Components




E-Commerce

Commerce is, quite simply the exchange of goods and services, usually for money.

To participate in commerce, you must have a product or service to offer.
You must also have a place from which to sell your products. It can be fixed or ephemeral.
If your business is fixed (bricks and mortar), you need to figure out a way to get people to come to your place. This process is known as marketing. If no one knows that your business exists, you will never sell anything. Locating your place in a busy shopping centre is one way to get traffic. Sending out mailed and letter-box dropped, catalogues and advertisement material is another. Include word of mouth and even the guy in a chicken suit who stands by the road waving signs at passing cars.

You need a way to deliver the product or service and accept money (also known as fulfillment).
You need a way to accept returned goods.
You need a way to handle warranty claims.
You need a way to provide customerservice.

All of these elements should form an integral part in any traditional business today.

E-Commerce (or Electronic Commerce) by definition is the buying or selling of goods and services over the Internet. One of the most popular activities on the Web is shopping, in fact over 85% of all Internet surfers use the Web to find a product or service they need. That's just about all of us!

The majority of E-Commerce Websites on the Internet are retail stores selling products directly to the public. E-Commerce not only refers to the selling of physical products, it can also refer to selling services where payments for these services are made online. Consumers choose a product or service on a website pay electronically.

It can be quick, easy and convenient to complete transactions from the comfort of their home.


So why go E-Commerce? Lets look at a scenario where a business generates 50% of it's revenue from phone-sales and decides to go E-Commerce.

What if the business finds that by going E-Commerce it loses 25% of its phone sales to achieve 25% sales over the Web. In this outcome it is not clear that E-Commerce has any advantage. You are not generating any more revenue and your overhead expenses would have increased.

What if the sales generated by E-Commerce lowers the cost of doing business (less staff needed to answer phones).

What if people purchasing over the Internet tend to purchase more (value added extras).

What if the presentation of merchandise on the web is more inviting and therefore encourages larger transactions.

What if in the process of selling merchandise over the Web, you loose no sales through traditional phone-sales channel because the demographic reached by the Web differs to which you normally sell?

Then moving to the Internet is going to be productive!!!

There exists an increasing percentage of the population that prefers to buy things over the Web. If building a Website presence attracts this type of customer, then the more successful your business is going to become (Marketing sees this customer as a "zebra" - those customers who herd together and can be hunted using a known strategy).


The more we understand about our clients and their needs, the better positioned we are to help them buy from us, also known as Customerservice. Customer Service has traditionally been two words but we believe it has now morphed into a compound one - Customerservice.

There is also a widely held belief that once a customer starts working with a vendor, it is much easier to keep that customer than it is to bring in new customers. So if you can build brand loyalty for a Website early, it gives you an advantage over other vendors who try to enter the market later.

So if you believe that E-Commerce is NOT for you, then at least be aware of the lures it provides in the hunt for your zebra.

1. Lower transaction costs - if an E-Commerce site is implemented well, it can significantly lower both order-taking costs up front and customerservice costs after the sale by automating the process.

2. Larger purchases per transaction - Amazon offers a feature that no normal store offers. When you read the synopsis of a book, you can also see "what other people who ordered this book also purchased or the MacDonald's chestnut "Do you want fries with that?"

3. Integration into the business cycle - A Web site that is integrated into the business cycle can better service their customers - e.g. Order tracking from placement to delivery.

4. People shop in different ways. E-Commerce offers the luxury of shopping in your pyjamas. Other new features include, the ability to build an order over several days, custom configure products and see actual end price, compare prices between multiple vendors.

5. Larger catalogs - A company can build a catalog on the web that would ever fit into an ordinary mailbox. For example, Amazon sells millions of books. Imagine the size of Amazon's product database as a paper catalog! Then try to imagine the costs and logistics of maintaining it, printing it and having it delivered to zebras.

6. Improved customer interactions - With automated tools it is possible to interact with a customer in richer ways at virtually no cost. A happy customer is a well informed customer and if their overall experience is posititive, then they are more likely to purchase from us again.

It is these sorts of advantages that create the buzz that surrounds E-Commerce right now!





Networks

Networking is about feedback, getting back information by interacting with other people and engaging them for mutual benefit.

