In this paper, the focus will be on two technology-based companies. With this, special emphasis will be given to the analysis of computer-making companies Dell and Apple. In most cases, the industry is involved in the production of gadgets such as phones and computers among other electronic gadgets. Rapid changes have been occurring in the industry over the last few years with technology and internet taking over the way business operates. As one of the technologies supporting industry, the computer making companies have been forced to adopt the internet in their daily business operations. With elements such as e-business operating within technological timeline is a survival mechanism in the business. Any company that fails in utilizing this aspect in the market end up suffering as customers are more dependent on technology and the internet as compared to 10 years ago.
Apple computers Inc. was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. In the beginning, the idea the two had was developing simple computers. The initial idea was to make the small computers as the ones in operation at the time were too big. Steve job observed that computers were too big and that they would not be used at home or in offices with flexibility. With this, the two founders wanted a computer that was user-friendly. Apple Inc. started as a garage where Job and Steve started building Apple I which was sold without a monitor, keyboard or casing which were later introduced in 1977 (Kaur, 2016). It was in 1977 that Apple II was introduced with the first ever color graphics. In 1983, Wozniak left Apple, and Steve job continued with his work to build the world biggest company in the computing industry.
Dell Company, on the other hand, was founded by Michael Dell in 1984 at the age of 19 years. At the time of the start, he had only $1,000 but had a vision of changing the computer making industry. By 1988, Dell has raised over $30 million and had increased its market capitalization to over $ 85 million (Miller, 2013). It is also the same year that Dell went public. In 2013. Dell and a private equity firm by the name Lake Partners bought the company from the public with the aim of accelerating the company’s development strategy.
E-Business Strategies Comparison between Apple Inc. And Dell
Social Media Marketing Strategy
When it comes to the online marketing strategy, Dell understands that the population is shifting from the traditional method where they were relying on mass media to the online business platforms. With this in mind, Dell online strategy starts through Facebook. Dell has created a Facebook account which is guided by the need to recognize the customer personality in what they offer. At Facebook Dell operate with only one rule which is becoming a fan (Tuten, & Solomon, 2014). With this, Dell post all its gadgets and the items that it offers in the market to give customers what is in the store. The customers can then order their choice through Facebook. Dell also has a twitter account which is based on the Dell deals concept. These are the deals which the company is offering to the customers at the time. Thirdly we have the online video strategy for Dell computers. In this case, Dell has made sure that it has created a video which shows what the company offers in the market (Kaur, 2016). These are the main areas where Dell have used in developing its online marketing strategy.
While Dell is trying to use the online strategy for its development one of the main weakness that can be seen is that the company is not using its website as part of the strategy. Second, the company needs to be proactive in making quick feedback to the customers who use the sites in making their orders (Armstrong et al. 2015). The feedback time is an issue which needs to be solved.
Apple Inc. has been on the front line in using the online marketing to move away from the competitors and earn the perfect market share in computer and smartphone market. One of the mechanism has been using the social media extensively in their marketing. Apple has an account on every known social media site. It has an account on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram among others (Ashley, & Tuten, 2015). In this sites, Apple post pictures of the products and customers can even request them or place orders through these sites. Second Apple has turned these sites to be promotional sites. It is not the norm to enter any of the sites and lack a promotion gadget which is offered by the company through the site. The model of replying to their customers through the site is next to none (Miller, 2013). The social media accounts of the company are very responsive.
Apple has also realized that its website can be an online platform which can be used in the process of marketing. By simply entering the website one can order a computer or a smartphone by placing an order through the site (Chaffey, 2016). In this case, it is to make sure that the company is capturing the customers. Apple has made sure that it is making what the customers want in the market. The company also explains the price of their products through the site (Stelzner, 2015). Being vibrant and proactive through the site has set Apple apart from other companies in the technology industry.
Online Marketing Strategies
When it comes to the online marketing strategies, Apple Inc. has made sure that it set itself aprt from the rest of the companies in the technology industry. One of the strategies is content marketing. Unlike others companies in the industry, Apple has realized that it just need to market what it offers in the market and not stories (Bosomworth, 2015). Looking at any of the online ads which apple makes it is based on the need to tell the customers that they need what they need to purchase. The company has made sure that the information is direct to the point. Second is the company using the search engine optimization (SEO). The SEO has made Apple online site to be more visible on any search engine. With this, the company is creating more traffic in the online platform as compared to Dell and other technology-based companies (Baker, 2014). It offers the company an extra investment choice which cannot be seen in the market. The third strategy that Apple uses is the conversion optimization. The idea is to get more people to visit the company site. With this, it is expected that the company will get value from every visitor by maximizing the conversion rate of the company.
Dell uses a very different approach to the process. One of the strategies that the company uses is the email marketing. The fact is that it has high potential when it comes to the ROI (Hu, 2015). The company has made sure that it sends its customers continuous emails when new product or gadgets are produced. The second method that is used by Dell is the native Advertising. In this case, the company has patterned with other companies such as YouTube to be offered a marketing opportunity (Kingsnorth, 2016). The idea is to make sure that the customers will be aware that they are a company by the name Dell making computers. The last strategy that Dell uses is the digital PR (Gummesson et al. 2014). In this case the company emphasis on getting new customers, through a public relation campaign which is developed through an online platform. The digital PR is in the form of video and instant text messages which are sent to customers. These have been the strategies which Dell uses in the market to get customers.
