please follow exactly the same subheading format:
•Summary (One to one and a half pages)
•Answers to the questions( as given in case of 3M)
•Learning / Conclusion
Q:01 Dell’s e-business strategy was successful as a business revival strategy. Do you think the same strategy of e-business can still work for mobile phones, televisions, and automobiles ??
Q:02 Toyota Motors have implemented the concept of ‘Kiosk’. Investigate the success of Toyota Kiosks from the sources available to you. Compare Toyota and Dell e-business strategies.
Case Study: Dell.com
By James Magurie
Since its launch in the mid ’90s, Dell’s e-commerce business has been
a poster child for the benefits of online sales, says Aberdeen Group
analyst Kent Allen. The company’s strategy of selling over the Internet
— with no retail outlets and no middleman — has been as discussed,
admired and imitated as any e-commerce model. Dell’s online sales
channel has proven so successful, says Allen that the computer
industry must ask: “Does the consumer need to go to the store to buy
a PC anymore?”
Regardless of the company’s past success, Dell is affected by two
current trends in e-commerce, says Forrester analyst Carrie Johnson.
And only one of these trends works in the PC giant’s favor.
The early adopters were always comfortable buying PCs online, she
notes, but the general public has taken a while to catch up. “What we
know about how consumers buy online is that they start with lowticket, low-risk goods like books, and they eventually begin to trust the
Internet more and graduate to higher end products like PCs and
At this point, “Enough consumers have been shopping online for three
or more years that they trust the Internet to buy almost anything,”
Johnson says. “Which is why you see apparel do so well now and even
computers do so well, because it’s not just the early adopters buying
online now. We’ve caught the second wave of online shopping.”
But while this trend bodes well for Dell, says Johnson, another does
not: due to a slowdown in PC sales, what’s fueling most of the online
growth [in the PC market] at this point are second hand sales of
computers. Auction sites like eBay and uBid are enjoying thriving
growth rates in PC sales, she says, in contrast to new PC vendors like
Dell. So the challenge for Dell now is figuring out how to grow sales in
a tough market.
The Front End
Launched as a static page in 1994, Dell.com took the plunge into ecommerce shortly thereafter, and by 1997 was the first company to
record a million dollars in online sales, according to Dell spokesperson
After six strong years of online sales — widely regarded by analysts as
stumble free — Dell has racked up some impressive statistics. In the
last quarter of 2002, Dell.com logged a billion page views, a company
first. According to Dell spokesperson Bob Kaufman, about half of the
company’s revenue comes from the site, which means approximately
$16 billion flowed through Dell.com in the last year.
A key part of Dell’s success, says Aberdeen’s Allen, is that the site
offers consumers “choice and control.” Buyers can click through Dell
and assemble a computer system piece by piece, choosing
components like hard drive size and processor speed based on their
budgets and needs.
“Their ability to allow people to custom design has traditionally been
something that they’re ahead of the game with, and a lot of people are
slowly starting to catch up now,” Allen says. “But they continue to be
viewed as the leader.”
This direct contact with consumers gives Dell a competitive advantage,
explains Dell’s McNair. “Because we know exactly what our customers
are ordering, it’s a 1-to-1 proposition. We get feedback on how our
site is working so we’re constantly making tweaks to it to make the
experience for our customers easier.”
Certainly Dell’s competitors see the advantage of the company’s direct
model, and to a varying degree use similar tactics. But, says Gartner
analyst Mark Margevicius, “The other vendors have legacy ties to
supply chains — supply chains with distributors and resellers. Those
elements provide value and revenue to the IBMs and HPs of the world.
So they can’t automatically switch on a dime. But those non-direct
channels are also less efficient. So Dell had the ability to cut margin
without cutting profit.”
Profit Source: B2B
While Dell’s consumer sales are highly visible, thanks in part to a high
profile TV campaign, its business sales are a much bigger revenue
source. “About 15 percent of our total revenue is consumer business
and the rest is B2B,” Dell’s Kaufman says. “Our major focus in the IT
marketplace is selling servers, storage products, network switches and
services to corporate customers. A lot of the e-commerce engine
revolves around that.”
Or, as Aberdeen’s Allen notes, “B2C keeps them in newspapers a lot,
B2B keeps them in the black.”
To facilitate B2B sales, the Dell site offers each corporate customer an
individualized interface. Using what Dell calls a Premier page,
purchasing managers log on and order using an interface customized
for their company’s needs. “They place the order, it gets routed up to
whoever in their company needs to approve it, then [the order] is sent
directly to us,” McNair says.
The efficiency of the B2B system works in synergy with the consumer
sales, Kaufman says. “Remember, corporate customers are also
consumers, so if they have a good experience, they’ll come over and
buy a system for their home, or vice versa.”
The Back End
Now that many e-tailers have built a customer-friendly front end, their
back end supply chain is a greater focus, says Aberdeen’s Allen.
“That’s a lot of what you saw this past Christmas: progress on making
sure [e-tailers] weren’t just capturing the order but were fulfilling the
order. That’s where Dell is continuing to succeed.”
Or, as Gartner’s Mark Margevicius says, “You can give me the best ecommerce experience but unless they’ve got the supply chain nailed,
there’s no way Dell is as successful as they are today.”
Dell’s Kaufman says the PC maker uses the Internet to provide a
“constant and seamless flow of information among all different aspects
of the company to drive the process.” The company’s back end is
calibrated to respond so closely to orders from the front end that
inventory is kept to a razor-thin, four-day supply. “We build systems
only after a customer has ordered them,” Dell’s McNair says, noting
that this applies to desktop systems as well as complex server orders.
Dell has no central warehouse facility but instead ships to customers
directly from its manufacturing plants. Based on customer location, a
shipment may originate from a Dell plant in Ireland, China, Brazil,
Malaysia, Texas or Tennessee.
Making a Giant Bigger
As for how Dell expands from here — having built a thriving ecommerce operation, but faced with a slow market — no analyst would
hazard a definitive guess. But a recent Dell announcement provides a
Last July, the company began to experiment with kiosks in shopping
malls. Since launching the initiative, it has opened 57 kiosks in nine
states. Recently, Dell announced it is ramping up its kiosk presence by
placing them in Sears stores.
The kiosks are mini-stores, about 10-12 feet wide, with basic
inventory and Dell salespeople. Dell’s Kaufman explains that the kiosks
enable mall shoppers to “go in and touch and feel some of our product
and then either order right there or go back home and order.”
So part of the e-commerce giant’s expansion effort is geared,
ironically, toward traditional retail. Or rather, since the kiosks are tied
electronically to Dell.com, they’re an odd hybrid: a brick-and-mortar
mini-store with an e-commerce option. Analysts note that one of the
advantages of the Sears kiosk placement is that, in comparison to the
Dell site, the department store’s foot traffic contains a higher
percentage of women and shoppers who are over 55.
Certainly, though, it appears that Dell’s core focus will remain its direct
e-commerce model. Perhaps the best estimate of where Dell goes from
here is more of the same, just bigger and better. As Aberdeen’s Allen
observes, “With e-commerce, there’s no end. You’re never done, it’s
constantly evolving, and it has to reflect the dynamics of the market.
If anyone thinks they can catch up to Dell, there is no catching up —
it’s just trying to stay ahead of the customer.”
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