This report is based on the case study eStore at Shell Canada Limited (Saunders, 2006). This case looks at how a traditional business can enter the eBusiness market. This report will look at the challenges that faced Shell Canada, measurements they could have employed to measure the progress of eStore deployment and suggestions for dealing with the future challenges facing Shell Canada. Report Overview
Due to financial pressure to reduce costs, Shell Canada deployed an eCommerce solution (eStore) to its agricultural customers. Shell Canada, with the support of the parent international company, developed and trialed an eCommerce solution. They employed the services of experts in the field of eBusiness and IT to integrate systems, applications and provide the eStore service that would enable their customers to do their transactions online. Many customers had difficulty using the web service, and few saw any benefit for themselves to use the web service over their current methods of transaction such as phone, fax and through sales representatives. Why Shell Canada is experiencing low use of eStore
E-Store’s low use can be linked to overlooking the impact of the change on end users. The key factors that restrained the growth of E-store can be summarized as follows: Ease of use (user interface)
Consultant found many issues in graphical interface that included •
Strict password policy
Confusing login panels
Notifications from non-eStore email address.
Non-working menu links
Long delay without any progress indicator
The system was branded as ‘eStore’ but product it self was not only store but offered many other services too. Brand name did not reflect benefits that this system could provide to the customers. So customers were not aware of these features and did not use it as much.
Capitalizing profits at the cost of stakeholders interest
With ever growing competition and shrinking margins, Shell and its management thought it would be good to minimize or eliminate the role of the middleman and there by reduce the operational cost by providing the clients with an online database system that will answer all their needs.
The company failed to acknowledge the role played by the local representative who acted as a bond between the company and the customer. The local agents, were asked to promote the new website which increased complexity in the bond which once existed, thus resulting in loss of customers loyalty.
Lack of communication
Inadequate information was provided / circulated among the customers or general users about the introduction of new system, its advantages and its operation.
No consideration to end-users expectations
Existing customers were expected to use the new website for dealing with Shell. Long time customers who had dealt with their local representatives were asked to use websites instead of local representatives for buying Shell’s product or enquiring about personal account details.
For some people it was too complex to use computers, remember passwords, and browse websites to find the right product. It added resentment among the existing customers and could lead to a shift of customers to an easy and readily accessible product from the competitor who continues to offer the personal service they relied upon.
Measurement of eStore deployment success or failure
According to the case study (Saunders, 2006), the team set its initial measurement goal to have 2000 current customers signed up to the eStore website within 12 months. It became apparent, as the project progressed, that some customers after the initial setup, were not using the site. The information that filtered back to the team was anecdotal and sometimes contradictory. The statistics from eStore showed the number of accounts were approaching the target of 2000. It also showed the number of customers using the web site was not increasing. Instead...
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