PROPOSAL FOR ONLINE BUSINESS EXPANSION
Carina’s Bridal Outlet and Consignment website has to be extensively developed to facilitate e-commerce. This is an imperative strategy, which will ensure that the company attains a better competitive edge in online marketing than its competitors. Currently, the website is static and does not provide all the information that a customer needs to make decisions of purchasing the gowns. The gowns on the website lack price tags, and the only way provided on the website through which a customer can get additional information is an e-mail address. In order to improve the utility of the website, embedding a shopping cart to the website will be necessary. A shopping cart is an application program that is designed to function as a catalogue for ordering products. More significantly, a shopping cart is the interface between a particular website and its infrastructure that provides a platform through which customers can select merchandise, make a review of the purchases, and finally pay for the merchandise. Embedding a shopping cart onto Carina’s Bridal Outlet and Consignment website will be a great way to facilitate online payments, storefront design, inventory control, tax calculation, security and marketing. The requirements for setting up a shopping cart are; hosting account, domain name, a shopping cart system, encrypted pages, and an account for processing the online payments.
Another tool that should be included in the website is a live chat software. The software will help a great deal in not only supporting the website and selling products, but also in improving customer experience. Having the live chat support on the company’s website will be a convenient way of engaging both new and existing customers while offering a flexible and open communication that will provide personalized buying experience to the on-line shoppers. Additionally, with the live chat in place, the company will be in a position to; first, provide immediate assistance to shoppers on the merchandise selection process. Secondly, increase successful sales by fine tuning the shopper’s buying pathway. Thirdly, give relevant and personalized offers based on the behavior of the visitor. Fourthly, facilitate development opportunity for new designer gowns based on the customer feedback.
In order to improve findability of Carina’s Bridal Company’s website on the internet, the following search engine optimization (SOE) strategies will be utilized.
- Include support for search term suggestions pop up as the user begins to input a term on the website’s search bar.
- Enable support for offering alternative spelling suggestions on the website.
- Facilitate for highlighting of the terms that a visitor searches within the website.
- Use of Meta tags and content keywords in the website design.
- Providing links to related and relevant content.
Making the website accessible to a diverse and large customer base is a necessity for business that needs to boost the size of the market coverage. The website design should support customization to the different, but major languages used globally such as English, Spanish, German, French, Italian and Russian. Given the increasing popularity of internet-enabled phones, the company should facilitate for the creation of a similar website, but which should be optimized for phones. Many businesses are going online creating stiff competition in online marketing, however, they are designing websites that fail to appeal the visitors. This is mainly due to the overuse of flickering content and inclusion of many adverts. Carina’s Bridal website will balance the use of these features to create an attractive website.
Customer relations is an important responsibility that every business has to take with ultimate attention. This also includes the online market, where a company needs to build sufficient trust from the customer, especially due to the many reported cases of fraud. The website will contain a section where customers can subscribe for an e-magazine that will be sent through their E-mail address. The E-mail will be sent on monthly basis to prevent the notion of spamming to our subscribers. It will contain a gallery of the designer gowns, with detailed descriptions regarding size, material, color, manufacture and price. A comments section will also be included at the bottom of the website, where customers will be able to air their views. Finally, the live chat support, mentioned above, will also help in building customer relations.
Mock-up Designs for Three Webpages
The proposed website will be comprised of six webpages, all of which will have the same appearance on the head section. The head section will contain the company’s logo and title, which will be bold and done in calligraphy. The home will be composed of three sections. The first segment will contain the menu bar that will have links to all the webpages, namely; Home, About Us, Outlet Store, Consignment, Photo Gallery, and Contact Us. The second section will be the main content area. This main content area will have the shopping cart application, dynamic photos, and a feedback section. The final section will hold brief information about the company and the website copy write.
The process of designing the website with the additional functionality to support e-commerce and maintenance will result in some expenditure. Two professional web designers will be contracted to create the Carina’s Bridal Website at a cost of $ 3,000. The contract will be for a period of three weeks till the completion of the website. The company will purchase a domain name for hosting the website. An additional $87 will be spent monthly for incorporation of live chat that will accommodate up to 10 agent seats. The live chat software and support will be purchase from Offer Chat Company. For the shopping cart, the company will select the one that supports payments through the major pay hosting companies such as PayPal.
The shopping cart from Volusion Inc. will be embedded onto the website at a cost of $15 monthly. The Volusion shopping cart will be chosen because of its ability to handle unlimited goods. In addition, it provides for the tax and shipment fee calculation as the customer continues adding items to be purchased. It has also been rated as the most secure shopping cart in comparison to others. This will reduce any chances of leaking both customer and business information to the public. After the incorporation of the live chat and shopping cart to the website, the company will be in a position to increase the customer base as well as sales.
Beal, V. (201, July 25). Ecommerce charts for websites . Retrieved from CIO: http://www.cio.com/article/712160/6_Easy_Ecommerce_Shopping_Carts_for_Small_Business_Websites
The Host Group. (2012, June 3). E-commerce Webhosting for Online Stores. Retrieved from The Host Group Since 1989: http://thehostgroup.com/web-hosting-for-ecommerce/
Volusion. (2009, May 6). Open a Successful Online Store. Retrieved from VOLUSION: http://www.volusion.com/lp/buy-now/083111/