Ford's E-Commerce Strategy

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In early 1999, Ford announced an integrated e-commerce strategy, with the objective of creating an interface among customers, dealers, vendors and even competitors. The SWOT analysis was studied for the development the strategy, as well as the chances of success of such strategy. With Ford's desire to shift from ‘dealer-centric' selling to ‘consumer-centric' selling, we looked at the typical characteristics of online customers and how dealers could reinvent themselves to remain relevant in the changing automotive industry. The quest of Ford's goal to become the world's leading consumer company that provides automotive products and services has compelled Ford into integrated e-commerce strategy in connecting with
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Ford's current chairman and CEO, Bill Ford has a simple strategy, "Our vision for the future is simple: We want to build great products, a strong business, and a better world." Ford's vision is, "To become the world's leading consumer company for automotive products and services"

Chances of Success

However, there are many obstacles on Ford's path. To increase her success rate, Ford must shift from ‘dealer-centric' selling, where consumers choose from the limited selection on a dealer's lot to ‘consumer-centric' selling, where the buyer gets what he/she actually wants.

Cars are not like computers, which have just a few components and could be shipped by UPS in couple of days. Automobiles have thousands of parts produced by thousands of suppliers; hence the biggest challenge/success factor is to integrate all the individually wired entities in the value chain into a single, large network.

In addition, Ford needs to be constantly wary of stiff competitors like Nissan who claimed to be the first major automaker to introduce Web-enabled build-to-order (BTO) manufacturing and that its front-end configuration engine will provide the basis for a Dell-like custom manufacturing system which Ford is rather skeptical about.

The tussle with Franchise Laws, especially in US, is also a perpetual issue in which Ford has to content with and it will continue to be an obstacle for Ford's future.

WEB CUSTOMERS

Though there are
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