e-Merchant: Retail Strategies for e-Commerce

e-Merchant: Retail Strategies for e-Commerce

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Overview

e-Merchant: Retail Strategies for e-Commerce by Joanne Neidorf, Robin Neidorf

e-Merchant: Retail Strategies for e-Commerce provides a step-by-step tour through the world of e-retail merchandising and management, beginning with the fundamentals: defining and differentiating your business, as well as filling a niche. From there, you will explore the vital, yet often misunderstood, topics of assortment planning, merchandising, inventory management, pricing and promotion, profitability, vendor relations, and organizational structure. Throughout, these business essentials are placed in the context of the Web medium, noting the ways that the Web can lower entry barriers, enhance product presentation, better target customers, create customer relationships through site content, increase flexibility of pricing and product offerings, improve vendor relations, and more.

Two e-retail examples run throughout the book to illustrate how these principles are put to work. In addition, case studies based on interviews with real-world e-retailers reveal how these principles have been adapted by businesses of all sizes, with a range of markets and products.

Whether you are a Web-based business needing to understand sound retailing concepts or you are working with Web-based retailers and want to understand their businesses from the inside out, e-Merchant integrates traditional retail and e-retail, showing how to survive and thrive.



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780201721690
Publisher: Addison Wesley Professional
Publication date: 04/13/2001
Series: Information Technology Series
Edition description: BK&CD-ROM
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 7.42(w) x 9.24(h) x 0.81(d)

Read an Excerpt

PREFACE:

What This Book Is

The Web is an interactive, collaborative environment. Fittingly, this book is both interactive and collaborative as well. We two authors entered our partnership, each with our specialties and insights, and together have created something neither of us could have described when we started.

As collaborations go, ours faced some unique challenges. We are sisters—a factor that could simplify and/or complicate our work together. Throughout the research and writing process, Joanne lived in Sweden while Robin lived in Minneapolis. We communicated, trading outlines, chapters, notes, ideas, and more, primarily via e-mail.

From the perspective of the culmination of the project, we find that our work on this book has been a fairly precise microcosm of how electronic communication, trust, and focus can enable effective collaborations. The promise of the Internet age can be fulfilled, as long as we are willing and able to adapt our methods, not only for working and research but also for shopping.

What This Book Isn't

With so many e-related books available, it seems important to add a few words about where this book fits into the landscape of resources: This is not "the only book you will need" to plan and run an e-retail site. Our focus is strictly on merchant functions and merchandising, touching on topics like business plans, site design, customer service, and order fulfillment only as they intersect with the merchant's responsibilities.

Why this restriction? In our review of the existing resources, we found that the merchant element of e-retail has been given scant (if any) attention. Joanne's hands-on experience as abuyer made the work of the merchant familiar territory, even in an unfamiliar medium. At the same time, Robin's work as a Web researcher and content analyst and writer gave her insight into the way people effectively use the online environment to advance their business goals.

To cover other subjects ranging from general business planning, marketing and promotion, to warehouse management would have taxed our partnership. More to the point, we saw no reason to reinvent the Web, so to speak. Others have covered and will cover those topics better than we ever could.

Who Should Read This Book

Anyone who works in any capacity with an e-retail site but does not understand the fundamentals of retail will benefit from this book. Entrepreneurs, business owners seeking to diversify their online revenue streams, consultants, and Web designers and programmers will also find an easy-to-understand introduction to the principals of retail.

In researching this book, particularly the case studies in Chapter 10, we heard the frequent lament that e-retail organizations must overcome a gaping cultural disconnect before they can be effective. Merchants must understand the strategy, construction, and maintenance of a Web store, just as they understand brick-and-mortar stores. Programmers and designers must understand the goals of the Web merchant to create and implement sites that further those goals. Our intent is that e-Merchant: Retail Strategies for e-Commerce helps organizations of all sizes and types overcome the language barriers that have tripped them in the past.

Table of Contents

Preface.
What This Book Is.
What This Book Isn't.
Who Should Read This Book.
Acknowledgments.
About the Authors.
1. Introduction.
Who's in the Game?
e-Retail + Traditional Retail Operations (“Clicks-and-Mortar” ).
e-Retail + Catalog Operations.
e-Retail + Web Site Content.
From Consumer to e-Retailer.