Some of the weakness that can be noted in the case of Apple, the company is slowing down in the online marketing strategy as it perceives victory in the market. The only thing they are forgetting is that Samsung Company is in the market too and will take any step to conquering the market at the end by attracting more customers. On Dell’s part, it will need to use an element such as the SEO to optimize its operations. Otherwise, still a lot is desired as the current online marketing strategies which it is employing are not reaching the expectations as required. These are the key challenges which are facing the two companies.
When looking at the business model of Apple Inc., it can be divided it into two ways that are the pre-1996 era and the post-1996 era. Before 1966, the company base was producing innovative products such as the Newton. In post-1996, the company changed to the production of the personal computing devices. With this, Apple has operated under two model that is the traditional retail and manufacturer direct digital models (Boone, & Kurtz, 2013). In this model, it was divided into the computing hardware and software. In the traditional model, Apple used the bricks and mortar retail stores. Post-1996 era the company introduced the mobile devices and begun the digital business model. In the new model, Apple uses razors and blade model (Camarinha-Matos et al. 2015). After the company introduced the new model, it started offering its products through the online market. The company adopted a situation where customers can purchase its products through the online platform (Lazonick et al. 2013). It is expected that the company will adopt a canvas model. Although apple business model has worked for the company tremendously is not in the position settling with the current success. The company will continue to change it, model, as changes continue to happen in the industry.
Dell’s model is very peculiar as it is guided by the build to order production. The model is based on the central of delivery, sales, and production. The company also uses the just in time production method which is adopted by many modern companies. The two models help Dell in the process of mechanizing the new technologies as the customer see an inclination change in the market (Bergvall-Kåreborn, & Howcroft, 2013). It is one of the models which the company uses to makes sure that it keeps the market expectation as required at the end. In the model, the company makes sure that it cannot purchase any production component until the customer has paid for the product he or she requires at the end.
Dell’s model is developed such that it allows the customers when they place an order through the online platform they are supported by software which configures the management to choose the hard and software which is required (Habibi et al. 2015). The company has a vendor operator who makes sure that orders which are received are processed as required. The model is developed such that the company has reduced any level of uncertainties or risk which might be at the end.
One of the weakness that can be noted in Dell’s model is asking customers to pay for the products before they can receive their product (Abraham, 2013). The move creates a complication and conflict with the customers. One of the major strength that Dell has is using the just in time production techniques in its operations. It reduces chances of wastage among the resources (Weill, & Woerner, 2013). Apple, on the other hand, will require thinking about it production cycle. As it currently stands, Apple Inc. is suffering because of an element such as cost. Apple has to look at this in the future to regulate the cost.
As outlined above, there are various strategies the two companies are employing hence being successful. However there are those that are yet to be applied and must be applied if the companies want to compete effectively in the ever growing and competing market. With online marketing, there is the loss of the human touch unlike in the traditional marketing. However that does not mean the customers have changed. They are the still the ones just that the platforms have changed. Apple and Dell should be keen when dealing with the clients and addressing their needs. They should not be concerned with making the customers pay for what they offer as compared to being interested in the products. Apple has taken the strategy of ensuring they make known all their products by the clients. They are not telling the customer and the followers to buy the products directly but they are giving them reasons to do so. Online marketing should therefore be used as a platform to create a better rapport between the business and the clients.
The following are some of the recommendation that both Dell and Apple might use in their business to enhance their e-business strategy that they are currently using. Some of the recommendation can be followed in between the two companies. If one company utilizes the other company system in a better version, then the probability of that company succeeding the e-business will be much higher as compared to the other.
The first recommendation on the part of Apple Inc. is that the company has to be practical in the use of social media and online marketing platforms. The fact that Apple seems to have realized that it is controlling the social media and online marketing platform, with this it has relaxed in the process of marketing through the sites. Apple Inc. must realize that another company such as Samsung which is its greatest competitor is observing at the far end (Afuah, 2014). With this in mind, if Apple makes any mistake on its social media and online marketing platforms then Samsung is ready to grab the chance and continue to dominate the smartphone and the computer market. Every time Samsung is observing and this should be a wakeup call to Apple to make amends where necessary. The current system has started to relax after Steve job left the company.
Second Apple Inc. must be in a position to copy something from Dell’s business model. The model is straightforward but also the most profitable model. Dell’s business is centered on just in time production which is based on a digital platform. With this, it means that Apple should also start producing it computers when customers have placed their orders (Kaur, & Pathak, 2015). The fact is that the move will be cutting the inventory cost in the process. The saved cost can be used to make the online business model better at the end. Cutting the cost will be essential in the process of developing the e -model which the company is working with. Another element that Apple Inc. need to take from Dell is using the online platform to research what customers expect (Afuah, 2014). Dell has succeeded by using the online vendor and configuration to change its products concerning the customer’s needs. If Apple Inc. can realize the secret, then it would be a great effort for the company to move in the right direction at the end.
In the case of Dell, the following are some of the mechanism it can use to make its e-business strategy better. One will be using the website as the perfect marketing platform. Dell does not use its website for the marketing (Tiago et al. 2015). The company needs to change its operation in the social media still. In the current system, there is changed needed when it comes to online marketing. Facebook and other websites should be used for marketing, promotion and also the sealing platform (West et al. 2015). With this, Dell needs to look at the online marketing department to understand what is wrong with the company.
Lastly, Dell needs to invest in the SEO which will enable the company to create regular traffic on their site which can be used to attract customers and clients to the business. Another consideration for the company is working together will other companies such as YouTube and other websites to allow Dell use their site as the official marketing site (Samimi, 2016). One thing that should come to mind is that Dell should look at the companies with a high number of the client before forming online partnerships with the said companies. If this is made at the end, then Dell will enjoy massive success using the e-business strategy in the modern market.
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