How do you go about setting up an e-commerce site? Is it enough to merely give information about products and PC configurations? Or have pages outlining achievements of the company? Obviously not! But there are web sites that still give only these details. What they have failed to realize is that customers look for prices, features and sales and service outlets close to their residential areas.
Customers would also like to know the names and contact details of the dealer closest to their living places. If you believe that a customer from a faraway town is going to take the trouble to come to your city to buy a machine, then you are sadly mistaken. If he wants a machine, he wants to have it from a shop just around the corner of his house.
Any web site that carries incomplete information is an useless one, at least from the customer’s point of view. And it is time, promoters wake up to this basic reality. Merely creating a fancy web site is not enough. Give the customers what they really want, not what you think they might like to see.
Allied Computer Industries (ACi), a UK-based notebook computers specialist, floated a joint venture company in February 1999, with Indian partners, ACi (India) Pvt Ltd. ACi’s distribution list includes well-known brands of IT industry like Toshiba, IBM and Compaq. They have an online portal, www.aci-india.com, especially for the Indian market.
The best thing about ACi’s web site is that it is a very simple site that can be easily navigated. The two major sections of the site are ‘notebooks’ and ‘new products’, with impressive graphics in both segments.
The ‘notebooks’ section has links to four standard notebooks namely ‘ACi Performer II,’ ‘ACi Scorpion,’ ‘ACi Precedent’ and ‘ACi Concept.’ Each of these links is well developed. They are in the form of catalogues with complete information on their configuration details.
The ‘new products’ segment is similar to the ‘notebooks’ segment. This segment has details about the latest products launched by ACi. As a matter of fact, a new products segment is not all that necessary as the products can be featured in the notebook segment itself with a small sign marking their recent launch. This will help visitors to get a look at all the products of the company on a single page.
What is missing are prices. How can any web site intend to do online business without giving prices of different products? Although ACi has taken care to give visitors all the detail of various machines, they have missed out on the most vital piece of information. Could this be because the company wishes to merely use the web site as an interface for information and fulfill orders through the traditional mode?
ACi has also mentioned that it will provide prompt after-sales service to its customers. But no details are provided as to where, besides Mumbai, the customer can get service. Details about channel partners in the country are also missing.
Priya Group has various business interests like distribution of chemicals, exports of dyes and IT products distribution. And they have created a single web site www.priyagroup.com for all these businesses with different links to each of them. In the IT context, Priya distributes brands like Edimax, GVC, LG Electronics, Seagate and Traxdata.
The company is headquartered in Mumbai with branches in eight cities. Details of all the branches are given complete with the names of contact persons. This is a very sensible thing that Priya has done. However, it would be a good idea if they give details of their channel partners too.
The ‘Products’ segment has been categorized into various links like ‘monitors,’ ‘motherboards,’ ‘processors,’ ‘storage products,’ ‘multimedia products,’ ‘networking products,’ ‘communication products’ and ‘other products.’ Each of these links takes the visitor to the specific product grid. From here the visitor can get complete details about every brand and model by clicking on that link. This makes the section very comprehensive and useful. However the company has forgotten to mention the prices of the products.
Information on warranty can be read in the ‘Warranty Policy’ section. This is another comprehensive page with links to the warranty of each brand and its model. However, the warranty pages have to be downloaded which can take quite some time.
Visitors can also get in touch with Priya for more details by filling in the enquiry form that is provided.
While Priya has made a good effort to provide technical and warranty details of the products, it has missed on one thing. It does not provide users with an option to buy products online.
Till now we have done reviews on web sites of computer hardware distributors. This is the first time we have selected a software development company, which sells through the channel.
www.chenab.com is a web site of Chenab Information Technologies that develops user-friendly packages for exporters, manufacturers, traders, airline applications and information security.
The ‘Packages’ section on the home page of this site gives outlined information on various standard software packages developed by the Chenab team. Each introductory outline of software packages has a link that gives detailed information on the package.
When one clicks onto the link of ‘Cryptic,’ a new browser window opens up. This page is a separate web site in itself specially developed for the ‘Cryptic’ package. The web address for this page is
www.chenab-ebiz.com/cryptic. It has got links such as ‘About our product,’ ‘Buy Cryptic,’ ‘Technical support,’ ‘Features’ and ‘FAQ.’ These various links have detailed information on this particular software. This gives one a feeling that Cryptic is the company’s claim to fame, which is why it has been accorded special status.
Other major links on the home page of www.chenab.com
are – ‘Area of Service,’ ‘Projects,’ ‘Global Alliances’ and ‘Quality Policy.’ The ‘Area of Service’ gives details on various services provided by Chenab. Information on successfully completed prestigious projects in India and abroad can be accessed in the ‘Projects’ link.
Dealers and distributors interested in partnership can click onto ‘Global Alliances’ category. One can read about the quality standards maintained by the company in the ‘Quality Policy’ link.
Like Priya Group, Chenab too has provided visitors with a contact format and details of their various offices globally. However they too have not mentioned prices of their software products.
Jasmina Khanna is a freelance writer and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org