Strategy and Implementation Summary
Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions strategy will first recognize that the brick and mortar end of the business will be relatively insignificant to the e-commerce portion. This is primarily the case because people that consume outdoor fabrics and notions are pretty widespread, there will not be a huge local crowd. Add the geographic completeness that the Internet offers and you have a huge audience.
Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions' strategy for the Internet orders, the bulk of the business, will be to build as robust of a website as possible. The site will be robust by having a large product offering, ease of navigation, and ease of purchasing. The site will be changed frequently to encourage customers to visit often and products will be emphasized to try to pull the customer in. Specials will be offered and rotated frequently to encourage repeat visits.
Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions will use WebTrends Web traffic monitoring software to gain insight regarding their Web customers. This information will be indispensable for the future modification of products and services to appeal to the customer's needs.
5.1 Competitive Edge
Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions' competitive edge will be their focus on e-commerce. The brick and mortar side will be serviced by having the same product offerings that the website has as well as having someone in the store to help out with any questions/needs that a customer may have. This however, is just one small aspect of the overall business. The foundation of the business is the e-commerce site. This is the foundation because it is the most cost effective way of operating as a retailer, it serves the largest geographical region, the world, and the site can be serviced from anywhere at any time of the day.
Currently, there is not an excellent website that sells outdoor fabrics and notions. You can find some of the products on the Web, but not an extensive selection.
Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions will focus on the website as they recognize this is where the highest margins are and the largest target market. The website as the primary focus will allow Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions to rapidly gain market share as they will redefine anything on their site to meet the need's of the customers.
5.2 Sales Strategy
The sales strategy will differ between the brick and mortar side and the e-commerce side. For the brick and mortar side, Gaian will attempt to offer superior customer support when customers visit the showroom. What is meant by this is, when a customer comes in they will be immediately approached and asked if they need help. This is useful for the customer as there are so many small things that Gaian sells that it is impossible to display everything. The employee will try to elicit what kind of project that they are working on for two reasons 1) to determine what they can offer as an additional accessory for the project, "upselling," and 2) so they can offer advice on ways to complete the project or things to keep an eye out for. While this kind of advice occurs occasionally at some stores at the request of the customer, it will be offered by the employee without the customer's request. This will give the customer the impression that Gaian is being truly helpful.
For the e-commerce side, Gaian will make the website as easy as possible for the customer to navigate as well as purchase something. This is important because Gaian will try to avoid the possibility that the customer 1) cannot find what they are looking for, and 2) that they will put something in their basket to be purchased but leave without purchasing it. Gaian will also be having meaningful weekly specials to reward customers with great deals who check with the website frequently. Making the customer's experience with the site as pleasant as possible will encourage people to buy things.
5.2.1 Sales Forecast
The first month will be used to set up the store front as well as set up the website. There will be no sales activity. The first three months will have some sales activity but it will be fairly slow. Month four will see some decent activity as people begin to become aware of Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions. Sales will be great enough to reach profitability by month nine.
Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions will have several milestones early on:
- Business plan completion. This will be done as a roadmap for the organization. This will be an indispensable tool for the ongoing performance and improvement of the company.
- Office set up and website launching.
- Revenues exceeding $75,000.