Doing it can help you establish a new business or grow an existing one. You can also use networking as a tool for finding investors, customers, staff, suppliers and business partners.
You can network face-to-face at social events, conferences and through industry associations.
You can also network online, through sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook.
The more ways you can network, the more your business will benefit.

Whatever the type of network, Social, Real, Virtual, Biological, Computer, Business they will always fit into one of the six standard topologies.



You most likely use at least one Social network every day. Most people are starting to rely on media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg and StumbleUpon to engage people with like interests, in a simple, easy way.

In addition, they are often free to use, which makes them an ideal tool for small and medium businesses and so many benefits can derive from their use.

Inexpensive Marketing:
One of the best reasons for using social networks as a small business owner is the increased attention and marketing it provides to the business with little cost. There are very few overheads, outside of the cost of maintaining the website.

Banner and Text Advertising:
Some businesses are using social networks for low cost banner ads because social networks are highly effective websites that attract millions of visitors daily, providing the business with excellent exposure. In short, they can be used for virtually any type of communication need.

Customer Relation Management:
Social networking websites and related tools allow you to speak with, ask questions of, answer questions from and overall interact with your customers as never before.
Now, a small business can personally connect with any of their customers, online.

Global Exposure:
A television ad or similar marketing method on an international scale would costs millions of dollars.
The the same can be accomplished online for next to nothing. These tools allow businesses to interact with people worldwide, they are highly effective in obtaining global feedback.

Online Meeting Places:
Social networks work well as online meeting places for industry experts to meet and discuss various aspects of their business. It also allows interaction with other professional whose opinions may help to grow your business. Networks can improve image of the business. They can help a business to get feedback on new and existing products and services.
Imagine your customers in an open online forum discussing what they like and don't like about your products and services.
Imagine your customers contributing to your business blog, sharing knowledge, gather information and to meet other customers in the virtual town square - pure gold if it is done right.

Social networks allow for idea sharing and creating dialogue. If your customers don't know why they give you their hard earned - then who does?

What is important from all this potential data feedback is to know what to use and what not to use.






Mobile Deployment

In the past, mobility traces were only available to mobile phone carriers, the advent of smartphones and other means of data collection has made these broadly available. Apple® recently updated its privacy policy to allow sharing the spatio-temporal location of their users with “partners and licensees”. In the US alone 65 billion geo-tagged payments were made last year, while Skyhook wireless is resolving 400 million user WiFi locations every day. One third of the 25 billion apps available on Apple's App Store access user geographic location and the geo-location of ~50% of all iOS and Android traffic is available to advertising networks.



Online retail is becoming embedded in consumer behaviour and will force changes to traditional retail operating mode. Those retailers that do not move to the new model will not survive. Mobile devices are signifiantly changing the way in which consumers interact with retailers.

Once separated from the rest of the world geographyically, Australian consumers can and do purchase from international retailers that offer lower prices, a wider variety of goods and free shipping. Local businesses face challenges from international manufacturers, retailers and brand companies that they have not traditionally considered as competitors.

No longer is the store front the physical door from which customers enter and exit. Whether it is through an E-Commerce site, a mobile app or an interactive Kiosk, more and more is being sold to mobile deployed, Internet based applications. Even if local business clearly recognises the importance and value offered by E-Commerce and mobile deployed digital channels, few are leveraging it to their advantage.

With so many users browsing sites on-the-go, companies need to deliver content effectively across varying screen sizes and platforms. These are known as responsive websites and seamlessly operate across multiple mobile devices (this website is one).

By utilizing responsive technology, we can provide an optimised user experience across desktop, tablets and mobiles from a single source.
By developing comprehensive mobile E-Commerce applications for your business you can sell your products everywhere.
By implementaing a Web based Customerservice strategy, you can provide 360x360 support to your customers.

If there is commercial potential for mobile technology in your business, we have the knowledge and expertise to help your business unplug and go wireless, no strings attached, so to speak






Promotion

Business is good but could be better. Don't have the time or the budget for finding new customers. Feeling a little stressed? Relax! this is going to be easier than you think.

