Management Concept Case Report Essay

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Management Concept Case Report / Report on Managerial Issue in Billabong

Issue Identification

Critical Analysis

Billabong's management issue is e-business strategy. E-business is challenging, but allows the retailer to venture into global markets efficiently, and at nominal cost (Economywatch, 2010). This is relevant in Billabong's case as the retailer was crumpling under debt, economic downturns in key markets (Europe and U.S.), shifting fashions, and increase in Australian dollar's value; the rise of the online retailing trend also contributed to Billabong's decline (Schermerhorn et al., 2014). Firms, by selling merchandise online, can expand their markets, venture into new territories, provide customer service across the globe, and develop international marketing partnerships, thereby improving company growth and competitiveness (Hsu, 2012). Companies, via smartphone applications and web sites, can effectively reach trade partners and customers. Developing a sound e-business strategy for supplies procurement and product/service selling is the key to long-term survival in the retail sector in the present times (Grover, 2007).

2. Issue Identification

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This paper explores the avenue of e-business for Billabong. Today, e-business and e-commerce are vital for firms' development; the former entails strategic focus, concentrating on functions occurring through electronic capabilities, while the latter denotes a subset of the firm's overall e-business plan (Boundless, 2015). E-business effectively helps organizations link their external and internal data-processing structures, develop stronger bonds with partners and suppliers, and successfully satisfy customer wants and demands. Numerous factors, mentioned earlier, collectively had a hand in Billabong's downturn; venturing into e-business seems to be a much plausible way out of this quandary. The retailer requires a sound e-business strategy for addressing organizational, skill and cultural changes, implementing e-business technologies, developing responsive, flexible organizational structures and managing these changes adroitly (Kidd, 2001).

Essay on Management Concept Case Report Assignment

Online ordering and emailing systems allow convenient, quick and cost-effective communication with suppliers, clients and stakeholders located anywhere across the globe. Customers can purchase products/services any time and from any place. Studying customers' buying patterns to tailor the offering to their expectations/needs also becomes easier. Sellers' overheads can be reduced, as lesser inventory and fewer staff suffices. This, in turn, causes price reductions, benefiting customers, who also have the convenience of shopping from home, accessing several sellers, and comparing products and prices, all at low cost (SmallBizConnect, 2015). Company-customer relationships are normally categorized according to customer type, into Business-to-customer (B2C) and Business-to-business (B2B) (Ing&Ing, 2013).

3. Critical Analysis

There are several billions of internet users worldwide, making B2C and B2B marketing via the internet extremely valuable for companies (Charles, 2015). Most of today's e-commerce is of the latter type. B2B e-marketplaces generally focus on collaborations and procurement activities, and often include agreement, automation and standardization, inquiry, ordering, and payment/receiving material. They simplify business processes and lower transactional and logistical costs (Gazaly, 2005). Meanwhile, B2C minimizes competition gap. Small firms can rival bigger ones because of reduced advertising/marketing costs associated with e-marketing. It is also pertinent to note that both (the small and big business entities) share the same space for displaying their products. The businesses can easily compete based on product price, quality, and availability. Also, the unlimited e-marketplace permits customers to search and purchase merchandise from anywhere, at any time. Firms can expand their reach infinitely via the Internet, while their global customers can procure required products with ease (Business Education, 2009).

The nature of B2B transactions varies with each business; today, even small firms can adopt advanced, reasonable, highly flexible and convenient B2B. Almost all trading partners of an organization can be included in the B2B network, as the only requisites are a personal computer and internet access. Just as the introduction of email changed the manner of business communications, recent B2B smart technology will improve how corporations carry out their business with partners collaboratively (Thompson, 2004). On the other hand, B2C would facilitate businesses in acquiring knowledge of current demands. A timely and accurate understanding of customer needs helps firms rapidly discover opportunities for new markets and effectively adapt their products to change in expectations. Businesses adopting mass customization alongside traditional mass production will be able to successfully transfer and make use of their knowledge regarding the demands of customers (Configurator, 2015).

