If you are looking for inspiration on developing your business online or indeed have a project in mind then seek out a company who take the time to understand your business and then put forward creative ideas and solutions as Paramount demonstrates below.
At the beginning of 2013 a National Association chose Paramount as the partner to help launch an online buying portal for independent retailers within the Association’s sector.
The idea being, that with agreements in place with major suppliers, the portal would act as a buying group and provide savings to the retailers.
Roll on 10 months; the Association was in the unfortunate position that not all supplier negotiations had been successful and equally the landscape within the sector had rapidly changed. As a result it was deemed that the amount of financial investment required by the Association across the project far outweighed the projected financial income at least for the short to medium term.
With an edge of disappointment the Association requested a meeting with Paramount to see what could be done with the portal which was 95% complete.
We met with the Financial Director (FD) and Technical Director (TD). During the portal build element of the project Paramount’s primary contact had been with other personnel within the association so the meeting allowed Paramount to explain the main features of the portal as it stood.
One element being a dashboard which allowed a user to tailor how the site displayed and worked for them. Linked in with this was the displaying of industry and individual retailer MI. This element raised interest from the FD and TD as this information was not currently available all in one place elsewhere.
Discussion moved onto the Association’s eCommerce platform (attached to one supplier) which, whilst operating without issue and with a healthy number of orders placed each day, was not easy to manage or adapt and as such was not as effective as it could be.
The Association has a membership in the thousands, even so, the portal was a brand new concept which needed marketing and selling to the Association’s members and also other retailers.
We then discussed the membership program and renewal process, which required the Association to resell the benefits to a member at renewal.
– A project with good potential shelved for a number of reasons one of which being the acquisition cost per user to the Association becoming prohibitive
– A busy eCommerce platform which was difficult to manage and adapt
– A membership program that had to be resold to members at renewal
– No central resource for members or potential users to see a) membership benefits received b) user and sector Management Information (MI)
Clive and I now knew a way to re-purpose the buying portal. At the same time solving the points above.
Move the product, from the eCommerce platform, to the portal giving:
– More control over the management of the site
– Ability to focus campaigns on the site around certain products / offerings
– Increase the type of products available on the site
– Increase the number of suppliers they could source products from
– Move the customer base from the eCommerce platform to the portal
Develop the dashboard to include details of the benefits an individual member has received and providing regular MI helping:
– Make the renewal process easier as a member see the real value received
– Increase the reasons for users to come back to the site
The net result being that the Association would leaverage the user and member base they already had increasing loyalty and also building a platform on which future offerings could be sold including, possibly, the buying group idea.
These suggestions were met with huge excitement from the FD and TD, with the first action item from the meeting for the FD and TD being to present the ideas to the rest of the board.
Paramount; merging business knowhow with technology to build business online.
Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net / AKARAKINGDOMS