e-commerce technology is moving faster than implementation time, with companies holding off their e-commerce rollouts to make sure their solution is the most up to date in the marketplace.
The uncertainty of the GST's impact on the market is also a driving factor, according to Maxim Bolkovsky, marketing manager of distributor BCN Technology.
BCN has held off the launch of its Web site for channel partners until October to add new features to the portal and gauge market reaction to the GST.
"After investigations, we have decided to reschedule the launch so we can add new functionality that will make the site a whole lot better," Bolkovsky said. "With the GST introduction, we also want to see what is happening in the market before we jump in headfirst."The site, which will allow internal and external ordering via an open database over the Internet, will be implemented internally over the next two months, and the company hopes to officially launch the portal in October.
"At the moment we are working on personalisation. The software will allow us to suggest products and services to our partners based on their customer profile," Bolkovsky said. "This will be a CRM solution that will redevelop the way we do business. It won't change the way we do business - just move it onto the next level."While the distributor hopes the site will help the company double its business over the next 12 months, the need for ongoing support within the channel will remain paramount.
"Many company's have e-commerce sites, but they are essentially only information sites; they are not dynamic, knowledge-based sites. Customers can look at a site that sells memory and motherboards for example, but how will they know which memory component works with which motherboards?"To widen the Web site's appeal, BCN also offers a call centre-like telephone support system.
"We haven't forgotten the ability to be able to pick up the phone and get top support is equally as important. Rather than cut staff, we are increasing our accounting, business development and sales management staff to compensate for the implementation, because we feel it will increase our business. It is part of the reason we started this."While Bolkovsky owned the cost of further development would cost more and was "a lot of work", he said providing a state-of-the-art solution would ultimately give the company a more competitive advantage in the marketplace.
"We see it as an investment in our own company, because it is a solution that allows our partners to do more business, and when they do more business, so do we.
"If we implement this solution as it stands, it will be good, but it will not be cutting edge. We want to bring it onto the market at the right time."