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Circuit City - Internet Business Strategy

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Circuit City - Internet Business Strategy

Introduction

In the fifty years since Circuit City opened its first store, the company has become one of the best-known sources of consumer electronics in the world. Today Circuit City boasts over 600 stores and more than 50,000 associates. The company consistently strives to offer low, competitive prices, high service standards, and a wide selection of products to meet consumer needs.

Circuit City has long prided itself on the outstanding shopping experience it offers to customers. In the 1990 ’s the company was early to see the value of the Internet for making that experience even better. However, they shunned the then-popular approach that many bricks-and-mortar retailers were adopting, where online channels were viewed as replacements for or alternatives to the traditional channel. Instead, Circuit City saw the Web as a way to complement its retail outlets and provide customers with more reasons to visit a store. To define, develop, and deploy its web strategy, Circuit City wanted a robust site that would replicate the customer experience in its Superstores while leveraging the advantages of 24-hour Internet access. Detailed product information, comparison capabilities, depth of selection, and immediate inventory information were critical features that the Circuit City web site required.

Key Business Issues

Circuit City has competition at local markets—traditional electronic retailers as well as Internet-only players, including catalogers and national distributors. To expand upon its national reputation as a leading high-service, low-price retailer, Circuit City wanted a site that would leverage its national store presence. To do this, the site needed to seamlessly integrate its retail shops with a powerful e-Superstore that could provide quality service online while providing advantages of “express pickup” from nearby stores. The web strategy would then be tightly interlinked and interdependent with Circuit City’s core retailing business, helping drive more revenue to local stores while maximizing the company’s national and international web presence.

Key Business Challenges:

•Use the Web as a means to improve overall company success

•Get into production quickly with novel approach to e-commerce

•Provide superior online experience for customers in every respect

Solution Snapshot

In January of 1999 Circuit City commenced development, using Sun Enterprise servers that had just become available from a subsidiary company. To reach the market as quickly as possible with its novel concept, Circuit City determined to base its Internet presence on prepackaged solutions that minimized development time. This led to the choice of BroadVision to provide e-commerce software.
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