Sometimes when browsing products no page or picture comes up which can be annoying, the company says this is because “We are constantly adding new products to our site and have tried our best to offer specialist sports equipment that covers many sports. However it is our mission to help all sports people find the equipment they need. Please contact us. It is most likely that we will be able to find and special order most requests”. I believe that this good because they personally will try and help improve your order or find a replacement.
Also when buying your item the order may be delayed for one of the following reasons:
Team wear orders sometimes have to be specially ordered from the manufacturer
Products on Pre-Order or Products that are not in stock at the time of ordering
Credit Card Checks, sometimes we may need to make additional checks on your credit card
Shirts with additional name, numbering and badges added may take an extra few days to despatch.
When viewing a product on their website they provide various bits of important information about the product that the customer may need to know before purchasing it, for example the size.
Price – Out of all the product information provided this is the most vital, without this the customer would not know whether the product is worth buying or not, if the company did not include the price of the product then customers would be put off straight away buying from them online.
Item Description – This covers most of the important features like colour, size, material, capacity etc. This information may vary as the products may be totally different, for example it is important to put the capacity of a water cooler but capacity it is not relevant to something like ski wear.
Extra features – These are any other features that the company thinks a customer may need to know before purchasing the product.
Picture – When viewing a product they often provide a picture of it; the customer is able to click on the picture to get an enlarged version. Alongside a basic picture they sometimes provide an orthographic picture (including dimensions) of the product depending on what It is and whether it is useful to do for that certain product or not.
Types of transactions that can be carried out
Customers can pay in three ways; credit/debit cards online, using credit/debit to order over the phone, or by cheque. They accept the following credit/debit cards: - Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Switch, Delta, Solo and JCB. This is good because it’s a large range of cards which means the website is accessible for more people. When you order over the phone its not as easy ordering on line, but it does mean that the company is available to that don’t like shopping on the internet, you have to call a certain number which costs more and you have to order between Monday to Friday 9am-5.30pm which can be awkward if you work all week.
They also say that they can do extra fraud and security check on your order “Prosportuk.com Limited reserves the right to withhold any order from despatch in order to process further security checks. This can delay an order for up to 36 hours” this is a good idea because it secures your details an payments but can increase your waiting time which is bad, but it shows that the company is efficient and respects the customers.
For total orders under £60.00 to the Mainland (UK) they charge a shipping and handling fee of £7.50. For all orders £60.00 and over Pro Sport the delivery is free. For the Scottish Highlands, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Scilly Isles and the Isle of Wight you will be charged for consignments up to 30kg in weight. Also orders under £60.00 that are heavy or bulky items or multiple orders an extra charge may be made for delivery. I fell that there shipping cost is very high, and don’t see the reason to ship to the mainland when they are based in Norfolk, it would be more beneficial and cheaper for the customer and the supply to post the item or vehicle delivery.
Prosportuk.com uses Secure Server Software (SSL) to ensure that your personal details will be protected against fraud and scam use whilst on their site. The encryption level used is 128 bit and ensures that Prosportuk.com is the only recipient able to view your details once they have been decrypted on their secure server offline. They say that your details are not held in clear text on any website.
When you place an order Prosportuk.com collect your name, e-mail address, mailing address, phone number and card information. They may record which products you are interested in and which products you purchase. They also monitor customer traffic patterns and site, this helps them build up analysis and databases based on customer patterns, this then helps them to improve the structure and layout of the site. They stat that they don’t hold your credit card details after an order are processed and you will be asked to supply these details every time that you place an order with us.
They say that they will only use the information that you supply about you lawfully in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. They collect information about you for two reasons:
- To process customers order
- To provide you with the best possible service
Above are the security guarantees and security measures in place buy 3rd party companies. One of the security card measures, MasterCard SecureCode, means that every time you pay online with your MasterCard or Maestro card, a box pops up from your card issuer asking you for your personal SecureCode, just like the bank does at the ATM. This shows that they have tried to build a secure but easy to use, navigational website, that contains many levels of security.
Methods used to capture customer information
To capture the user’s information they use to methods. The first is when the user has added an item to their basket and wishes to proceed to checkout, this brings up the table (right) with the title your details, this isn’t billing information, but is necessary to continue with checkout process. This is pretty much a scam within the company because there is a separate billing form later to actually buy the item; this is just to collect information on the customer to help build the analysis of customers.
The customer then needs to create a unique username and password. The website automatically sends a verification email to get the user to use their username and password to log them into the website. They then can log in to skip this process by entering there password and email address here. Also it displays the basket at the top right of the screen clearly and it lets you enter items into the basket without having to be registered and then when you register it’ll pick them items up again, this saves time and means that the user doesn’t have to fill the form in for every item in the basket.
The other method to capture user’s information is with the secure order form, this takes secure information relating to your payment method.