2. Retail Strategy.
Defining Your Retail Strategy.
WHAT Are You Going to Sell?
Starting with Rivets: A Brief History of The Gap.
WHO Are You Going to Sell To?
But I'm a Department Store...Do I Really Need to Do All This Work?
Helpful Tips for Online Research.
Why Will a Customer Buy From You?
Location, Location, Location.
How Do You Sell?
Looking Ahead to Profitability.
Achieving Harmony between Your Retail Strategy Elements.
Hypothetical Cases.
Retail Strategy for ShoeWeb.
Retail Strategy for WebKidCare.
Retail Strategy Checklist.

3. Assortment Planning.
So, What Are You Selling?
Going Hybrid: Assortment Planning without Owning Assortment.
Defining Products.
What Is a SKU?
Basically, It's Fashion.
Prioritizing Assortment Needs.
Sourcing Products.
A Web of Sources.
Tracking Assortment.
Assortment Financial Planning.
Constructing a Buy Plan.
Beginning-of-Month (or Season) in Stock.
Sales.
Markdowns.
Receipts.
End-of-Month (or Season)Stock.
Turnover (Turn).
A Quick Note About Turn.
Open to Buy.
Hypothetical Cases.
Assortment Planning for ShoeWeb.
Assortment Planning for WebKidCare.
Assortment Planning Checklist

4. Merchandising.
Importance of Merchandising Decisions.
Shopper's Assistance: High Tech, High Touch.
Your Partners in Merchandising.
The Elements of Merchandising.
Colors.
Layout.
Text.
Do Not Click Here.
Animated Graphics.
Audio.
Site Navigation.
Sorting Mechanisms.
Search Engines.
Product Presentation.
How Many Clicks in Your Mix?
Customized Merchandising.
Quizzes and Product Selectors.
Auto Customization.
Elective Customization.
The Rules of Engagement.
Using Offline Merchandising Online.
When You Do Not Own Your Stock.
Organizing and Planning Your Efforts.
Hypothetical Cases.
Merchandising Plan for ShoeWeb.
Merchandising Plan for WebKidCare.
Merchandising Checklist.

5. Inventory.
Why Worry About Inventory.
Inventory Models.
Traditional Retail Model.
Retail Portal Model.
Hybrid Retail Inventory Model.
Tools to Use for Inventory Management.
Data Management.
How to Use Sell-Through Data.
Reporting.
Report Frequency.
Compatibility.
Intelligent Decisions with Inventory Reporting.
Bestselling Items.
Brand/Class Trends.
Department Trends.
Opportunities and/or Missed Products in the Assortment.
Appropriate Stock Levels.
Hybrid Inventory Reporting.
Profitability Preview.
Hypothetical Cases.
Inventory Management for ShoeWeb.
Inventory Management for WebKidCare.
Inventory Checklist.

6. Pricing and Promotional Strategy.
The Elements of a Pricing Strategy.
Cost of Goods.
Loss-Leader Merchandising.
Freight-Free? Not Likely.
Initial Markup (Margin).
Promotional Strategy.
Law and Order in Cyberspace.
The Suggested Retail Price.
Everywhere and Nowhere: Limitations on Promotional Strategies.
Competitor Prices.
Returning to Retail Strategy.
Hypothetical Cases.
Pricing and Promotional Strategies for ShoeWeb.
Pricing and Promotional Strategies for WebKidCare.
Pricing and Promotional Checklist.

7. Profitabilit.
So You Want to Make a Profit.
Turnover.
Retail Dollars Reminder.
What Turnover Means.
Achieving a Turn Goal.
Profit in a Post-Inventory Age.
Maintained Margin.
Non-Mathletes May Rejoin Us Here.
Margins without Inventory.
Hypothetical Cases.
Profitability Analysis for ShoeWeb.
Profitability Analysis for WebKidCare.
Profitability Checklist.

8. Vendor Relations.
Relationships That Help You Thrive.
Elements Involved in Vendor Negotiations.
Items to Purchase.
Quantity.
Delivery Date.
Cost.
Freight.
Payment Terms.
Marketing Allowance.
Marketing Materials and Support.
Exclusives.
Markdown Allowance.
Maintained Margin.
Returns and/or Damages
Guarantees
Assessing Your Negotiating Position.
What You Want.
What Can You Offer.
What Your Supplier Wants.
What Your Supplier Can Offer.
Preparing for Negotiations
Meeting with New and Prospective Vendors.
Meeting with Current Vendors.
Handling Negotiations.
Negotiating Techniques.
Hypothetical Cases.
Vendor Relations for ShoeWeb.
ShoeWeb Presentation Outline.
Vendor Relations for WebKidCare.
WebKidCare Presentation Outline.
Vendor Relations Checklist.

