Introduction: Company Description
EKUEP is the largest online store in the Middle East that caters to the food industry. This company deals with supplying restaurant and kitchen equipment in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, and UAE. In 2017 and 2018, EKUEP won the Best E-commerce Website in the Middle East award in the Seamless Middle East Contest held annually, being the first business to win this award two consecutive times.
Products and Service
EKUEP supplies a range of products to its consumers, including cooking products such as commercial fryers, toasters, panini grills, waffle machines, crepe machines, commercial griddles, and ovens. It also provides delivery and storage products such as storage shelves, storage bins, delivery bags, carts, and storage cabinets. Food prep equipment such as dehydrators, blenders, mixers, food processing, and food packaging equipment are also available. Other products provided by EKUEP are refrigerators, freezers, ice makers, coffee makers, dishwashers, and stainless-steel appliances.
EKUEP provides quality products from top brands at favourable prices. Another desirable aspect of EKUEP is fast shipping; as soon as an order is placed, it is processed and delivered as quickly as possible. It also ensures the consumer is well informed by providing detailed videos and written guides on using the products it offers (Laudon & Traver, 2014). They are also always fully stocked, which provides their consumers with variety (Janakiraman et al., 2016). They have a return policy states that all items delivered can be returned within 14 days except disposables, chemicals, and consumable products.
Business Statement, Objective, and Vision
EKUEP business statement: We believe in creating a world where restaurants and cafes are flavorful, unique, memorable, and authentic. And we believe the most effective way to do that is by empowering business owners and entrepreneurs through the medium of Food Service to share this currency of love at scale honestly. We think this is where we can make the most meaningful impact as an organization and play our part in diversifying our beloved country’s economy.
EKUEP Business vision: providing high-quality commercial equipment for restaurants, cafes, bakeries, or any other food service venture that operates out of a food truck, a rented space, or a large custom kitchen.
EKUEP Business objective: We aim to be enablers for anyone and everyone, helping them succeed in their restaurants and cafe businesses without any bias.
Business Model and Business Revenue Model
A business model is a company’s plan on how it will operate efficiently, generate revenue, be financed, and the market it will provide its services to. A revenue model is the company’s plan to source and manage its revenue streams (Laudon & Traver, 2014). The EKUEP company has a distribution business model. It means that it gets its goods from various manufactures and brands and supplies them to the market. The business revenue model of EKUEP is online e-commerce sales transactions (Nosratabadi et al., 2019). In this model, the customer visits the business’s online site and places an order, after which the product is delivered to the users.
EKUEP has a large market for its goods as it supplies its products to several countries. Its target audience is majorly restaurant and cafe owners shopping for kitchen appliances. The general public forms a significant portion of its target audience as most homes need kitchen appliances regularly (Al-Ani, 2016). The online marketplace is characterized by numerous competing distributors such as EKUEP and Tavola and the consumers.
SWOT Business Analysis
The strengths of EKUEP include easy access to clients as it is an e-commerce business. EKUEP also has a broad market base which ensures high revenue streams. Another strength is the ease of marketing since it is an online business.
The niche of EKUEP is particular as it only sells kitchen appliances. Expensive shipment costs of heavy appliances are another weakness of the business. Customers may also be afraid to make credit card payments online because of fears of fraud.
The online market is constantly growing; hence, EKUEP is getting more potential clients. Another growth opportunity is in the fact that EKUEP can decide to broaden its niche. They can also improve their advertising strategies to attract more customers.
EKUEP faces a lot of competition from other e-commerce businesses in the food industry. There are also data concerns as data is stored online, and hence might be breached. Fraudsters are also constantly coming up with new techniques to exploit online businesses.
E-commerce Presence Map
EKUEP has an online website where its products are purchased. The website is responsive on both mobile phones and laptops. It also has a shopping app on which items are bought. EKUEP has an official email and phone number displayed on all its other social sites, such as the website and the app.
The EKUEP website has a search bar to grant users quick access to the specific product they want to purchase. The digital catalogue shows the goods in text and image graphics (Laudon & Traver, 2014). EKUEP also has the objective of making placing orders easy for the user. The checkout and place order buttons are available for this. There is also a contact us button that enables the user to contact the company.
The products on the website are grouped into various categories such as cooking, coffee, ice beverage, refrigeration, food prep, ovens, and dishwashing, which enable the user to access the products they are searching for quickly. Categories such as bestsellers, new arrivals, best brands, top deals, and recommended deals are also available to guide users in their shopping experience. The best deals feature enables the user to access products that have the highest discounts or lower pricing. The best seller’s category allows the users to access the currently purchased products most, whereas the new arrivals category alerts the user of new arrivals in the market.
The website also has a help center and a phone support button, which enable the user to access help in case of any difficulties using the website. The about us page on the website provides the user with information about the company, such as its services. It also has a sign in button that enables the user to create an account on the website.
The website has a search bar; the user types the item they are searching for and clicks the search icon. The page loads and shows the various items available with that description and their prices. The user then clicks on an item at a time, and the product description is displayed stating the features of the product. If the customer decides to purchase the item, he clicks on the add to cart button. The user can then continue shopping and adding other items to their cart in the same procedure.
After they are finished shopping, they click on the checkout button, after which a list of the products they have selected, and their accumulated price is displayed. They click on the Next button, and they then sign into their EKUEP accounts or create a new account. Suppose they do not have an account yet. The clients then enter their contact information and select a delivery option. They enter their delivery address and click Next. The next step is to choose a payment method and tap Next. On the next page, the user clicks the Place your Order button, after which they proceed to make payments.
