Mission and Business Activities of Marathon Vitamin Shops.
Case Study: Marathon Vitamin Shops Consulting Opportunity
The case study provides us with an opportunity to analyze the importance of human computer interaction in the form the customers of Marathon Vitamin Shop using their website to purchase the products offered in the online store. For any business to present its services in the form of online stores, websites, web and mobile applications and other digital technologies, it is pertinent to understand the core idea behind human-computer interaction. Human-computer interaction explained by Kendal and Kendal (2014) as:
“The basis of human-computer interaction is provided by the knowledge of the interplay among the users, tasks task contexts, IT, and the environments in which the systems are used.”
In the following discussion I will review the mission and business activities of Marathon Vitamin Shop and provide and defend my recommendation regarding each option the analysts and clients have made.
Mashups using Google Maps
The system analysts point out that there are organizations that use online Maps engines like MapQuest on their websites to let their customers find them and visit them if required. This is a great idea in my opinion. I believe that this setup will provide Marathon Vitamin Shop to let their customers know that they actually exist physically as well and they are not some virtual shop. In my opinion, Google Maps has developed to be the best Map application that clients use when they are looking for an address. In fact Google Maps Mashup is a beast in the field of online geolocation (Miller, 2006). Marathon Vitamin Shop must setup the location of their stores on Google Maps API so that their clients can easily find their physical locations.
Chat rooms and message boards
I do agree to the suggestion by the analyst for chat rooms and message boards for the clients on the website. What I think would be an issue is the fact that the clients are not experts in the field of medical science and their discussions might lead to wrong conclusions. What I would suggest is to make some experts a part of the chat rooms or make them chat rooms moderators so that they can provide expert opinion and there is no abuse of the products provided by Marathon Vitamin Shop. There are different chat room application providers. Some of them are free who are categorized as open source while others charge their clients on one time or based on tiem periods.
Blogs, Search Engines
The use of Blogs and search engines have been identified in the case study by the analyst but what exactly it can be helpful in the case of Marathon Vitamin Shop is not clear. There are practical examples of different other organizations using blogs and search engines but not with much details.
I would strongly recommend the use of blog posts and search engines. What I would like to highlight is that blogs and search engines operate in different manners. Blogs are information portals that can be used by Marathon Vitamin Shop as part of their organization’s website. Blogs can consist of the information about different products, how to use these products and the research related to these products.
Search Engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo on the other hand are the places where the potential customers go to find relevant products with the help of different search keywords. Meaning bringing customers to the Marathon Shop’s website. The website has to be setup in accordance to the guidelines provide by different search engines so they can be properly indexed by the search engine bots and can come up in their search results. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques (Langville & Meyer, 2011) can be incorporated to make the content of the website well ranked on different search engines.
Medical information is of the utmost importance. As I have suggested earlier, medical information would be shared with the customers on the blogs that are the part of the Marathon Vitamin Shop website. There should be a proper customer support system who can provide help if a customer calls or contact via the contact form on the website. They should be given proper professional help so that they can use the products safely.
News feeds and financial markets information.
News Feed can be used from third party websites on a company’s website to provide information about the happenings related to the niche of that organization. There are different kind of news feeds that can be embedded in the Marathon Vitamin Shop’s website. Some of the news feed are related to medical information. In this case, news feed from Scince Daily (“Vitamin News — ScienceDaily,”) can prove to be very beneficial. Other feeds can also be incorporated according to different sections of the website and blog. Other websites can provide information regarding financial matters related to the medical industry. I would strongly recommend that the information related to the financial matters of the medical industry and the news feeds related to the industry should be used carefully as these mediums are also used by the competitors in the medical field to reach out to potential customers on similar websites. Marathon Vitamins Shop would never want to lose customers to their competitors by letting them advertise themselves Marathon’s website.