The Pablo gift shop is an online gift shop that specializes in offering gift items to its customers. Some of the items that the gift shop offers to its customers include watches, earrings and artworks among others. The shop’s target customers are both individuals and corporate. For corporate customers, the Pablo gift shop targets those holding big events. The gift shop has been in existence for quite some times now. During this time, it has developed a business for itself via the website and Facebook. However, although the gift shop has been able to do this, it has not been able to reach customers that use their smart phones to shop online (Evening 2015, p. 290). Based on this fact, the gift shop wishes to venture into this field, but it does not know how to do it.
- The Concept and Solution
The manager with the help of the IT department has established that the gift shop can tackle the problem by developing a mobile-based app. According to the IT department, the gift shop’s customers will use the app to shop online. This will not only be a move in the right direction for the gift shop, but it will also be a big investment for the company as well.
The idea is to create a mobile application that will be interactive and that will be used by potential customers to view the shop’s products, evaluate those products and if interested add the products to their shopping list (Cohen & Burns 2015, p. 220). Once the process has been finalized, the customers can pay for the products online and fill their delivery addresses for the shop to send the items to them. By so doing, the app will enable the gift shop to increase its sales revenue.
- Key Features of the App
One of the key features of the app will be the buy now button. This button will enable the app users to buy the items once they finalize their decisions on the items. Another key feature will be the Add to the cart button. In contrast to the buy now button; this button will enable the app users to add the items to their shopping lists. The button will come after the buy now button in the sense that once the app users click the buy now button, they will be directed to this button. The other key feature will be the view more gifts button. This button will enable app users to view more items once they select it (Fernandez & Alber 2015, p. 109). More importantly, the feature will enable the shop to display more items to the app users.
- Business Case
This business idea has been driven by a number of factors. Firstly, it has been driven by the current innovation taking place in technology (Miller 2008, p. 292). There is no doubt about this issue because if you look around, you will realize that majority of the people spend most of the time on their mobile phones. Most of these people do not spend time admiring their expensive smart phones. Instead, they spend time surfing the internet. In the process of doing this, some of them shop online. As a result, if the gift shop will not develop a mobile-based app, it is unlikely to attract this group of people as other organizations have done. In order to reach this market, the gift shop should invest a mobile-based application. Secondly, the business idea has been driven by the need to expand our market. As I have stated earlier on, our gift shop has not tapped the mobile-based market. In order for the shop to get to the next level, it has to tap this market.
- Target Audiences
The target audiences for the app will be the mobile phone users. However, because the shop cannot target everybody that uses mobiles phones, the focus will be on the young people aged between 18 and 30 years of age. Majority of these people are technology savvy and they love technology. More importantly, these people love fancy goods and they influence purchasing decisions in their families. As a result, if the gift shop is to target these people, it is likely to increase its sales.
- Strategic Alignment within the Organization’s Business and IT Strategies
The shop’s business is geared towards offering customers gift products at their convenience. It is also geared towards delivering value to the customer. Given that the app will enable customers to shop the way they want and at their convenience, then there is no doubt that the app aligns to the gift shop’s business. On the other hand, the shop’s IT strategies are geared towards reaching more customers. They are also geared towards offering customers more items to choose from. Based on what the app will do, it is evident that it will align to these strategies in the sense that it will reach more customers and offer customers more items to choose from.
- Value Proposition and Other Benefits
The benefits of using a mobile-based app are many, and it is not even possible to list these benefits here. However, one of the major benefits of the app is the increased sales revenue the gift shop is likely to realize once it launches the app. There is no doubt that the launching of the app will increase the number of people that view the shop’s products. By so doing, the gift shop will be able to reach more potential customers and in that process the sales revenue will go up. The second benefit is that our advertising budget is likely to reduce significantly because the gift shop will be able to reach customers via their mobile phones. Once this happens, there will be no need to advertise extensively as we do now. The third benefit that comes with the app is the reduced cost of running business. Although this will be a long-term benefit, it will definitely be realized.
- Infrastructure Requirements
Development platforms: in order for the proposed app to be developed and deployed, the gift shop will have to purchase the Balsamiq mockup software that will be used to develop the app. This software will be purchased once. As a result, the company will not purchase it another time if it wishes to develop another app.
Coding languages and tools: there will be no need to invest in any coding language and tools because the software has already been coded. For this reason, the IT department will only develop the app from the software that has been developed.
Use of cloud services: as for cloud services, computing resources will be shared (Zhou et al., 2003, p. 10). Therefore, there will be no need to invest in a lot of computing resources. This will obviously minimize the cost of developing and deploying the app.
- Software Design, Development and Testing Strategies
The software design is structured in a manner that once customers launch the app, they will be able to view the items on offer. If the items of choice do not feature on the immediate menu, the app will enable customers to view more items by selecting the view more gifts buttons. With regard to development, the IT department will be able to develop the app. It will also be able to design the app and launch it. As for the testing strategies, the IT department will be the first group of people to test the app. Once the team is satisfied that the app is functional, the other employees in the shop will test the app. After it has been established that the app is functional and fault-less, the app will be made available to the customers to use it. This will involve installing the app on the shops website and urging customers to download it.