You have a customer list, don't you? You already have a relationship with these customers, don't you? You have serviced them right, haven't you? You didn't profiteer, did you? Gave them everything they wanted plus more. Then why would they not buy from you again. There is no faster or better way to make more money than to "farm" the clients you already have. Finding new customers can be up to ten times more expensive than selling to an existing customer.
Considering your costs for everything from the Marketing, Sales, Advertising, follow-up, the time to set up a new account - bank details, credit checks, Customer Data Input, etc. etc. etc.
Sometimes you wonder why your in business at all. Relax! this is going to be easier than you think.

VALUE + CUSTOMERSERVICE + TRUST = REPEAT CUSTOMERS = REPEAT SALES = $$$

Turn customers into "Repeat Customers" and turn "Repeat Customers" into "Advocates".
Advocates will network your Business to other customers.

A satisfied customer buys more and buys more often. A satisfied customer sings your praises and refers business your way. Your customer list is stocked with satisfied customers, don't hesitate to "ASK" for their business. In this customer list, are there any good customers who haven't bought from you lately. Have you asked why not? You're sitting on a truly fertile field which is ready to be plowed and planted.

You are so busy working "in-your-business" that you don't have time to work "on-your-business". It's quite possible that your field already has some growth that you haven't even noticed. Customers that are your's for the farming. Fertile customers scattered around on the ground, uncultivated, waiting to be nurtured, but there is no purpose in having fertile customers if your fields lay fallow.

Ignoring your existing customers is possibly the biggest mistake you could make because additional sales to them are the easiest and most profitable sales you can make. Rather than continually striving to get more customers, work the ones you already have. Rumor has it that 20% of your customers are responsible for 80% of your profits.

Everyone wants a deal. Offer that deal to those who already trust you!


Give up finding excuses, give up putting it off until it's never done and give up on negativity.
"I don't have the time or money to start a new sales campaign".
"It takes too much effort to write a sales letter, get it printed and get it mailed out to all of those customers".
That's just plain crazy. This is the 21st century, the age of technology, the age of Internet sales, it is so easy to whip up an e-mail campaign and send it out to your entire contact list. It takes so little time, so little money and even less effort - Don't know how, we can help.

Take a leaf from the Italian Mafia and make them an offer they can't refuse. If that doesn't work you can always try the Irish Mafia method - make them an offer they can't understand, in any case make them an offer. Everyone likes a bargin. It may be an invitation to try something new or a deal on multiple purchases. Maybe you have a free gift with purchase or a special discount for a special customer. You'll be amazed at how quickly and eagerly they respond.

Work out ways to get them to want to spend more money, each time they buy. If you got your customers to increase the size of their orders by ~10%, your profits would increase by ~10% because your bottom line isn't changed. More of those dollars coming in will go directly to your profit line.

Get your customers to buy from you more often. As that increase in profit grows, give them some back like a "frequent buyer plan". That will make them feel appreciated and will tighten the bonds of your relationship. Allow them the the opportunity to realize that yours is a symbiotic relationship.

It's time to create a process for customer farming. Don't know how, we can help.
Start farming your existing customers and watch the profits grow. THE MONEY IS IN THE SYSTEM we can help you get it out by managing your crop, so you can have a full and ripe harvest.








Marketing

Marketing is communicating the value of a product, service or brand to customers, for the purpose of promoting or selling that product, service, or brand.

Today's customers require access to a company's product and services offerings through many forms of media in order to meet their preferences and lifestyles. They also require a consistent customer experience across the business, since they can easily choose to change vendors if they do not receive support they expect.

Businesses need to recognize the financial benefits of customer satisfaction and its relationship to loyalty and bottom-line profitability.

Businesses need to continually modify and evolve the marketing function that links the consumer, customer and the general public to them.

To achieve this they must continuously gather information to use in identifying and defining marketing opportunities. This data is an invaluable asset if you are to successfully monitor performance and improve your understanding of your market.

This process is also known as market research. Market research specifies the information required to address issues which may arise in your business. It designs, implements and controls the method for collecting information. Then analyzes the results and communicates the findings and their implications to the business.

From this market research, marketing strategies can be devloped and implemented to help sell your product and services.


