Even if a provider of E-commerce goods and services rigorously follows the sixteen “key factors” to devise an exemplary e-commerce strategy, problems can still arise. Sources of such problems include:
• Failure to understand customers, why they buy and how they buy even a product with a sound value proposition can fail if producers and retailers do not understand costumer’s habits, expectations, and motivations. E-commerce could potentially mitigate this potential problem with proactive and focused marketing research, just as traditional retailers do.
• Failure to consider the competitive situation. One may have the capability to construct a viable book e-tailing business model but lack the will to complete the Amazon.com.
• Inability to predict the environmental reaction. What will competitors do? Will they introduce competitive brands or competitive websites? Will they supplement their service offerings? Will they try to sabotage a competitor’s site? Will price wars break out? What will the government do? Research into competitors, industries and markets and markets may mitigate some consequences here, just as in non-electronic commerce.
• Over-estimation of resource competence. Can staff, hardware, software, and processes handle the proposed strategy? Have e-tailers failed to develop employee and management skills? These issues may call for thorough resource planning and employee training.
• Failure to coordinate. If existing reporting and control relationships do not suffice, one can move towards a flat, accountable, and flexible organizational structure, which may or may not aid coordination.
• Failure to obtain senior management commitment. This often results in failure to gain sufficient corporate resources to accomplish the task. It may get top management involved right from the start.
• Failure to obtain employee commitment. If planners do not explain their strategy well to employees or fail to give employees the whole picture, then training and setting up incentives for workers to embrace the strategy may assist.
• Under-estimation of time requirements. Setting up an e-commerce venture can take considerable time and money, and failure to understand the timing and sequencing of tasks can lead to significant costs overruns.
• Failure to follow the plan. Poor follow-through after the initial planning and insufficient tracking of progress against a plan can result in problems with standard tools: benchmarking, milestones variance tracking, penalties for negative variances, rewards for positive variances, and remedial realignments.