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Not on the Internet? It’s about time you were
There has been endless talk of the immense opportunities offered by the Internet, glossing many of these articles with success stories in which, with a small investment, a small (or tiny) company has achieved great business success thanks to the Internet.
It is true. Indeed there are enormous opportunities to be had in a global market. However, a global market not only implies many buyers, but also many vendors with access to the global market, which means that, on the whole, it is still going to be a very difficult market.
The Internet changes everything
Although we have been immersed in this profound change in consumer preferences and buying habits of a generally globalised market for many years, it seems that most companies have not yet realized the extent of the changes in mentality, focus and the technologies necessary to adapt the way companies are managed in this new market.
It seems clear that most companies in any sector (not only online sales) must quickly adapt their marketing, sales and customer service to suit the new requirements of the current market, because potential and existing customers, whether individuals or businesses, now have computers and mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) and want to interact online. This is becoming more and more popular because it is more comfortable and is (or should be) cheaper.
But this change is not easy. It does not simply involve the creation of an attractive website with a shopping cart, it requires much more.
Business Strategy must be adapted to suit the characteristics of the new environment
Although strategies will be different depending on the product or sector, in general we must bear in mind:
- The decline (or even lack) of physical contact must be replaced by other methods to assure customer security. Therefore, it is important to strengthen the brand, provide maximum product/service information, contact details and examples of consumer experiences, etc.
- Market globalization (It is undeniable that with just a few clicks the potential customer can find the competitors) makes life easier for customers, which means they should be able to find what they want easily, the procedure should be simple and they should enjoy the speed of Web browsing on any type of mobile device, with simple payment methods, quick deliveries, and refund and /or return policies, etc.
- The location of the company on the Web (and not just in a physical space) requires the modification of the traditional ways to include the most optimal circuit possible, whilst taking into account the product stock and distribution channels, delivery and collection logistics, payment methods, etc. and also considering other criteria such as search engine positioning, for the company to be viewed by all potential customers.
- Web dynamics require great adaptability to change and great flexibility to perform all actions immediately without compromising security. Content (products, prices, offers, etc.) updates must be instant but must first go through a test and approval circuit to guarantee speed and efficiency in the distribution, customer service, etc. All of this with real-time monitoring of all steps within the process, tracking, alerts for any delays, etc. and statistical data necessary for immediate decision making.
We must have the Tools necessary to optimize this management
In addition to a necessary change of mentality to understand and correctly apply these new management concepts, putting this strategy into practice effectively is not possible without the help of the right tools.
But acquiring and maintaining these tools is not a trivial matter because, in addition to the cost, you must either have specialized staff or rely on third parties. The integration with other ways of management used within the company can also be complicated.
Until recently there were no tools on the market capable of providing the solution to this vital new type of management, but the arrival of next generation BPM (Business Process Management) Suites has provided companies with an integral management in which the company itself can design the system easily and quickly, with all transaction activity being monitored by the BPMS.
A next generation BPM Suite enables the employees themselves to build and maintain interactive Web Sites without any technical background or the need for any programming whatsoever, as well as to flexibly manage digital content and the particular features of the Online Commerce. Also, and most importantly, these functions do not act independently, but are carried out in an integrated manner with other forms of company management: Marketing, Customers, Sales, Purchasing, Warehouse, Logistics, Billing, Technical Support, etc.
This means, for example, that Consultation, Purchasing, Sales, After Sales, Claims, Applications, Billing, Returns, etc. required by existing and potential customers through the Web will automatically and Immediately start their automated Immediate Resolution Processes, ensuring management optimization and therefore customer satisfaction.
In brief, companies must get on the Internet bandwagon as soon as possible. In addition to the always necessary creativity, they must understand the rules of play in this new market to enable them to adapt to the change, innovating the management structure through the implementation of a BPM in which the new business strategy is poured into the system to automate and optimize the management of their processes.