Project Manager, HomewaresDirect
CharlieDesign understood HomewaresDirect’s good reputation and strong position in the South Australian retail marketplace. One of the biggest challenges faced by a company of this type is to create a popular space online that matches what is offered offline (ie bricks and mortar), however, this can be ensured through the resulting customer experience, dedicated service and positive reach (ie marketing voice). All risks were to be considered, all avenues explored and all challenges faced head on.
In developing this new online store the following items were analysed:
- Brand and reputation
- Technical & business specifications
- Customer experience & service
- Content and stock management of website & merchandise
- Communications, marketing & PR
Reviewing instore processes and current business practices provides a foundation for the technical specifications (and expectations) to determine options and their associated budgets. The most challenging aspect to creating an online store is to ensure a smooth and easy interface with existing technologies and systems within the business ie EFTPos and stock or warehouse management solutions. Without this interface and/or full technical support, strong business administration processes are needed to ensure the brand reputation is not compromised (and it’s not ideal).
Any compromise has an onflow effect with customer experience and service also compromised. It is best to implement the best possible solution in the first instance rather than suffer later. It may take longer and be more painful to implement the solution, however you will benefit long term. The online store will require its own set of business guidelines, procedures, and controls to manage a vast array of tasks to make the sales and logistics process run smoothly. For example procedures will be needed for credit card processing (bank merchant & PayPal), delivery management and fulfilment. The online stores will also require ongoing content management and stock control. From an external user’s perspective ie the customer, content management simply involves ensuring the information provided through the online store is correct, up-to-date, consistent and accurate. This then has to be conducted in an ethical and legally sound way and so the online store must detail robust policies in regards to customer privacy, merchandise returns and other assoctaied disclaimers.
Once the online store is developed, implemented, deployed and launched, an ongoing communication strategy using a combination advertising, marketing, complimented by PR should be (and was) scheduled.
CharlieDesign successully project managed the development of the HomewaresDirect eCommerce website, using the following service providers: