E-Commerce in simple terms can be explained as buying and selling of goods and services and transfer of funds through digital communications. Electronic commerce over the Internet is a new way of conducting business. Ecommerce or electronic commerce involves carrying out business over the Internet with the assistance of computers, which are linked to each other forming a network. The amount and volume of trade that is conducted over such mediums has increased manifold over the years with the spread and adoption of Internet. The growing number of Internet users, (estimated to be more than 1.4 billion worldwide ) coupled with increased Internet Connectivity, has contributed to increase in spends for online budgets.
Vodafone is the world’s leading international mobile telecommunications group with approximately 280 million proportionate customers as of 30 September 2008 . Vodafone has equity interests in 27 countries across five continents and over 40 partner networks worldwide. Let’s have a look at all the ecommerce activities done by Vodafone
Vodafone maintains and manages a UK online store for consumers; this ecommerce site is one of the most visited websites in the UK and reliably handles 1.85 million unique visits per month . This has been achieved by optimizing both the front-end and back-end code to ensure that it operates smoothly under considerable load. The site is under constant development with promotional/sales changes made on an on-going basis and releases of strategic developments every 2-4 weeks.
Why is this Vodafone online shop different?
It enables a remarkable customer online experience;
It completely automates the buying and renewal of online subscriptions;
It is built on a very powerful infrastructure: ATG, an e-commerce solution used by the world’s top brands.
Picking up the major benefits Vodafone gains are:
Customer acquisition – increased number of new subscribers;
Customer retention – due to the personalized customer experience;
Customer growth – through handy, accessible mix of services;
Cost-effectiveness – decreasing customer-related operational costs by integrating core business systems.
Quoting from the news article”M2 PRESSWIRE-16 May 2000-VODAFONE: Corporate customers enjoy benefits of e-commerce (C) 1994-2000 M2 COMMUNICATIONS LTD RDATE: 16052000 Vodafone today unveils Vodafone Corporate Online, the heart of a new e-commerce strategy for its corporate customers” . Vodafone Corporate Online is a secure web site (Extranet) that will initially enable corporate customers to buy goods or services on-line, request installations, recoveries and review order status. Future e- services such as on-line bill analysis, billing via email and electronic bill viewing will follow later in the year. Graham Ward, Managing Director of Vodafone Corporate, said: “We are constantly striving to make life easier for our customers and our innovative e-commerce strategy plays a major role in the business” .
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And also another ecommerce transaction of Vodafone is that, the account is also very easy to manage via the Vodafone web site. There is the option to change your price plan, top up, manage your calling groups or even add extra services . If you purchase just a sim card to put into an existing phone, you can send all the settings for GPS, SMS, and WAP etc via their website to update your phone automatically without the need to spend ages doing manual input, or spending hours on the phone to an advisor.
Leading e-commerce marketplace makes it easily accessible to Vodafone customers. New mobile application ensures best customer experience on mobile. Vodafone is to offer the new eBay mobile service to customers, enabling them to keep up with their latest purchases, wherever they are and whenever they wish. The eBay application will be free to download on Vodafone live! or embedded on key customer Vodafone handsets. Launching in Italy initially, the new eBay mobile service will be available across Europe later this year . The eBay mobile application, accessed directly from the customer’s handset, will include the ability to search and browse items, find deals, bid on items and buy fixed price products. The application will be embedded onto key consumer handsets from Vodafone in the future. Customers with compatible handsets will also be able to download the application from Vodafone live! The application will help consumers track their eBay activity in real time on their phone and will also ensure their mobile and web activity is synchronized.
“As we move closer to the convergence of web and mobile, it is essential that we can offer our customers, leading Internet based services, such as eBay, in an easily accessible way, “ said Frank H. Rövekamp, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Vodafone. “There is a strong demand from eBay users to benefit from a mobile application where they don’t miss the end of auctions and bid back when they are outbid. Today’s announcement offers just that and gives Vodafone customers a great service and a clear advantage allowing them to make the most of their time” .
