The paper will outline an online shopping routine that a buyer goes through on a regular basis when searching for household goods, office equipment or outdoor items on Amazon. The preference to online shopping is largely because of the flexibility, the associated discounts and the variety available, all this through a web browser. In this instance, I will use the analogy of online shopping for a smartphone through the existing and the improved process flowchart.
The existing online shopping process that a buyer goes through routinely involves the following process:-
(See existing flowchart on page 4 and 5)
(See improved process map 2 on page 6 and 7)
With the existing flowchart, the routine begins with registering with amazon.com. The buyer would then login to the website using the account details provided during the registration process. The consumer would then make a choice of whether to view the account status or actually performing an online purchase. If it were viewing the account, the consumer would proceed to the account status section and check if everything is okay. Otherwise, the buyer would go directly to the product categories to search for the selected item in this instance a smartphone. After selecting the preferred product from the variety available, the buyer would add the item to cart. After reviewing the carts contents, quantity and the product selected and making sure that everything is okay, the next step would be to enter personal details for the delivery including physical address. The buyer is then prompted to select the preferred mode of payment and print an e-receipt as proof of purchase (Farag et al.).
In the improved process, however, everything is identical to the existing routine only that there would be more alternatives to choose from through comparing of different websites, assessing the necessity of the product, looking for cheaper alternatives and evaluating its quality before settling on a product.
The advantages of the Improved over the existing process flowchart would be a smartphone that offers the best value for money after comparing to another supplier’s website. With the improved routine, a buyer may end up not buying the smartphone at all if convinced that the purchase was under impulse and unnecessary. Suppose there was a cheaper alternative in the market that is not available on Amazon, the new process would allow to a consumer to compare the two and settle for the most appropriate depending on personal needs. In online purchasing quality is also of the essence and having a broader selection base would expose the consumer to more manufacturers and consequently better quality smartphone in the market at a specific price point.
The existing process was okay up to the point where the buyer had to select the smartphone of choice. The old routine lacked in the availability of choice category. More so because a consumer would be stuck looking for the most admired smartphone without comparing the choice with cheaper alternatives. In this respect, the buyer would be oblivious of other quality products in the market and opt for the one I selected due to lack of knowledge.
The new process flowchart, on the other hand, provides more comparability to other online vendors such as eBay or Newegg. In addition, the improved process would assure the buyer that he would purchase a necessary product that will be comfortable without putting finances under unwarranted pressure. In relation to Figure 6.1 and 6.2, the improved process had to include the best supplier who incorporated a good marketing strategy, swift operations and a strong financial position in order to produce quality products for consumers.
Decision-making is critical, and while we do make them unknowingly on a day-to-day basis, it is important to stick to a routine that makes the best use of the available resources (Tague).
In light of all the above, it is evident that the improved process flowchart is better than the old process because of the possible outcomes it bears. While the old process may result in the desired product, the underlying negative factors may include getting an overly expensive product when there is a cheaper alternative that is equally good or better in the market. Process map 2 may result in a product that best serves its purpose, appropriate and most importantly matches its value.
Process Map 1
Process Map 2
Farag, Sendy et al. “Shopping Online And/or in-Store? A Structural Equation Model of the Relationships between E-Shopping and in-Store Shopping.” Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice 41.2 (2007): 125–141. Web.
Tague, Nancy R. “Flowchart.” The Quality Toolbox. N.p., 2004. 55–257. Web.