There are three types of marketing strategy: market segmentation, marketing mix differentiation and no strategy. The first two of these should be pursued to maximize your chances of success.

Market Segmentation is the process of isolating smaller and similar market segments within a larger market for the purpose of selecting one or more target markets and developing a unique mix to satisfy the needs of each. This segmentation should address to both demographic (age, income, location) and psychograhic (needs, wants, life-style, image) behaviour patterns.

Time segmentation is less common but can be highly effective. Some stores stay open later than others or stay open on weekends. Some products are only sold at certain times of the year (e.g., Christmas, Easter, Mothers Day, Farthers Day). The time dimension can be an interesting basis for segmentation.

You can even introduce your own product and service specific segmentation by hobbies, political affiliation, religion, special interest groups, sports team loyalty and hundreds of other variables. You are limited only by your marketing imagination.

Marketing segmentation and targeting is particular important for finding customers that are the best match for your business. It is not feasible to go after all customers because customers have different wants, needs and tastes.

Some customers want to be style leaders. They will always buy certain styles and usually pay a high price for them. Other customers are bargain shoppers. They try to find the lowest price. A business will find it impossible targeting both of these market segments simultaneously with one type of product.

The ultimate goal of segmentation is the identification, development and exploitation of profitable "niches" in the market, where you can become the preferred brand or supplier to target customers.


Marketing Mix Differentiation is the process of making your marketing mix uniquely different from other products and services, competing for the same target market. This differentiation may be in any of "The 5P's of Marketing" (product, place, price, promotion, people).

1. Product differentiation, offer greater performance benefits or better aesthetics than your competition. You should position your product/service as a highly-featured as satisfies the needs or wants of the particular market segment. If you are competing with other similarly featured products, make relevant improvements/differences (i.e., product size, performance, delivery).

2. Place Differentiation, make the product or service more readily available through multiple locations, longer hours of operation, or over the Internet. For some market segments, exclusive distribution is preferred because the target customer wants uniqueness in the products or services they buy.

3. Price Differentiation, position your price at a level that your target segment is willing to pay for your product or service, so that it offers them a good value. Depending on your competitive environment and market situation, you may want to follow a low or premium pricing policy for that market segment. You may value add to your offering by introducing innovative new ways to pay for the products and services, such as subsidized interest rates or time lapsed payments.

4. Promotion Differentiation, utilize unique and breakthrough advertising methods both "Real:physical" and "Virtual:online" to project, the desired image for your company and the desirablility of your business' products and/or services.
You will need to produce unique promotion methods to stand out in the mind of target customers.
It may be using a totally different advertising medium than your competitors
It may be sponsoring more localized community based, sporting, educational and interest groups that will better reach a specific market segment.

It can be anything that will differentiate me from the me2's.

5. People Differentiation, put better qualified people in contact with the customer than your competitors. We cannot stress the importance of this. We have advised, some of our larger corporate Australia businesses, that it is counter productive spending millions on Advertizing and Brand Maintenance and then out source the most important people in your staff...Help Desk Personnel.

They are at the meet and greet end of your business.

Do not entrust this vital fuction of your business to personnel,
   1. Who do not understand the culture and socio-economics of customers they deal with.
   2. Cannot comunicate and convey adequately with customers they deal with.
   3. Do not have intimate knowlege of your products and services.

Help Desk is one of the first cost centres a business outsources
when it first starts not to care about its customers.


If your competitors do a features benefit sell, maybe you can differentiate your brand offering better customerservice. Generally, enhancing your customers' experience will generate repeat business.

Remember you "get the business on quality and price, you keep the business on service."

You should always position your product/service to a level that satisfies the needs or wants of a particular market segment. Differentiating your marketing mix is critical to the short and long-term success of your business and brand. If you cannot differentiate your Brand from the "me-too" product/service vendors, you are doomed to compete on price, at a commodity level!

At Extra, our goal is to become an extension of the brands with whom we work. Getting there requires deep brand immersion, competitive analysis and a crystal clear definition of business requirements and opportunities. We will provide your business with a competitive advantage.






Web Development

So you want to do business online! Do you honestly believe you’ve got what it takes to do both?
Is this particular detour right for your business? Launching a business online is difficult and whether it is new business or you want to make changes to an existing one, the process of selling online can be tricky.

