Combining an offline and online business
An Amway case study

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Page 5: Launching the website

The purpose of the Amivo site was to provide e-commerce support for Independent Business Owners that would help them manage their businesses. Available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, the site was developed to help users to find products, place orders, repeat previous orders and check all of the information about their businesses. All users needed was an Internet-ready computer and access to the Internet.

The day when a website is launched is also the day when it comes under the critical scrutiny of others, including competitors, so it has to be in good shape from the outset. That implies a large amount of testing and fine-tuning at the development stage. The challenge then is to stay on schedule.

The site was first launched within the UK, mainly because of the UK's high level of Internet use and market readiness. Rather than go for a full launch, marketers within Amway decided to opt for a soft launch.

There is a natural hierarchy of Independent Business Owners. The higher level, leading Independent Business Owners were given the opportunity to use the site first. This helped to provide valuable feedback about the site, which was then used to influence further development. These trial periods helped the designers to iron out some of the issues associated with the site and also prepare it for a full launch.

The full launch of the site involved password allocations, log-on details, navigation details, and direct mailings to Independent Business Owners as well as training and support for users. Amway's 'Amagram' magazine helped the Independent Business Owners to understand more about the ways in which the e-commerce process could help provide their individual business needs.

In order to bring customers on board, it is usual to provide some incentive or added value to influence their patterns of behaviour. This is an aspect of sales promotion. The Independent Business Owners were offered a number of small launch promotions as well as a range of additional bonuses designed to encourage them to come online.

Amway | Combining an offline and online business