Page 4: Developing an Internet strategy
Business strategies are designed to be consistent with an organisation's overall purpose or mission. As a world leader in direct selling, Amway builds opportunities and partnership with individual customers so that they can share in its success.
To support this purpose, corporate strategyinvolves making far-reaching long-term decisions that look to match an organisation's activities with its business environment. With huge changes in technology and many IBOs ready to make use of web access, Amway felt that the web would be one of the most effective way of meeting their needs.
For Amway's IBOs the web had many potential benefits such as:
- providing up-to-date feedback and information with fewer clerical errors
- receiving access to valuable business information and advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week both from Amway and elsewhere
- offering a range of evolving functions such as live online ordering
- enabling IBOs to check the bonuses they receive on their purchases
- providing a modern and exciting way in which to run and promote a retail business opportunity to like-minded entrepreneurs.
Making a strategic decision to develop the Internet for their IBOs enabled Amway to match technology with a whole range of functions such as marketing, operations and logistics in a way that would meet its needs more closely.
As part of a Pan European decision, Amway's strategic plan was to increase its use of the Internet by 'e-enabling' all of its European markets in a phased roll-out plan over 24 months. In order to develop an online presence, Amway grouped countries together wherever possible so as to link parts of the business in a way that would serve customer needs. This enabled it to gain economies of scale, e.g. a reduction in distribution costs.
Each of the following websites have common features for each region as well as services tailored for each country:
- amivo: UK, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Austria, Scandinavia (Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway), South Africa, Netherlands, Belgium, Greece
- v.e.b.s.o. from Amway: Hungary, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey.
The more established sites showed that, no matter what the size of the business, the Amway business model works across the Internet.
Given this successful outcome, Amway was able to identify best practice on these older sites and then apply it to new sites such as the AMIVO site used by IBOs in the UK.