Unless you are a Marketing Guru, a Web Development Guru, an E-Commerce Guru, your business will need help to move from traditional retail to online.
Repeat after me: “I don’t have to know everything.”

Before launching into online retailing small businesses need to:
understand the environment in which online retailers operate,
have the ability to analyze the economic viability of an online retail presence,
identify the challenges faced by different types of online retailers,
describe the major features of their online service,
identify the trends taking place in their online market sector.

In many cases consumer beliefs about Internet shopping, both positive and negative, are consistent across differing groups. In the minds of consumers, internet shopping has advantages compared with conventional shopping in terms of convenience, product range and price.

The perceived disadvantages, for instance, receiving inferior quality goods and the loss of the recreational aspect of shopping, act as mental barriers that need to be addressed with brand trust, product warranty and better online shopping experiences.

Customers expect a single consistent shopping experience. Consumer perception of your business is formed by the first encounter with the online shopping customer experience you offer. As your website is the vehicle which provides this, it is vital to make sure it is a good one. One can easily see the importance of a well designed layout and an efficient, customer friendly, functional interface.

The online customer expects to be able to shop how, when and where they want to, not how you want them to. Having access to the Big Data created by your customers feedback, can generate significant understanding of your customer online behaviour, subsequently translating into commercial advantage.

We can help you to analyze why people buy from you and tailor your online E-Commerce site accordinally.
We have a lot of experience reducing admininstration tasks for online retail. We can link your Website to the PayPal Gateway our preferred platform payments solution.

We try to make sure everything we design will scale down well to smaller screens like your tablets and phones. With your input we will customize content to meet your specific needs, creating robust, compliant and accessible content. We will brand the look and feel of a website whilst maintaining site infrastructure and data.





Strategic Planning

Never leave home without it! - Strategic Planning is a systematic process of envisioning a desired future, translating this vision into broadly defined objectives and defining a sequence of steps to achieve these objectives. In contrast to a long-term planning which starts at status-quo and lays down a path to meet required future needs, strategic planning begins with the desired-end and works backward to the current status.

At every stage of a long-range-plan the planner asks, "What must be done here to reach the next (higher) stage?" At every stage of a strategic-plan the planner asks, "What must be done at the previous (lower) stage to reach here?" In contrast to tactical planning, which focuses on achieving narrowly defined objectives within predetermined methods, strategic planning looks at the wider picture and is flexible in choices of methods. Strategic planning is a business process which defines direction and resource allocation to pursue a desired outcome. It may also extend to mechanisms for guiding the implementation.






Applications

Investing in a website or device dependant application has many benefits to a business.
An automated web-based solution is easier, faster, and more cost-effective than requiring employees to do time-consuming, repetitive tasks.

Through the use of Cutomer Relationship Management software they can also improve task tracking and completion and streamline business processes by improving company-client communications and interactions.

Turn your website into more than just an online brochure and provide another level of service to your customers. Whether you need to gather information from your clients or provide them with online services, such as booking forms, online ordering or interactive calendars, customized web application deployment, is the solution you need.

A Desktop app resides entirely on a single server at the Business' location.
A Web app is stored entirely on a remote server and is delivered on the Web through a browser.
A Cloud app is virtually stored on a remote server with some functions of a desktop app and some functions of a Web app. Ultimately most applications will become "Cloud Based" and provide 360-anywhere x 360-anytime access to data.

With cloud services, small businesses reap the benefits of not having to deploy and maintain costly infrastructure like file and e-mail servers. The 360x360 availability of these solutions can provide small businesses, with hassle-free access to sophisticated technology without the need of IT staff on the payroll.

In fact, apart from a locally installed operating system and browser (or mobile device) most of today's small business technology needs can be fulfilled entirely by cloud-based offerings, using Software as a Service (SaaS) applications. SaaS providers deliver a number of software and technical services that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive and difficult to manage for small businesses.


Some examples SaaS cloud-computing services for small businesses.

1. Office 365

($20 per-user/per-month) Office 365 marks the beginning of the end of traditional, on-premise Windows server administrators.

