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HomeStrategyStrategic PlanningCombining an offline and online business

Combining an offline and online business

These days, we are surrounded by ‘high-tech’ developments. Ordinary citizens may not suffer too much from failing to keep track of new technologies the moment that they appear, but it can be disastrous for a business not to notice what is taking place.

One key challenge for any business is to see how new technologies can be harnessed to develop the business and keep it ahead of the competition.

In a previous era, it was the invention of the telephone that gave progressive companies an opportunity to rethink how they might make use of a new medium of communication to:

  • enhance their existing business
  • improve their service to existing customers
  • make contact with new potential customers
  • widen awareness of themselves and their products.

In more recent times, the Internet has once again forced businesses to rethink how they operate. The Internet is potentially exciting but is also a real challenge.

In deciding ‘What’s in it for us?’ businesses have to look very closely at what the Internet can offer and then decide how well it meets their own needs and the needs of their customers.

Some businesses carried out insufficient research regarding what the Internet had to offer them. Others seriously underestimated the hazards of going online, to their own great cost.

In the business environment, any decision-taking has to be done with regard to the technology available. If organisations do not accumulate ‘know-how’ and if they fail to monitor, trial and introduce new technologies as they develop products and processes for their consumers, they may find that their alert, progressive competitors have given themselves a competitive advantage.

The Internet began life as a network for researchers and military personnel in the USA, and has been around for more than 30 years. However, in the last 10 years it has become increasingly prominent. Today, the Internet is an inexpensive, sophisticated way of communicating instantaneously with people around the world, and it is transforming global communications.

This case study looks at how Amway has developed a strategy for taking full advantage of the opportunities that the Internet offers for e-commerce within the UK and the rest of Europe.