***New report highlights key success factors for effective online traders and lists major areas of concern***
Shopcreator, the leading UK portal and e-business provider, has created an 'E-Business Top Ten' of key e-business pointers to help organisations of all sizes optimise their online operations. This follows a year in which the company has helped drive major online presences for leading organisations such as Safeway, the Co-Operative Group, the Science Museum and the Girl Guiding Association. According to Shopcreator's CEO Andy Kitchener: "it's very easy for businesses to lose sight of their original e-business goals - with this Top Ten we're providing organisations with a critical checklist that will give the pointers needed to help keep an e-business project on track."
Since its formation in 1997, Shopcreator has helped a wide variety of UK organisations - from major retailers including Sainsbury's to SMEs such as Dale Photographic - to achieve their online goals. This experience in both designing and building e-business and portal solutions, and providing 24x7 online hosting, has given the company a distinctive perspective on what works and what doesn't when it comes to e-business. It is this background which has led to the creation of the Shopcreator 'E-Business Top Ten'.
"Ask any successful retailer what they look at when they open a new outlet and they'll always focus on premises, traffic and logistics - with an online venture, however, businesses don't always have the same level of certainty. Forget about the answers, many relatively successful organisations don't even really know what the key questions are!" commented Andy Kitchener. "Our job at Shopcreator is to work with organisations to help turn their e-business strategies into paying propositions. An excellent recent example is the Science Museum that now operates one of the UK's most compelling online catalogue operations and turns over some £1/4 million per month in online sales.
'E-Business Top Ten for 2004' Report highlights include:
· Are you in the right e-business? - Looking at the right mix of products, data management and business - key guidelines here include 'if your site is built by hand then scrap it now!'
· Choosing the right infrastructure - Perhaps the critical concern for all e-business operators, get it wrong and you're effectively turning customers away
· Get the right software to build your site - Does your software match your potential online inventory? - DVD Plus now offers more than one million DVDs, CDs and videos online
· Market your site - and use your site to market your business - use a range of marketing tools to drive business to your site - all year round - key areas here include search engine registration, newsgroups, e-CRM, affinity marketing, price comparison engines, banner ads, eBay integration and online aggregation with partners
· Make it easy for your site visitors - It's polite not to leave visitors stranded, so check your navigation, ensure you have full search facilities, leave breadcrumb trails
· Let your customers buy - Don't get in the way of the process, so give site visitors all the options they need to explore upgrades and alternatives themselves
· Try and integrate all your systems - Start off with a simple web site but then try to integrate as much functionality as possible - this could include postcode integration, e-mail login and passwords, call centre integration for telesales support, as well as back-office systems and automated fulfilment
· Get the costs right - No two websites are the same so there are no standard prices, however by breaking costs down into the five core components of site design, licences, bespoke development, initial data upload and ongoing hosting, you can get a far better idea of what you should be paying
· Keep on monitoring, managing and changing - You've got an e-business up and running and you've received your first orders - unfortunately that's just the start, now you've got to focus on refreshing the site, evolving new content, and driving online marketing - remember an e-business is for life
· So choose the right online partners - e-business is about more than just HTML - to ensure success you need a partner with real expertise in the management and security of web farms, design and usability, the ability to write and implement custom business logic, strong helpdesk skills, search engine expertise, relevant marketing support, and of course training, support and implementation skills. Does your e-business partner match up?
"With many businesses now on their second or even third generation e-business approach, it's clear that many UK operations still feel they haven't got it entirely right," continued Kitchener. "We'd encourage them to benchmark their current strategy against our 'E-Business Top Ten' - which they can find out more about from our White Paper available on our website at: www.shopcreator.com/ebusinessTopTen.
"Like most good advice we've tried to focus on the ten key issues that will really add value, so we hope the process will make a real difference to UK companies' online presence in 2004."
Shopcreator is a leading provider of portal and e-business solutions to public sector, SME and corporate organisations, with leading customers including Sainsbury's, the Co-Operative Group, Safeway's, Watford FC, the Science Museum, Girl Guiding Association and the Daily Mail. The company provides end-to-end e-business solutions including education and training, consultancy, bespoke software, graphics design and full project management.
Shopcreator has been listed as a Tech Track 100 fastest growing unquoted technology company and was also ranked by Deloitte & Touche as one of the
UK's fastest-growing e-commerce companies. Find out more at www.shopcreator.com
For more information, please contact:
IBA, PR for Shopcreator
Tel: 01780 721433
Published on: 12:00AM on 17th February 2004