The purpose of this paper was to present a business plan for launching Hijabexperts.com. The company will be based in Dubai in the UAE. It will specialize in sourcing and selling high-quality hijabs through its website. Hijabexperts.com has chosen to serve the UAE market because of its large size. As an online apparel retailer, the company will acquire information technology (IT) and information systems (IS) to serve its customers. IT and IS will support decision-making processes by providing relevant and accurate information. They will also facilitate effective financial management and access to market intelligence.
Businesses in the UAE are increasingly going global to increase their revenue, market share, and net income. Online distribution has become an important strategy for serving customers in both local and foreign markets at a low cost (Kazmi 45). It involves selling products through the internet using platforms such as sales websites. In this paper, a business plan for launching a new online apparel retail company will be provided. The first part of the plan will describe the business. The second part will discuss the role of IT and IS in the business.
The Purpose of the Business
Hijabexperts.com is a new entrant in the UAE Muslim fashion industry. The company will be based in Dubai. It will operate as an online apparel retailer. The purpose of Hijabexperts.com is to source and distribute high quality conservative Muslim women clothes and accessories. Currently, Muslim women in the UAE are facing challenges when shopping for conservative clothes because most supermarkets focus on selling western apparel (Choi 1-10).
Specialty boutiques that sell Muslim clothes mainly operate as physical stores, which make comparison of items in terms of quality, design, and price difficult. Hijabexperts.com will address these challenges by allowing Muslim women to access a large number of conservative clothing through the internet. The vision of the company is to be the preferred apparel brand among Muslim women in the UAE, GCC, and North Africa. Its mission is to improve the lifestyle of Muslim women by making dressing for various occasions as easy and trendy as possible.
Hijabexperts.com will specialize in selling Muslim women clothes. Hijab will be the company’s main product. Other products that will be sold to increase revenue include abaya, jilbabs, and khimars. The company will collaborate with local and international Muslim fashion designers to deliver the best hijab designs in the market. The product will be differentiated based on quality to ensure rapid market penetration. Hijaexperts.com will provide both standard and customized hijabs to satisfy diverse tastes and preferences (Kazmi 72). Customers will participate in design and production processes by selecting their preferred colors, decoration, and fabric. Hijabexpterts.com will ensure that all its products conform to the values of Muslim women and the culture of the UAE to attract and retain customers.
The company will target Middle-income Muslim women in the UAE. It will also serve customers in the GCC, Turkey, and North Africa. It will target teenagers, young adults, and middle-aged women who make nearly 70% of the total female population in the country. This market consists of women who are interested in halal fashion (Reuters 5-250). This means that they are looking for clothes that allow them to integrate their culture and religion in modern fashion. The customers are interested in hijabs that conceal the contours of their bodies while allowing them to remain attractive and trendy. The market is attractive because the high-income levels of the target customers will ensure high sales. Moreover, customers are not sensitive to prices. This will allow the company to charge premium prices to recoup the high cost of sourcing and distributing high-quality hijabs.
The Muslim fashion industry in the UAE is worth approximately USD 4.8 billion (Reuters 5-250). The industry enjoyed double-digit growth in the last four years. Sales increased from USD 4.17 billion in 2011 to USD 4.9 billion in 2015. The industry’s revenue is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 8% in the next three years. The increase will be supported by strong economic growth in the UAE. The companies that are already in the market include international retailers such as Carrefour and hundreds of specialty retailers. Moreover, a few online retailers, such as Aliexpress.com and Modanisa.com, have joined the market.
IT/ IS Contributions
The IT/ IS Role in Decision Making
IT and IS will support decision-making processes in the company in the following ways. First, IT will enable the company to store and retrieve the information that is needed to make decisions (Marthandan and Tang 37-55). Hijabexperts.com will have both computer-based and cloud-based databases to store the large volume of structured and unstructured data that it will generate on a daily basis. Efficient access to high-quality data will enable the managers of the company to make informed management decisions.
Second, it will facilitate the analysis of data to provide insights that will improve the quality of management decisions (Runkler 42). The company will use a web-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to analyze data. The software will analyze data concerning various functions, such as supply chain management. It will also generate concise reports that will enable managers to make timely decisions.
Third, IT and IS will allow managers to conduct scenario analyses in order to make appropriate decisions concerning future operations. The company’s ERP will have in-built analytics tools that will simulate the effects of changes in variables such as sales, taxation, and inflation on profitability. As a result, managers will be able to make appropriate decisions concerning the best strategy to pursue to avoid failure.
The IT/ IS Role in Marketing
IT and IS will play a vital role in marketing. To begin with, IS will facilitate access to market intelligence (Marz and Warren 1-12). The company will acquire a big data analytics system that will consist of advanced hardware and software. The system will collect and analyze data from internal and external sources such as social media. The analysis will provide information concerning market needs and the level of competition. This will facilitate the adoption of the right product, price, place, and promotional strategies.
The company’s IS will also allow managers to use personalized messages in adverts. Hijabexperts.com will have a mobile phone application that will use transaction data to send marketing messages to customers’ smartphones. The company is likely to turn potential customers into actual customers by using relevant and personalized adverts.
IT and IS will also be used to enhance the shopping experience to ensure customer loyalty (Ranchord and Marandi 69). The sales website will have intelligent algorithms that use historical shopping data to make real-time product recommendations to customers. The algorithms will also allow customers to compare prices and view related products.
IT and IS will support business processes in the following ways. First, they will facilitate product distribution. The sales website will be linked to inventory and financial management systems to allow customers to select and pay for the right product. Customers will be allowed to view all products and make an online payment using credit cards and third-party payment solutions such as Paypal.
Second, it will support supply chain management. Hijabexperts.com will work with several suppliers and shipping companies to deliver products to customers. In this respect, the company will use a web-based supply chain management (SCM) system to perform activities such as inventory management, order processing, and bill payment. The resulting improvement inefficiency in terms of cost and time will improve profitability (Runkler 23).
Finally, IT and IS will support financial and customer relationship management (CRM). Financial management will be done using applications that will automatically perform various accounting activities. The company will use its website to provide CRM services, such as answering inquiries to improve customer responsiveness.
Hijabexperts.com intends to serve the Muslim women fashion market in the UAE. The market is suitable because of its large size. The company will focus on selling high-quality hijabs through its website. In this respect, Hijabexperts.com will invest in effective IT and IS to serve its customers. The main role of IS in management will be to support decision-making processes by providing accurate information. IT and IS will also be used to access market intelligence to improve the competitiveness of the company.
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