Vodafone’s main areas of interest are : focus on the customer including privacy, security and online protection; reducing environmental impact through network energy-saving, waste reduction and green travel and; using communications technology to help customers reduce their carbon footprint; supporting good causes including World of Difference – a major new volunteering programme; employee engagement and advocacy; working with suppliers to raise and maintain standards.
To reach and succeed on these interests the Vodafone started all above mentioned e-commerce strategies and a lot more so that it can enjoy many benefits, the impact it had on Vodafone are, Vodafone was be able to reach new markets across traditional geographic boundaries and expand their customer base. Firm was able to provide cost-effective customer service with tools such as Frequently Asked Questions, delivery-tracking technology or personalized online customer accounts. It’s win/win when e-commerce allows them to shift a lot of the ‘burden’ of service back onto the customer. Stay open for business 24-hours. Vodafone customers can purchase online while employees sleep. And also potentially saved money on labor, materials and other overheads and reduce their inventory holdings.
Ecommerce allows Vodafone to carry out businesses without the barriers of time or distance. One can log on to the Internet at any point of time, be it day or night and purchase or sell anything one desires at a single click of the mouse. Essentially this allows them to offer their goods and services to both a global and local market 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, often with vastly reduced overheads which are associated with ‘traditional’ sales methods.
Operational benefits of e commerce include reducing both the time and personnel required to complete business processes, and reducing strain on other resources. The strategic benefit of making Vodafone ‘ecommerce enabled’, is that it helped reduce the delivery time, labor cost and the cost incurred in the following areas:
Error detection and correction
According to research conducted by AC Nielson, in September 2006 5.9 million Australians were shopping online, making us the third-largest online spenders behind the UK and the US . Over half of these online shoppers (51 per cent) came back for more and average shopper spending was up 19 percent to $1,900 per annum .
Concluding the facts I have written above regarding the ecommerce techniques and strategies used by the Vodafone and also the impact ecommerce had on Vodafone, I would once again like to remind the readers that ecommerce brings in more advantages weighed against the disadvantages to the adaptor. The major the benefits what all firms are striving for are,
Increased awareness of products and services – Businesses can now greatly expand their markets using ecommerce, no need to constrain the focus to only the local scene, but by using the Internet, businesses can venture into international and regional markets, with greater ease. This dynamically changes the nature and the marketing activities of some businesses, possibly encouraging the business to expand the diversity of its products and services, to meet these new markets. Websites, in their nature, allow hundreds and thousands of items to be on view 24/7; thus encouraging wider viewing, and extended trading hours.
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Freedom – With the freedom of being able to post your information on their website, hence on the Internet, at any time of the day; available information of all variations is increasing at a huge rate. The freedom to browse anywhere and interact with anyone is enough to tempt the smallest of businesses and the most introverted of people to get on the Net; hence Net users are increasing in numbers, at an alarming rate, approximately 50,000 per day. Businesses are buzzing on the Net; they have found a way to compete on an even field, with even the largest of corporations; and within a daily increasing customer marketplace. This can be done only by ecommerce
Cost advantage -businesses based on ecommerce are extremely aware of how they can profit by being on the Internet; they can advertise their products and services without the huge costs, and delays of printing, publishing and distribution. The market is a global one, which adds greater value to the costs outlaid for promotion and marketing; compared to the limits of offline. Ecommerce facilities can be incorporated into the website, transforming 2D screen visuals into user reactive models; for example, consumers can order their products and services online, greatly reducing administration expenses. Reduction of telephone calls to potential customers; follow ups by email; newsletters digitally made, promoted by email or downloadable from the website, with reduction of distribution costs; less promotional material sent out, printed and wasted; extended trading hours without a human presence; are just a few ways to cut costs.
To reach their goals and strategies, striving through life time of the business will not make any difference they should adapt ecommerce and feel the advantages and the turn-up on their business as soon as possible. This article about Vodafone can be great example of how adapting ecommerce had made an impact on its business activities, customer base and a lot more.
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