Stacy has always been among the brightest of the lot. Right from being favorite prefect at the school, a dynamic cultural secretary at college to being a top performer at a fortune 500 company – she had always demonstrated true leadership skills throughout. Just recently, she decided to venture out on her own and set up her own small business. Looking at the way people are buying things online, this portal is supposed to be a web commerce portal dealing in flowers, gifts and cakes with a physical store in a downtown. This was the space Stacy always wanted to be in ever since she was a child.

Details of business and functional areas

As far as Stacy could visualize from her friend circle as well as after going through web and social media, she could list down the following challenges which could come in front of her in the order of importance

Stacy was fortunate enough to find 3 like-minded batch mates willing putting in enough money to take care of operations and marketing over the next 3 years. Considering the worst case scenario where there was zero sales, the company could meet all expenses without compromising on ad and marketing spent.

Selling quality products meant having the right vendor, especially in the segment where goods were perishable was a key to running a profitable business. Timely delivery of goods, agreement on damages en-route, pricing and quality control during receipt of goods was a key. Stacy believed in timely payment to her vendors to build solid relationship.

This was the thing which bothered Stacy due to lack of previous experience. She of course needed a web store where she could drive traffic to. Unlike many others, Stacy wanted to repeat sales. Having loyal customers was of utmost importance due to cyclic nature of her business (birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine Day etc.). Thus a requirement of a customer relationship management was inherent to her needs. Having accounting software was also important to maintain finances in an appropriate manner. Stacy was not sure whether she actually required an ERP solution and how much it would cost.

Driving customers was the next important thing. Having a store in downtown was itself a marketing strategy. Apart from this, Stacy had friends helping her to put up a stall in all the major offices in the neighborhood to spread awareness. Paid ads on Facebook and Google were part of the strategy. Stacy also wanted to experiment with a billboard on the main road right at the main cross road. This was even more why she wanted to have a customer tracking mechanism to store all customers and the source they came from to come to profitability of various marketing campaigns.

Having right people was a key to success. However, Stacy wanted to have a lean team to start with herself and an assistant in the store. She would outsource development of web store to start with and manage content herself till the time she could add another dedicated person to do that. Marketing was also outsourced; however she planned another full time employee at the end of 2nd month for creative banners and promotions.

Business challenge in short

Thus, in a nutshell, it can be said that Stacy wants a long term profit with strong business relationship on customers and vendor side alike. Few key things which add to the complexity of her model was

  • Cyclic business with occasion like Events, Birthdays and Anniversaries playing an important role
  • Perishable nature of products on her catalog
  • Her target market are increasingly using mobiles and tablets to order stuff
  • They are very active on social media as well

Stacy seeks your guidance

Tracy is banking on you and seeking your guidance on the IT investment that she needs to make. She wants you to help with the following poll. You can do so by prioritizing the investment she needs to make in decreasing order of budget. This will help her organize funds and spend it in right manner. Many thanks on behalf of Stacy for participating in the poll.

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Feedback or comments?

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