UK businesses striving to create an effective online retail outlet hope to make massive cost savings using an all encompassing ecommerce service, launched today by Hewlett Packard.
According to the company, HP's new Emporium service guides a business through planning its online retail strategy, creating the brand and website, and ultimately hosting and managing the site.
Businesses buy into the service for nine months initially, at a cost of around #90,000, after which time they can decide whether or not the project is working and make a decision about whether to continue.
HP Emporium debuts in the UK, home of two of HP's own ecommerce projects at its facility in Bristol. The first was the underwhelmingly successful E-Christmas online mall in 1997 with Microsoft and others, which was not repeated. The second was the World Cup merchandise site last year, which HP claimed was more successful than its Christmas effort.
UK businesses have found it tough adapting to selling online because the Internet has brought different parts of a company together for the first time, according to Ted Brooks, HP's ecommerce business development manager.
"They've found products weren't selling because collaboration wasn't taking place," said Brooks.
HP Emporium starts with a series of workshops that bring together different - parts of a business - such as merchandising, IT, pricing, marketing and logisics - to discuss the legal, branding, IT and other issues.
Within four to 12 weeks, HP says the customer will have a site up and running. A review will follow midway through the remaining time, followed by a full assessment at the end of the nine months.
One customer said the service would generate massive cost savings by reducing the number of website related calls to the helpdesk - instead HP will manage the technical issues.
"There is massive indirect cost involved in keeping the show on the road," said Rene Carayol, chief information officer at IPC.
Another customer described the service more bluntly. "I need someone on the Internet to string me along," said a user from the Formula One industry.
HP says the majority of its target customers for HP Emporium run their current websites from their own servers, often using different architectures and different platforms.
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Source: VNU Newswire
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