- Internationalization for a Global Market
In order to fit into the global market, the app like the shop’s website can be accessed using different international languages. All that the app user needs to do is to select the language of choice and the app will appear in that language. However, English has been set as the default language for the app. At the same time, the terms used to develop the app as well as the website have global meaning. Therefore, it will be easy for the global users to localize the app and use it with ease (Aykin 2016, p. 5). More importantly, the content of the app can be modified for localization to help global users access it in their favorite styles and languages. This aspect is an important one in the sense that the shop will be able to reach more customers and expand its market. As a result, there is no doubt that the app will be a resource to the gift shop.
For the app to be deployed and used effectively, it will be necessary to utilize different strategies. These strategies will depend on the task and the objective to be achieved. In this case, in order to help app users to download the app, a link to the app will be provided on the gift shop’s website. The link will specify that the users can download the app to shop with it using their smart phones. At the same time, it will be necessary to advertise the process so that the gift shop can reach more customers. The main focus for such advertisement will be on mobile shopping and what customers can do with their smart phones. It will also be necessary to develop the app and inform the employees about it and what it will achieve. This will help the employees to utilize the app and to answer questions relating to the app from customers.
- Risk Management
As the customers make online payments, they will obviously be asked by the system to provide their payment details especially their credit cards’ numbers and other details. In order to protect the details that customers will provide for payment purposes, the system will have to be secured. More importantly, customers will be asked to create usernames and passwords. In order to secure these details, the app will enable customers to create strong passwords by indicating their strengths (Basta & Zgola 2011, p. 169). At the same time, the app will be structured in a way that it will not keep a history of the details that have been entered previously. Consequently, customers will be supposed to remember their log in details and not disclose them to anybody else (Morley 2014, p. 148). However, if customers forget those details, the system will help them retrieve those details after conducting some form of verification.
- Deployment and Integration Strategies
The process of deploying the app will be among the simplest thing for the gift shop. All that the gift shop ought to do is to develop the app and place it on its website for the customers to download and use it. Once the customers download the app in their languages of their choice, they will keep it on their smart phones and use it whenever they want to shop online. However, in order to integrate the app into the gift shop’s practices it will be necessary to conduct some form of training to the employees as well as customers (Prasad 2012, p. 27). The employees on their part will be trained how to use the app and handle queries relating to the app whereas customers on their part will be trained how to use the app. For the customers, the training will be conducted online using YouTube and via the website (Gay, Charlesworth & Esen 2006, p. 5).
- User Acceptance and Change Management
In order to promote user acceptance, it will be necessary once again to emphasize on advertisements and free web-based trainings. This means that it will be necessary to inform potential customers that they can shop online from the gift shop by simply using their smart phones. It will also be important to provide a mechanism by which potential customers can do this and embrace the process. At the same time, it will be important to ensure that the employees understand and embrace the app. In terms of change management, only the employees will be affected by this issue. To help them go through the change process smoothly, it will be important to train them thoroughly and make sure that they understand the importance of the app to the gift shop (Longo & Cristofoli 2007, p. 15). For the customers, it will be upon them to decide whether to proceed with the old system of shopping or embrace the new one. However, they will be encouraged to download the app and use it.
- Legacy Systems
Database integration: based on the fact that the gift shop wishes to reach customers using different languages, it will be important to link all the databases of the gift shop (Kamel 2003, p. 3). Normally, the gift shop has many databases and it is likely that it will develop more databases. In order to help customers access unified databases, it will be important to link the databases so that they can provide similar information.
Enterprise data integration: once again, it will also be important to combine the gift shop’s data and use it to achieve the same objective. This will be done by linking the data and bringing them together so that customers can access that data from a central point. In this respect, it will be necessary to invest in a server and other computing resources that will help the gift shop share information with its customers. Doing so will facilitate the process and reduce the cost of handling data from different locations.
Once the app has been installed, it will be important to make sure that it is up-to-date. Ensuring that the app is up-to-date will increase sales and also provide customers with accurate information. As a result, it will be important to set money for this process. This will not increase the cost of running the app significantly because the process will not cost much. In fact, the main focus of maintenance will be on the databases and the data. For the data, it will be important to update it on regular basis or as frequently as possible to ensure that the items on offer are on the gift shop’s warehouses (Forouzan & Mosharraf 2008, p. 370). It will also be important to add new items on the app so that target customers can view them. The databases will also be updated on regular basis to help them provide customers with the latest information.
- Future Opportunities and Enhancements
Overall, there is no doubt that if the gift shop will invest in the app it will definitely benefit from it now and in the future. As for this issue, there is a lot of development that is going on in technology. Given that the gift shop is founded largely on technology, then anything that transpires in this field will automatically affect the gift shop’s business. Therefore, embracing the app will be part of aligning with the future because of the opportunities that will automatically come one day. In terms of enhancements, if the gift shop will embrace the app and make it part of its growth strategy, there will be no need to invest in the app in the future. All that the gift shop will do will be to improve the app and align it with the opportunities. In this respect, it will be necessary for the gift shop to develop and deploy the app for future benefits.
- Recommendations and Conclusion
After successfully conducting the research, I would recommend the chief finance officer (CFO) to do the following.
- First, I would recommend the CFO to approve the app because it will solve the current problem.
- Second, I would recommend the CFO to provide the money that would be required to launch the app.
As for HR department and IT department, I would recommend the two departments to do the following.
- First, I would recommend them to facilitate the change process in an efficient process.
- Second, I would recommend the two departments to work hand in hand to see that the app is developed and deployed as soon as possible.
If the above is done, Pablo gift shop will benefit significantly from the app.
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