When you register to order from Prosportuk.com Limited you supply:
- Your name,
- Your invoice address
- E-mail address
- Delivery address
- Phone number
- Card information.
They will never collect sensitive information about you without your knowing and consent.
The information they hold will be accurate and up to date, this is done by email from the customer and the company.
Payment methods available
I will now show you how to order a product from the website I have been investigating.
One the user has found a product they like or want, they browse the page. This is done by using the navigation bars, or searching the site with the search box. Once they are happy with the product they click BUY. This takes them to a new page.
The new page looks like this (right), it is the user’s basket with the product they wish to buy, the quantity and price. Once satisfied with the item of purchase and price, the user proceeds to the checkout
The customer now has to fill this form in, about themselves and there personal information once they have done this they can log into a website every time with there password and email address.
Once they have filled in the form and are happy with there order, which is in the top right hand corner of the page, they are then sent to an order summery page. Here it gives information on the costumers billing address and the deliver address. Here the user must choose what payment method they want pay by, credit/debit card, cheque or by phone. This page is a combination of the basket and the form the customer had to fill in and is basically a check to make sure the information in correct. Once the customer is happy and wants to pay they are sent to another page.
Here the customer chooses again what payment method they wish to use, but this time they fill in a form about the payment option and have to give there card details. Once they are satisfied with what they have entered, they then click ‘authorise’ and the order is sent.
The customer is then sent two invoices; one is on the next link from the paying form and is a summary of the last three pages.
This is the more official invoice is emailed directly to the customers email address, this shows delivery address, billing address, product information and delivery dates. This then becomes the customers guarantee that they bought the product.
Four different techniques employed to engage, retain and/or entice customers
- The website engages the user through bright, clear and interesting offers. These offers have large fonts on pictures; these attract the customer’s attention. Displaying the “hot deals” on a website, draws customers in and they are attracted to a bargain; this makes sure that the customer reads the whole page carefully for a good bargain. The pictures make a nice change from all the text; they help explain the titles better and divide up the page. This use of pictures allows the customer to interact with the website, almost as if they can imagine the product on themselves or tryout the product. The offers also entice customers because they want to come back to the website to see more good offers or bargains.
- The navigation of the overall website is a good its is clear and easy see sales that stand out, the use of a larger font makes parts of the webpage stand out and grab the users attention. The structure and navigation of the site is relatively easy to use and is well set out. The webpage has numerous navigation tools and links to other parts of the website, that all seem to work. The customer user interface works well, and overly is presented well with a good flow to it. It is really easy to use no hard corners which make it easy to look at. Easy navigation around the site allows the user to get back to home page by clicking on the logo which is on every page. Also they are categorised in easy categories so that you can find your product quick and then it has a search so you can find your product just like that. The navigation of the website is very complex but put in a simple way, this makes the customer feel that it’s not a website just to get your information off you and that they are want to help you find the right product for you.
- The methods of payment are good on the website, in the way that there are three ways of buying products from the website. Customers can pay in three ways; credit/debit cards online, using credit/debit to order over the phone, or by cheque. They accept the following credit/debit cards: - Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Switch, Delta, Solo and JCB. This entices and retains customers because it becomes easy to buy from the website and also that once you have bought one product the next time you wish to buy something you just enter your password and email address and you’re away.
Methods used to engage, retain or entice the customer
Engaging, retaining and enticing the customer is one of the most important things that should be taken into consideration when building a website because it could be the difference between making lots of sales and hardly any sales.
Offering Deals (Sales) is one of the methods that Bestbuys uses to entice their customer. By offering deals customers are more likely to buy from the company because price is a large factor in a buying decision and if they spot a deal they like then they may purchase it and be persuaded to buy other things or return to the site, this is a big bonus for the company because they are then able to generate more sales. Within the main body of the homepage they have put some of their deals; it is a big advantage having these on the homepage because it is the page that must engage, retain or entice the customer and make them want to stay. They have also got links in both the top navigation bar and the left hand side navigation bar that take the customer to all of the company’s current sale items.
The second method which the company uses to engage, retain or entice their customers is by sending emails to them and offering them individualized deals. The way in which they do this is to capture the customer information (email address, viewing habits and purchase history) and then use this to target customers and offer them individual deals specially to that customer. As a result it keeps the customer happy and loyal and therefore they may be persuaded to buy other things that the company has to offer.
The third method that the company uses is to send out monthly newsletters to their members dedicated to the specific areas that they may be interested in, for example: camping, skiing, hot tubs etc. This has a similar effect to sending out individual emails based on the customers viewing habits in the way that it keeps the customer happy and may make them become more loyal to the company. The advantages of being able to send out newsletters this way is that it is cheap in cost but can still be of a high quality and look professional and it may persuade more customers to registering (because only members receive them) and therefore the company have more members to capture and use information on.