2. Salesforce CRM

($65 per-user/per-month) Geared toward SOHO as well as larger companies. It offers full reporting and analytics, custom dashboards, e-mail marketing, sales forecasts, real-time data sharing, and customerservice tools.

3. FreshBooks

($40 per month (for unlimited clients and invoices) client and product/service records, invoice creation and dispatching, document-sharing and reports and integration with smartphone support on the Web.

4. QuickBooks Online Plus

($40 per month) QuickBooks would be an excellent choice for a small business that needs mobile access to sales, payroll and time billing.

5 Asana

(Free) For the speed, complexity and scope of modern work, email is no longer up to the task. Figuring out what needs to get done and finding the right information with emails is inefficient. Asana has re-imagined team communication from the ground up. Conversations and tasks are in one place, so when less of your time is spent in emails, you’ll have more time to get work done.






State of De-Arte

It isn’t hard to think of a dozen films where at some point in the story a tracking device is placed on a person or car, so that someone can keep tabs on them.
Well, that might be fiction but the truth is that millions of people carry around a tracking device every day – its called a smartphone. By cross referencing location data with other freely available data sources, it is possible to track 95% of mobile phone users using what is meant to be anonymous location data!

The method: Assume I am @ location "A" and receive a phone call. The anonymous GPS data shows approximately where the call was received and a dot is placed on a map. If I then move to location "B" and receive another call, that call appears as a new dot on the map @ location "B" and so on through to "Y" and "Z". By tracking the dots it is possible to work out that the phone used to receive the call at location "A" is the same phone now in location "Z". If location "Z" is a known address, like my house or my office it is quite easy to use other data, to start linking the phone's position with an individual.

The rewards of mobile adoption are proving too attractive to pass up. Employees who first brought their personal mobile devices to the workplace may have pioneered and then accelerated the enterprise mobility trend. Smart businesses are making decisions now on how to take action with mobile technology in the future. That means moving beyond the idea that mobile solutions are meant only to improve employee productivity and focus on new ways of using mobile devices to empower customers.


In the early days, it was common to find organizational focus on mobile app strategies around executives and managers. Those days are gone. While these job roles still have a high concentration of usage, mobile apps are now deployed to employees across all lines of business, including finance, procurement, manufacturing, sales, and many others.

Organizations that have yet to begin deploying enterprise mobile applications are well behind the curve. More than 90% of large organizations have already implemented enterprise mobile applications or have a plan to do so in the near future.

In the not so distant future you will be able to make informed decisions using mobile analytics to generate meaning out of the chaos of big data. You wil be able to leverage industry-specific, role-based, mobile analytic data to discover hidden insights and model the future behaviour of your customers. You will be able to run "what if", risk and profitability analysis based on this data, to create, monitor and update processes across all your lines of business.


In the 30 years since the first mobile phone went on sale we’ve seen it morph from a bank-breaking, back-breaking brick into a slim super computer that can do anything from entertain us, to telling us what we should do next.

So where to from here!

1-2 Years
Weatherproof handsets are proving a surprising hit with consumers calling for their precious phones to be made of tougher stuff. Manufacturers will look to use the latest materials including scratch and shatter-proof glass as well as liquid metal for cases.

3-4 Years
With smartphone screens getting bigger and users spending more time on mobiles than any other device, expect to see super-high resolution, cinema-quality displays. This is only just reaching our living rooms today but mobile makers are already eyeing it up for our pocketable gadgets. We doubt mobile screen sizes will continue to grow larger (around five-inches seems to be the limit) but within three years 4K phone screens will be de-facto.

5-6 Years
3D technology using wide-angle lenses and sensors will be able to map your surroundings using your mobile phone. The technology is currently being tested in projects for both mobile handsets and larger systems by Matterport, who worked on Microsoft’s Kinect sensor.

7-8 Years
Breakthroughs in material technology will see phones made from a super thin, super strong and conductive wonder material called Graphene. We will see mobiles that change shape to suit our needs and roll up right into our pocket.

9-10 Years
Wearable technology is already trying to bridge the necessity to carry a phone and in years going forward we will see physical handsets disappear from our pockets. Mobile phones will run 12 months on a single charge, thanks to Titanium dioxide/Lithium nanostructure batteries.