the processing of vast chunks of data and allow the executives to make informed decisions that will aid in predicting future directions regarding product seasons, prices and customer preferences. Due to the high processing speed of the data systems, the firm will also benefit enormously in managing customer contacts simplifying the management of inventory and shipping processes. The brick-and-mortar company moves an array of products from the latest apparel to handbags and keeping track all of the goods may prove difficult. Trained staff will organize the information in ways easily understood by other employees, the owner, and the customers. It will enable the company to maintain an interface that is user-friendly. This addition will mean fast processing speeds that will attract more customers which will eventually translate to more sales for the company. The combination of the mobile commerce platform and the data analytics will, therefore, facilitate the achievement of the company's primary objective; to increase sales by tapping into the online market.
The world is currently embracing technology in all matters of business. All corporations are fighting to get their hands on the best technology in the market. Digitizing is a fundamental step for the Brick and Mortar Company in preparation for the future. It is slowly getting to a time when traditional methods of doing business will not work, and when that time comes, the firm will still be in a position to operate profitably and more efficiently than most of its counterparts. It will also be an excellent opportunity for the company to attract better talent to facilitate the expansion of the business into other regions and accommodate the globalization process. All structures are observing change to online methods. It, therefore, means that customers will now choose the firms that offer the most customer-friendly services and, with the highest values. Big Data and Knowledge systems will allow the fashion dealer to know what clients' needs beforehand and complement this feature with safe and efficient payment methods. In general, the brick-and-mortar will reclaim its competitive advantage by having systems compatible with developing methods of conducting business that might prove crucial in the future.
It is recommendable that the business adopts the two technologies that will promote the establishment of a stronger online presence, with a focus on customers. However, it remains crucial that the company confirms all security features for both technologies. There are five features to which mobile commerce systems should conform. Firstly, the authentication process should be tight, with only registered users being able to transact after the creation of a bridge of trust between them. Secondly, the integrity of the commerce platforms should be unquestionable. The transferred data should not be accessible by other unregistered parties. Finally, the platform should allow for private transactions and transfer of data. User details should be safe from hackers and have encryption capabilities. Big data systems also have to meet specific security expectations to guarantee the business of success. These programs should be compatible with complementary tools that will safeguard the security of incoming data and its storage. Additionally, it should have encryption capabilities and clear-cut methods for access control (Taylor, 2017).
While third-party vendors could be useful to the business, this association also comes in with the risk of loss of data, or manipulation, alteration and corruption of information during the transfer process. In light of this, the business should employ up to date technological applications such as SSL that function to de-identify customer information like card numbers. Since the brick-and-mortar establishment prioritizes customer satisfaction, it will be crucial that their data is safe from unauthorized hands. Therefore, all technologies acquired by the company should be able to support this indispensable tool. However, since the extra SSL layer does not entirely control vendor usage of accessible information, the company can also consider tokenization of the data to replace sensitive information with their insensitive equivalents. This move will ensure that business, together with its consumers are safe from damages that may result from a data breach. Also, confidentiality between vendors and the company will be critical if facts and figures are to remain within the hands of authorized personnel (Kumar & Goyal, 2016).
It is safer for the company to establish an internal protection mechanism first before seeking out external safeguards for the security of company data. Since the business will upgrade and kick-start operations that require heavy internet usage, it is undoubted that the company will be a target of cybercrime. Thus, the first thing the firm should do is acquire a robust antivirus and antimalware program that detects intrusions and prevents unauthorized access. The brick-and-mortar business should also consider partitioning the system according to levels of access, to ensure only authorized personnel can access sensitive information. This move will function to reduce the misuse of vast chunks of data by individuals with malicious intent. The company should also conduct risk assessments regularly, and back up data as insurance in case of unforeseeable loss of valuable sets of data.
Bluefly Company Profile | E-Commerce | Digital Commerce 360 | Internet Retailer. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/company/bluefly/
Data, T. (2019). Big Data at Macy's Inc. - Terrific Data. Retrieved from http://terrificdata.com/2016/06/30/big-data-at-macys-inc/
Laudon, K. C., & Traver, C. G. (2016). E-commerce: business, technology, society.
Kwon, O., Lee, N., & Shin, B. (2014). Data quality management, data usage experience and acquisition intention of big data analytics. International Journal of Information Management, 34(3), 387-394.
Kumar, D., & Goyal, N. (2016). Security issues in M-commerce for online transaction - IEEE Conference Publication. Retrieved from https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7784990
Niranjanamurthy, M., Kavyashree, N., Jagannath, S., & Chahar, D. (2013). Analysis of e-commerce and m-commerce: advantages, limitations and security issues. International Journal of Advanced Research in Computer and Communication Engineering, 2(6).
Taylor, C. (2017). Top Big Data Security Concerns. Retrieved from https://www.datamation.com/big-data/big-data-security.html
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