Evaluation of methods used to engage, retain or entice the customer
The purpose of offering deals is to try and entice their customers to purchasing from them and in the process the company is hoping that they may buy more than that one item and return to the site again. Offering deals can sometimes increase the company’s profits greatly whether it is in a short amount of time or over a longer period of time. For example some customers might just go on the site and buy that one item on sale and never return again, whereas others might go on and buy that item as well as many others and then keep on returning to the site to purchase from them eventually becoming a loyal customer. Therefore how big the profit all depends on how many loyal customers offering deals can bring in. I feel that their way of offering deals in the main body of the home page meets this purpose very well because the homepage is effectively the page that must engage, retain or entice the customer in such a way that would make them want to stay and is the first page of the site that most of their customers would arrive on. They have been able to make the deals stand out with the use of pictures and bold coloured fonts against the white background; this will attract the customer’s eye and hopefully will entice them to buying from them. The advantages of this method are the deals are in the main body of the homepage which is the page that must retain the customer and make them want to stay and price is a large factor in a buying decision and by offering lower prices they can attract many people to purchase from them that may eventually become a loyal customer. However the disadvantages are that they run the risk of only turning a small profit if the majority of the people are customers that just buy the deal and then never return again.
The purpose of sending out monthly newsletters about important information and their latest deals is to try and keep the customer interested in the company therefore to increase loyalty and to effectively generate more sales. The monthly newsletters are only sent out to the members and can be specific to certain areas, e.g. ski wear, hiking, camping etc. The newsletters contain the latest news about the company and all of their latest deals that they have to offer to their customers; this entices the customer reading the newsletter to take a look into what deals they have got on and may even buy more things while they are at it, if they are satisfied with the service they were provided with they may feel happy with the company and become more loyal. Across a larger scale of customers this will build their customer loyalty base greatly and in the process will generate more sales. The advantages of these newsletters are that: it is a cheap process to make them and send them via email and it can still look of high quality, it can generate extra sales for the company, they are able to get important information across to their customers quickly if they need to, it keeps the customers interested in the company because they receive a newsletter every month and therefore they do not forget about them, it may entice the customers to register in the first place (to be able to receive them) and it increases the amount of personal information they collect because it entices people to register. On the other hand the main disadvantage is that some people might not want to receive newsletters and therefore will be put off buying from the company within the future. Overall I feel that this method meets its purpose very well and is very effective for enticing the customer to buy things from the company and building their customer loyalty base.
Overall I feel that the methods they use meet their purposes very well and are very effective. The advantages are that obviously they both help generate sales, build up their customer loyalty and increase the amount of personal information they collect; however the main disadvantage is that the variety of methods is not broad enough and they do not use as many methods as they could do. A big improvement would be to introduce new methods in which they can engage, entice or retain their customers; for example run competitions, surveys and offer multimedia experiences. By introducing new methods it may take the company even further and build upon the methods they already use.
The purpose of this website is to give customers the option of being able to buy from Bestbuys online and therefore help the company target a wider audience (not just the people in the area of the store) and increase sales. The sites design is very effective with a simple structure that allows easy and quick navigation for the customers. This simple structure helps load up the pages quickly and as a result the customer can navigate through the site even quicker.
They capture and use customer information to help them with increasing customer loyalty and sales as well as methods to engage, entice or retain their customer. The process in which customers have to take to purchase from them is very secure and safe to use. I think improvements to the website would be to increase the amount of methods they are using to engage, entice and retain their customers (for example use new features like multimedia experiences and competitions), to have drop down lists for all the different types of products within the specific areas and ‘Back to the Top’ buttons at the bottom of each page to allow even quicker navigation for the customers, change the banner of the homepage so that it has all of the links the other pages have in their banners and change the ‘search’ function so that it is not so broad and therefore works more efficiently. Apart from the few improvements that could be made I feel the features they already have and use work together in such a way that provides a really effective site that meets its purpose greatly.
Here's what a teacher thought of this essay
Summary This piece of work offers a considerable amount of detail into the website being reviewed and also goes into a fair amount of depth about how the company use their site to try and build up their business. Importantly, there are some real observations about the things that could be made better with some suggestions for improvement. In order to improve this piece of work the student needs to... 1) Give greater consideration to the structure of the report. This is particularly lacking in the first half of the document when there is extensive use of and reference to images from the website. There is improvement towards the end but greater use of headings/sub-headings would help bring out the ideas in a coherent way. This would also help the student achieve clarity with their explanations. 2) Improved use of subject specific vocabulary where possible. Generally, students should look in the award specification to see the words that the awarding body use in their own text. Using these words will help focus written content on what is relevant and also what is expected. 3) The QOWC and Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar sways from inadequate to good and there needs to be consistency in both of these. All students should give their work a careful read through to make sure that what they have written makes perfect sense and it is valid. Often a good way to do this is to read it out loud to someone else or get someone to check it for you. Overall this is a 3 star piece of work but in places it is clearly higher. With some attention to detail and the points above it would easily achieve 4 stars.