B2B ensures better customer retention, through delivering a rich customer experience. Manufacturing Insights states that rapid product commoditization, poor product demand and ever-increasing consumer expectations necessitate newer ways to deliver additional value to existing customers. Current trends point to enhancing customers' purchasing experience as a means for adding value and increasing customer retention rates; contemporary B2B e-commerce programs make this possible. They simplify payment/acquiring procedures for customers, offer better service and improved responsiveness, and facilitate brand building (Oracle, 2011). In case of B2C, the main target is general public. B2C's advantage is availability of a large, varied target market, giving the smaller business the option of mass-marketing or niche marketing (Peterson, 2015).

Through B2B e-business, both customers and retailers can acquire information such as shipping dates, product prices, etc. quickly, easily and efficiently (Mann et al., 2008). B2C ecommerce allows customers to shop from the comfort of their home and increases companies' prospective client base. When producers offer a custom-made ecommerce website in addition to their own retail store, more prominent brand awareness ensues. E-shopping can be carried out anywhere and anytime, and allows producers quick and convenient access to new markets; increases brand name; enhances customer awareness about them; and provides customers with thorough updated knowledge regarding their product lines and product range (ESSIndia, 2013).

An influential customer demanding the use of B2B e-commerce serves as a key external incentive for suppliers (Tanewski, 2003). There is, typically, greater transaction value in business purchases. Shopping carts of B2B buyers are generally much larger, as corporations obviously purchase costlier products, as well as larger quantities of products, thereby enhancing transaction value and, consequently, producer earnings (Kopatz, 2014). B2C ecommerce is normally linked with sale and purchase of products, services, and information through the Internet, which allows to replace conventional selling with online selling. Many retailers offer large varieties and quantities of products for customers to choose from and satisfy their requirements (Shan et al., 2010).

B2C and B2B come with both advantages and drawbacks. There is a limited market for B2B, purchase-decision-making process is long-drawn, and power structure is inverted. B2B buyers have greater power and can impose challenging specifications, and demand particular customizations and convenient prices. Sellers generally have to concede as customer retention is their biggest priority. This necessitates a degree of flexibility in product development as well as manufacturing process, not normally required for B2C businesses. There are also high costs associated with B2B sales, as it entails procurement of thousands of product units, a small amount of highly costly machines or a software package that affects thousands of workers' performance (Dontingney, 2015). Meanwhile, in B2C, the biggest drawback would be consumer skepticism regarding ecommerce's security. While ecommerce accords global reach to firms, it also involves fierce competition among small firms and ecommerce magnates, and places intrinsic restrictions on seller-consumer interactions. Other drawbacks to consumers include: inadequate or no requisite infrastructure, hampering their access to ecommerce; product decisions have to be based on product descriptions, images, and buyer reviews; and inability to handle the product to check for material quality and other such tangible attributes (Dontigney, 2015).

4. Recommendations

The greatest challenge for those who conduct e-business is that there are so many established e-retailers like, and most B2B clients would have already visited such websites before a particular seller's (Billabong, in this case). This leads them to not only compare a business's site with that of direct competition, but with all major e-retailers as well, in terms of site functionality and user-friendliness. Thus, businesses have to ensure: Personalized content; Superior search capabilities (as trying to look for a product among extensive product catalogs is highly inconvenient); Rich browsing/purchasing experiences, in other words, the website must be flexible and cater to browsers (site visitors who wish to research and view the offering) as well as buyers (customers visiting the site with a specific product (and specifications) in mind); Effective content management, as B2B product catalogs come with an endless number of items on sale, sorted according to detailed product specifications, and retailer analytics for improved visibility (or online performance) (Barr, 2013).

The target of B2C firms, typically, is any one customer segment or decision-maker -- they do not have to deal with the challenge of several influencers and decision-makers in a purchasing process. Consequently, a different approach/strategy needs to be employed here, from that employed in B2B. In case of B2C selling, sellers should: understand their target audience by engaging with them through social media, thereby facilitating increased brand awareness, personalized targeting of customers, and improved customer engagement; take advantage of user-generated matter, (i.e., seek response from customers to define a particular product/service rather than waste precious time and resources in trying to generate an attractive description of it); develop brand awareness and loyalty by delivering first-rate customer service through web tools like social media; create discounts/promotional programs… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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