Shell Canada Limited took an innovative initiative in 2003: to launch an eStore for our business customers. But even though many customers have signed up, the utilization rate remains low. In that sense, the initiative doesn't match our business objectives
which consists of cutting costs of sales representatives by providing a self-service
technology to agricultural customers to place their orders directly. In return, we could obtain account information through eStore. The two main causes of "discontinuance" seem to be a problem of website conception and an ineffective interpersonal communication. This failure raises the risk of taking an innovative initiative for a company such as Shell Canada Ltd, in terms of missed sales and even lost customers.
After the analysis of our company, its environment and its customers, building a skilled team for improving the eStore and a business unit responsible for the customer relationship management appears to be the best strategy.
[...] The problem is to make people willing to adopt new technologies. - TOUGH COMPETITION The Canadian market of oil refining and marketing is owned at 85% by 5 large companies: Shell Canada Ltd, Suncor, Husky Energy, Petro-Canada and Imperial Oil. Competitors performed better than Shell Canada Ltd during the fiscal year 2003 (appendix 1). But when compared to the oil products earnings, Shell's results are close to Imperial Oil's performance. Besides, the government still owns 19% of Petro-Canada, which can explain their performance for consolidated revenues. [...]
[...] Promotion: Advertising could be made on the Shell Canada Ltd website, through direct marketing (newsletter, e-mail and mail) and public relations (business unit). People: Value the role of the eTeam and the business unit who create and reflect the value and the quality of eStore's services through their skills. Physical evidence: Since eStore 2.0 is not tangible, it must have a strong and visible identity (eStore 2.0 logo on main page and letter heads, brochures, business cards for the business unit, consultancy reports and so on). [...]
[...] That is why we need to improve the way we serve these customers (proposing low prices as far as possible), while reducing costs through a selfservice strategy, such as an eStore (since sales representatives are relatively expensive and therefore decrease margins too). Let's analyse the profile of our customers as innovation adopters. A very few number of the rural segments consist of innovators that are aware of the benefits of using the eStore system. But the remaining part is deliberate or skeptical. [...]
[...] The only threat raised by this alternative may be the resistance of adoption by customers who have had a negative experience (or no experience at all) with eStore and rely on their sales representatives. Strategic alternative 2 second alternative targets the transactors and the progressives. The need to be addressed is a high quality and convenient self-service solution for the transactors while keeping sales representatives active for the progressives as well as transactors who feel reluctant to self-serve technology. We should work with a sub-contracted company specialised in e-business on a new conception of eStore, its implementation and its maintenance. [...]
[...] Thus, Shell Canada has to satisfy two different customer profiles with opposite needs: cost-savings and consulting services Internal Analysis Shell Canada Limited is the Canadian leader which manufactures, distributes and markets refined petroleum products. Our company is subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell and is owned by Shell Investments Limited by 78% and the last 22% is owned by public shareholders (Energy Business Review: Shell Canada). Our corporate goal is 'leadership in profitability and profitable growth, within the framework of sustainable development' (Shell Canada Ltd website: 'Sustainable Development Report 2003'). [...]
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