9. Running a Retail Organization.
Setting Up for Success.
Merchant Organization.
Broad or Narrow Focus?
Merchant Responsibilities.
Incentive Programs.
A Day in the Life of an e-Retail Organization.
Performance/Sales Review.
Product-Related Tasks.
Ordering/Shipping Tasks.
Planning
Hypothetical Cases.
Retail Organization for ShoeWeb.
Retail Organization for WebKidCare.
Organization Checklist.

10. The Virtual Real World: e-Retail Case Studies.
RedEnvelope.
Strategy.
Assortment Planning.
Merchandising.
Inventory Management.
Pricing and Promotion.
Vendor Relations.
Structure.
The Wisdom of Experience.
garden.com.
Strategy.
Assortment Planning.
Merchandising.
Inventory Management.
Pricing and Promotion.
Vendor Relations.
Structure.
The Wisdom of Experience.
FashionDish.
Strategy.
Assortment Planning.
Merchandising
Inventory Management.
Pricing and Promotion.
Vendor Relations.
Structure.
The Wisdom of Experience.
Craft.com.
Strategy
Assortment Planning.
Merchandising.
Inventory Management.
Pricing and Promotion.
Vendor Relations.
Structure
The Wisdom of Experience.
Gazoontite.
Strategy.
Assortment Planning.
Merchandising
Inventory Management.
Pricing and Promotion.
Vendor Relations.
Structure
The Wisdom of Experience.
BabyCenter.
Strategy.
Assortment Planning.
Merchandising.
Inventory Management.
Pricing and Promotion.
Vendor Relations.
Structure
The Wisdom of Experience.

Appendix: Concepts and Resources.
e-Business Overview.
Customer Relations.
The Customer Rules.
Remember Who Your Customer Is.
Editorial Policies.
Who Writes Your Content? Who Owns It?
How Connected Are Your Content and Merchandising?
Legal Issues.
Where Do You Do Business?
When Do You Own What You Own?
Policies and Payments.
Logistics.
Marketing.
Consistent, Targeted Messages.
Benefits, Benefits, Benefits.
Technical Partners.
Do It Yourself or Not?
Finding and Hiring the Right Technical Partners.
Care and Feeding of a Web Site.
Glossary of Common Retail Terms.

Bibliography.
Index.

Preface

What This Book Is

The Web is an interactive, collaborative environment. Fittingly, this book is both interactive and collaborative as well. We two authors entered our partnership, each with our specialties and insights, and together have created something neither of us could have described when we started.

As collaborations go, ours faced some unique challenges. We are sisters—a factor that could simplify and/or complicate our work together. Throughout the research and writing process, Joanne lived in Sweden while Robin lived in Minneapolis. We communicated, trading outlines, chapters, notes, ideas, and more, primarily via e-mail.

From the perspective of the culmination of the project, we find that our work on this book has been a fairly precise microcosm of how electronic communication, trust, and focus can enable effective collaborations. The promise of the Internet age can be fulfilled, as long as we are willing and able to adapt our methods, not only for working and research but also for shopping.

What This Book Isn't

With so many e-related books available, it seems important to add a few words about where this book fits into the landscape of resources: This is not "the only book you will need" to plan and run an e-retail site. Our focus is strictly on merchant functions and merchandising, touching on topics like business plans, site design, customer service, and order fulfillment only as they intersect with the merchant's responsibilities.

Why this restriction? In our review of the existing resources, we found that the merchant element of e-retail has been given scant (if any) attention. Joanne's hands-on experience as a buyermade the work of the merchant familiar territory, even in an unfamiliar medium. At the same time, Robin's work as a Web researcher and content analyst and writer gave her insight into the way people effectively use the online environment to advance their business goals.

To cover other subjects ranging from general business planning, marketing and promotion, to warehouse management would have taxed our partnership. More to the point, we saw no reason to reinvent the Web, so to speak. Others have covered and will cover those topics better than we ever could.

Who Should Read This Book

Anyone who works in any capacity with an e-retail site but does not understand the fundamentals of retail will benefit from this book. Entrepreneurs, business owners seeking to diversify their online revenue streams, consultants, and Web designers and programmers will also find an easy-to-understand introduction to the principals of retail.

In researching this book, particularly the case studies in Chapter 10, we heard the frequent lament that e-retail organizations must overcome a gaping cultural disconnect before they can be effective. Merchants must understand the strategy, construction, and maintenance of a Web store, just as they understand brick-and-mortar stores. Programmers and designers must understand the goals of the Web merchant to create and implement sites that further those goals. Our intent is that e-Merchant: Retail Strategies for e-Commerce helps organizations of all sizes and types overcome the language barriers that have tripped them in the past.

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