Ease of use
The EKUEP website is relatively easy to use. There are several icons and buttons to guide the user. The products also have clear pictures that enable the user to get an accurate idea of their product.
The features of the website are generally simple and easy to understand. The page is neat, organized, and well-spaced.
The website has shortcomings in terms of product reviews as most products have few or no reviews. The website needs to find strategies to improve this as most clients need review to decide whether the product is worth the amount they are paying.
Mobile Responsiveness and Quick Load Time
The website is efficient on both mobile phones and laptops. The site also loads in less than 3 seconds; hence the users can easily access it.
There is a phone support button that the users can click on to communicate with the company. The website also has a help centre button that the user can click on to get help in case of difficulties.
Ease of purchase
The steps of placing an order and checking out on the website are simple, with clear guidelines. The user can easily add numerous items to the cart and proceed to checkout.
Social sharing buttons are not easily visible on this site. The company might be missing out on some returns as this is an effective method of advertising.
The site does not give room for scammers; hence making purchases on the website is safe. The payment options are secure; therefore, the customer is not likely to lose their money on the website.
The improvements that can be made include creating easily visible social sharing buttons and encouraging consumers to give more product reviews.
- IT help desk software: This software keeps a record of all the interactions with the clients to solve any issues raised and make improvements based on customer suggestions.
- Live chat software: This is a software tool that enables customers immediate access to user support. It enables the user to get assistance when they encounter any difficulties in using the website.
- Google Analytics: This software tool tracks website traffic to help understand client behavior on the site. It enables the identification of the products that are most searched for by the customers.
- Referral’s marketing software: This software promotes word of mouth advertisement of the website. When customers shop through referral codes, they receive a bonus.
However, EKUEP can improve their Live chat software to encourage more customer interactions by making communication between the business and the customers easier.
Payment and Security
The most common payment method on the website is credit card visa and Master Card. The user may also make payments using Mada Card, a new payment method of the Saudi Payment Network (SPAN). Bank wire transfers are another viable payment method provided by the website, though only used in SAR 2000 and above payments (Laudon & Traver, 2014). Another convenient method is payment on delivery, in which the client makes payment when the products are delivered to them.
EKUEP uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) software to secure information during transmission. SSL encrypts client input hence preventing any security breaches. In addition to this, only the last four digits of the customer’s credit card number are revealed when confirming orders. It also uses Payfort Technologies, which is a payment gateway based in the United Arab Emirates. Payfort ensures secure transactions can be done across networks.
Information entered on the EKUEP website by clients is received by the company and used to improve the customer shopping experience. The data is also used to respond to client requests and customize their shopping needs. The company ensures privacy by not sharing customer information with others and storing the data securely.
Marketing and Advertising Strategies
EKUEP has marketing and advertising strategies that ensure the public has information about the business. Ads on social sites such as YouTube are the company’s major advertising strategies (Laudon & Traver, 2014). EKUEP also uses Email marketing to provide information such as new products and top deals to customers. EKUEP also uses influencers to reach a specific target audience.
EKUEP has several competitors both locally and globally, one of which is the Tavola shop. Tavola specializes in the provision of kitchen appliances in the Middle East. It provides a range of products such as cookware, kitchen tools, tableware, bakeware, and cake decoration accessories. They offer quality appliances at reasonable prices to their consumers and ensure prompt purchases (Avcı & Yıldız, 2021). Tavola shop also provides special offers and promotions to its customers periodically.
TavolaShop has a return policy that states that items purchased may be returned within 30 days, provided the packaging is still intact. The customer is given a refund, or the product is replaced. The 30 days period provides the customer with enough time to return the item (Laudon & Traver, 2014). In this way, the Tavolas hop is more user-friendly than EKUEP, which only gives 14 days for returning faulty items. The Tavola website is relatively easy to use as the items are well categorized. The graphics are simple to understand, and hence it is very user-friendly. The product pictures are of high quality, and the item description is detailed. However, the About US page is not well detailed as it contains minimal information. Generally, the EKUEP website is more user-friendly than the Tavola shop website.
In conclusion, EKUEP is thriving on its ventures, and other e-commerce businesses can learn from the store. Its business model is comprehensive and competitive in the e-commerce business models era. Despite the impressive design and functionality of the platform, there is still room for improvement. The business needs to diversify its marketing campaigns to drive more traffic on the website and, in turn, increase sales. There is also a need for the company to use graphics such as three-dimensional views of products to improve customer experience. Furthermore, there is also a need to encourage customers to leave product ratings and reviews. These features ensure that the online shop operates efficiently in the industry and can compete with other players.
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Avcı, İ., & Yıldız, S. (2021). A Research on hedonic and utilitarian consumption behavior of young consumers on big discount days. In Handbook of research on applied AI for international business and marketing applications (pp. 559-579). IGI Global.
Janakiraman, N., Syrdal, H. A., & Freling, R. (2016). The effect of return policy leniency on consumer purchase and return decisions: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Retailing, 92(2), 226-235. Web.
Laudon, K. C., & Traver, C. G. (2014). E-commerce: Business, technology, society. Pearson.
Nosratabadi, S., Mosavi, A., Shamshirband, S., Kazimieras Zavadskas, E., Rakotonirainy, A., & Chau, K. W. (2019). Sustainable business models: A review. Sustainability, 11(6), 1663. Web.